3 Pathways to Purposeful Meditation
3 Pathways to Purposeful Meditation
American culture is starting to recognize the benefits of mindful meditation, spiritual enrichment and intentionalizing one’s thoughts and actions. But finding the time and patience to find that stillness has become increasingly difficult in our rapid paced, hyper connected world. Thankfully now our culture seems to be growing more receptive to these methods for becoming happier and healthier.
A lot of folks say they’d like to meditate but never have the time to do so — even though they find themselves endlessly scrolling or taking 30 minutes to find a Netflix show. But everyone can find time — you can fit it in for a few minutes during your commute, after a shower, first thing when you wake up or as soon as you get home from work.
But how do you make the most of your meditative sesh? Similar to the many forms of yoga I’ve formulated a simplified structure for practicing mediation. Too often people (myself included) get easily agitated when trying to meditate because they have trouble silencing their thoughts. But as the saying goes the only bad meditative session is the one you don’t do. So to push through frustration I’ve found 3 ways to aim for purposeful meditation.
The important point to meditation is having intention. Leading your meditation towards an intrinsic, fulfilling purpose that allows you to strive towards achieving either rest, contentment or inspiration. I used to become agitated by not being unable to completely clear my head. But the more I’ve practiced and read about mediation the more I’ve come to recognize how to breakdown meditation into 3 forms. Distilling the practice into 3 forms or pathways to purposeful meditation one can “enter” into.
Clearing or quieting the mind is often thought of as the most conventional form of meditation. This path teaches you to vacate your mind of all thought. Focusing only on breathing the meditators purpose is to subdue thought, emotion, and external stimuli to sink into a quiet state that allows the mind to be still in order to rest and recalibrate.
Clearing is done with intention, avoiding thoughts that disrupt the tranquility of an absent mental state. By clearing mental activity and drawing energy inward the mind becomes centered and freed from burdensome deviations. Clearing shields the mind from stimulation and allows it to reset.
When first entering a clear state from an active mindset you should focus only on your breath with an 8 second inhale, 8 second hold, and 8 second exhale (time duration based on personal comfort). To silence my scrambled thoughts I concentrate on my breathing while imagining my thoughts, emotions and outward connections slowly melt away with each exhale. Lowering myself deeper into a calming mode and wiping my mental slate.
Allowing yourself to be free, and becoming grounded only in physical energy can then enable you to rise upwards towards the next pathway — acknowledgment and observation in the state of presencing. In the next pathway your centered stillness allows your natural emotions and spiritual intentions to organically arise.
This might be the most important method because it’s purpose is to enhance self-awareness. Presencing is a lesser known purpose of meditation that isn’t strictly clearing away thought — but instead intentionally acknowledging and identifying the thoughts and emotions that exist. Presencing is when one releases the restraint of clearing and allows thoughts and feelings to bubble to the surface. Rather than continuing to try and eliminate thoughts, instead recognize and identify the feelings that are there. Once acknowledged you can pursue them by fleshing out those thoughts and feelings, deeply observing them as if from an outside perspective.
Next contemplating why those thoughts and emotions are present in your consciousness. I believe presencing is one of the most effective forms of meditation because it allows the individual to become more self-aware by observing their thoughts and considering why they’re experiencing them.
Thinking about what your feelings could mean and how those thoughts and emotions can be translated into intentional energy and manifested into your actions in everyday life. In this path you’re reflective about your present thoughts, emotions and state of being. Not anxious about what you’re thinking or experiencing but content with observing your being as you are.
Eventually motioning towards recognition of where you are currently, where you’d like to go and how to concentrate those desires into intentional energy and action. Finding the origin of those thoughts and distilling them into meaning. Moving then to the next pathway of contemplating how that meaning can be converted into intention, planting that purpose into the core of your consciousness.
“Your intention is for the future, but your attention is in the present. As long as your attention is focused in the present, then your intent for the future will manifest; our intentions create reflections in the outside world. “ — Deepak Chopra
Visioning is when you allow your subtle intentions to manifest themselves in your imagination. Exploring your own thoughts, emotions, ideas and memories and aligning them in a manner that brightens connections that help to form your true being and acknowledge the purposeful life pursuits that you wish to pursue.
In this state one doesn’t need to necessarily organize or list your ambitions, but just grasp the state of being and scenario in life that you strive for in order to feel content, fulfilled and inspired by who you are. Picture who you would like to be, what you would do, how you would act and then what you would need to do to get there. Hold those intentions and focus on the emotional conditions in that state and the physical actions that build the steps towards that vision of mental, physical and metaphysical excellence.
Once you’ve established a vision of your spiritual aspirations, let them go. Like seeds you should not retain your intentions in a position where there is obsessive oversight. Instead harness your intentions in acknowledgement and then release them into your subconscious underlying behaviours. Without pressure to perform or anxiousness about straying from a perceived path, just identifying and concentrating on those intentions will allow them to be subconsciously channeled through your actions. Instead of holding them as a high bar to reach, let them be known but also allowed to flow freely without forced adherence.
Envision yourself in that desired state of being. What you’d like to experience, who you’d like to be and hone that aspired state of fulfillment. Allow yourself to feel empowered by what motivates you. Excite yourself with your personal passions and trasnfer that inspiration into intentional action. Enlivening yourself with joy for pursuing purposeful actions that are unique to your being.
Although there are no rules and you can jump into any pathway, I’ve found the best way to enter into each is by progressing from one up into the next. Clearing → to Presencing → to Visioning. Happy Meditation!
Here’s an excellent quote from the spiritual guru Deepak Chopra. Lets get deep with Deepak…
“Everyone has a purpose in life, a unique gift or special talent to give to others. When we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. Your unique destiny, your place in the cosmic plan, is known as dharma. Dharma implies more than seeking work that you love. Dharma is a shift in consciousness that begins by aligning yourself with your highest vision and then becoming the manifestation of that vision.” — Deepak Chopra