In his book, Sharma mentions three types of meditation practices that should be done daily: concentration, creative visualisation and silence (different to what he called them, but that is what they basically boil down to). I am breaking somewhat from Sharma and reverting back to my previous 25 to 30 years of spiritual practice. Maybe you will find these meditations work for you also.
Some years ago I met Jacobus Swart who became a very good friend and mentor to me. He taught me Practical Kabbalah and I found it to be invaluable. The very first meditation he ever taught me was Mother Breath and it has stayed with me.
In Kabbalistic practice there are three elements being Air, Water and Fire relating to the Hebrew letters Aleph, Mem and Shin. In Mother Breath you pull Avir (Universal Energy that is unformed) into the body and then spread it throughout the body using those three letters and elements.
Sit in a chair with hands on thighs and imagine you are in a large body of water. Now breathing in through your mouth create an AHHHH sound (Air) and pull the water up through your anus into your body. On the out breath you are going to make the sound MMMM (Water which is on the left side of the brain) followed by SHHHHH (Fire which is on the right side of the brain) as the water spreads through your body and fills it.
Here we have the three letters, AH being Aleph, MM being Mem and SH being Shin. Another way to look at it is that you’re pulling Air into your body, and then spreading Water through the left side of the body (or brain) and Fire through the right.
I always found my body of water was rather dull and dark (it tends to be night time) so I altered the visualisation slightly and made the water gold. As I breath in the gold forms a column up the middle of my body to the top of my head. On the out breath the gold spills over to the left side of my body on the MM breath and to the right side on the SH breath.
Avir and Ruchaniyut
In Kabbalah we have two types of Universal Energy. Well, they are both the same but Avir is unformed (outside the body) and Ruchaniyut which is formed (inside the body). If we look at something like the Germanic Traditions, specifically Anglo Saxon with the concept of Wyrd, the same applies except that in a general sense Wyrd is both unformed and formed.
When we do the Mother Breath we pull Avir into the body and then as it spreads through the body it becomes Ruchaniyut.
And then there was silence
Currently my whole mediation takes 15 minutes, of which 5 minutes is dedicated to Mother Breath and the remaining 10 minutes to a simple meditation.
Still in your seating position on a chair (no complicated leg crossing or uncomfortable positions), breath in through the mouth and pull a line or column of energy from the heavens. This can be from anywhere above you. In essence you have pulled energy from below, now you will pull energy from above, the Yin and Yang energy of Taoist practice.
That column of energy stops in the centre of the chest, the heart chakra and starts to form a ball of golden light (I stick with the golden light, it actually ties in with a lot of other meditations I used to do, including….wait for it…..Satanic meditations. If you gasped in horror then you really need to do some proper research, or just ask me). On the out breath close the mouth and breath out through the nose. As you breath out the ball of golden light expands throughout your body and beyond to form a bubble around your body.
It’s that simple.
Pausing to not breath
If you are familiar with meditation practice, especially breathing techniques, then you would have probably come across ratio breathing or something similar. This is simply the act of breathing in for a particular number, holding for a count, breath out for a count, and hold for a count, and then repeat. The ratio may be 4:4:4:4 or 16:8:16:8 for instance.
Although a good practice and one you might want to look into at a later stage (remember we are trying to do habit forming at the moment), it’s not necessary. However, something I was taught just makes so much sense. Don’t hold your breath, just pause.
So when you breath in, pause for a brief moment before breathing out, and after you breath out, pause again. It is however the pause after the out breath which gets interesting. Pause for as long as you feel comfortable and before you find yourself needing to take a breath in again. What you will find is that the pauses tend to get longer. By the end of your 15 minute meditation you could be taking only 2 breaths a minute (which is what I tend to do).
There is one thing that needs to be mentioned and this actually has no “title” to it, so we just called it Tranquillity. You may find that you get into such a deep state of relaxation and meditation, even an altered state if you like, that after an out breath you just stop breathing. I don’t think anyone can explain this but it is not harmful. It happened to me once, I don’t really know how long it was but it wasn’t your normal thing. After some time I realised I had stopped breathing and started to panic, but just before that I was in such a state of tranquillity it was incredible. Anyway as I came to the realisation and the panic hit, I took in a quick huge breath and that was the end of it. If this does happen to you, you will probably panic, but try not to, it’s perfectly ok.