• There are many ways to meditate that correspond to many different schools of thought. Thirty-Five minutes to an hour seems rather long and would be a timespan to be used by experienced meditators. If you are a beginner, you should probably stick to more modest goals, such as five or 10 minutes.
    In Zen meditation , where you would concentrate on one’s breathing. This is used to gain awareness of one’s body and to help keep the mind from distractions. Breathing should be slow, but not uncomfortably slow; if you feel you are lacking oxygen, you need to breathe in more. Breathe in and out completely, filling the lungs as much as you can and emptying them back out as much as you can. Eventually, you are supposed to be able to keep an empty mind without having to worry about breathing, but this takes a long time and I can’t speak much about it because quite frankly, I’m not up to that myself.
    Posture is also important. If your back hurts, you should have something to lean against, but perhaps you are attempting sessions that are too long. Sitting in seiza is a good posture (Japanese traditional sitting on the knees). It will increase air flow. But unless you’re very flexible, achieving seiza will take some practice as it is not a natural position for most westerners. There is, of course the lotus, but that is even more difficult and is considered an advanced yoga position. Sitting cross-legged is fine.
    Then you will attempt to empty your mind of all thoughts that creep into it. This is in part why we concentrate on breathing; to give the mind a focus away from its natural flow of thoughts. If you start thinking about things other than your body or your breathing, you should gently bring your mind back from these thoughts, whatever they may be. This is a time you set aside where you do not think about your loved ones, your bills, your job, or whatever else preoccupies you in your daily life – so you are to attempt to empty your mind completely.
    As for increasing Ki, the relaxation provided by meditation is a learning process that carries outside of meditation proper, so you can learn to better relax, and thus facilitate the flow of ki. Also, you should learn about the Hara. The hara is the place Japanese culture considers to be the seat of the soul. It is located at the centre of your body (imagine a cross-section), 1 1/2 – 2 inches below your navel. (A bit lower for women). It is the centre of ki energy. Learning to relax the hara will help us increase the efficiency with which we manipulate ki.

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