In these stressful and confusing times, gaining clarity of the mind can seem like an insurmountable hurdle. Even though meditation is one sure-fire way to reduce the distractions of the mind, the act of doing it can seem impossible or stress inducing. One reason being is that when one’s eyes are closed, the mind (which we’ve already established may be busy or stressed) can take over, rendering the meditation attempt moot. In this case, I typically suggest that one practice candle-gazing, which is a form of meditation. It’s a great introduction to meditation because it gives the eyes something to focus on while we begin the practice of programming the mind into one-pointed attention, or put another way, candle-gazing takes one of the distractions of the mind (sight) out of the equation because it occupies the eyes.
The mind is shaped by the five senses. At this point in our meditation scenario, our eyes are occupied. Make sure the meditation environment is as quiet and scent-free as possible. Now, the eyes are focused, the space is quiet, there are no distractions of smell, and you’ve come to stillness, hopefully, with a satiated appetite. Quieting the activity of the eyes, ears, nose and tongue sets the stage for meditation. Yet, even though the sense organs are inactive, they could still contain memory of one form or another. This month i will expand on the idea of cleansing the sense organs to help make meditation more accessible.
The nose is a great place to start. While the nostrils may seem like a simple passageway to the lungs, nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to being lined with hair to help catch particles, these openings lead to the nasal cavity, which is fed mucus from multiple sinus cavities lined up on either side of the nose, leading to the final sinus cavity which is in indirect contact to the cavity housing the brain. The accumulation of mucus and particles in route to the lungs can be of great distraction to our physical and mental health. Flushing out the nasal cavity and sinus cavities are a great way to prepare the body for meditation.
The same can be said for the ears, eyes, mouth and skin (referring to the sense of touch). Mucus can accumulate in these organs causing congestion, changes in blood flow, insensitivities, etc. Attempting to meditate while these conditions are occurring is like swimming upstream. Meditation is difficult enough without distractions from the sense organs.
There are multiple ways of cleansing the sense organs. Next month I will continue to discuss these processes, and will leave you with this thought…the eyes serve us by allowing us to see. Sight is more than simply the function of the eye. Our sight, combined with its impression on the mind, gives us our perception. If we want to perceive truth, our purest attempt can happen by cleansing the eyes, and using a steady, calm mind to discern what is being seen.
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Be well and heal thyself!
Ayurvedic Practitioner, Herbalist, Bodyworker