When you think your life is not proceeding exactly the way you wish, when it feels like there’s something missing, when you feel lost and disoriented, that is the time you need to pause and see what’s really happening in your life, inside and outside.
What’s in your mind now? Is it calm and peaceful or is it crowded and messy with busy thoughts and stressful emotions? The information running through your mind not only affects how you feel now but also how you will live in the future, because these bits of information and gusts of emotion shape the way you see the world and the way you respond to the challenges and opportunities of life.
When you have some quiet time to think, you can sift through the information in your mind and have meaningful insights about yourself and life. When your conscious mind is not disturbed by any stimulation from inside or outside—any thought or sense perception—it naturally reflects on itself and becomes aware of itself because self-reflection is the very nature of consciousness. It asks itself, “What is this? What’s going on? Why am I doing this? Is this important in my life?”
Moments of stillness may come upon you naturally as you go about your day, or they can be induced by practicing meditation. If practiced intentionally and purposefully, meditation is a powerful way to enhance your attention, to develop your ability to think mindfully, and to use the unlimited creative potential of your mind.
There are three fundamental techniques for achieving inner stillness through the practice of meditation. In Korean I call them:
means “quieting,” and Gam
means “emotions.” Together it means “quieting the emotions, and quieting the mind.”
is a term for traditional energy meditation in Korean. Jo
means “regulating,” or “attuning,” and Shik
means “avoid,” and Chok
I’d like to address each of these techniques in a separate blog posts. Let’s start with Jigam
, or quieting the mind and emotions, since in a way each one of these techniques is a step to the next, although breathing is also an integral part of quieting the mind.
To make your mind quiet and clear of disturbing thoughts and emotions, bring it to the present by focusing on the feeling of subtle energy on your palms
, inside your body, and all around.
1. Begin by breathing naturally and focusing on your breath until your breathing gradually slows and your abdomen moves up and down gently. At first, you might breathe instinctively by moving your chest. However, this is a sign of tightness in your body. As you breathe, you will relax and be able to breathe from your abdomen.
2. Once your breathing is slow and deep, raise your hands in front of your chest with your palms facing each other.
3. Focus on your palms, and let your hands slowly move away from each other and then let them get close to each other very slowly.
4. Feel the energy in and between your palms. Energy may express itself as tingling, heat, cold, or pressure.
5. When you feel it, please remember that what you are feeling between your palms and what you really are, is one and the same thing: Energy-Consciousness. The entire universe, on its most fundamental level, is made up of the same thing—Energy-Consciousness, or what I call LifeParticles. Through LifeParticles, all become one. With body, mind, and energy integrated into one, you become whole, not scattered or fragmented. With this, you stop being merely your name, your job, your title, your memory, your thoughts and emotions, and you become what you really are. You inhabit your wholeness, and in that wholeness you discover your purpose and direction—the answers to your questions.
6. Once your thoughts and emotions have quieted, put your hands down on your knees and bring your attention down to your lower abdomen with a deep breath.
Even after you finish this meditation practice, try to maintain the sense of energy on your palms and throughout your body. How do you feel? How’s your mind? Do you feel the peaceful inner space overflowing with light and energy?
The more you maintain this peaceful inner space with Jigam practice, the less you will get lost in confusion and uncertainty and veer from your path.