I owe the first meditation technique to Alan Seale (www.alanseale.com) who took us through a practice session in an ICA class.

Stand with feet a foot apart, eyes closed if you like, breathing normally. Spread your hands out at shoulder level. What do you feel?

Slowly bring hands in front of you in a prayer posture. Visualize your entire body as a column of vertical light energy. Align the energy column with your body. Correct any misalignment. Stay for a minute or two.

Slowly bring your hands down, fingers pointing towards the ground. Feel yourself grounded to earth. Feel the column of energy extending to the center of the Earth. Stay for a minute or two.

Slowly move your hands up fingers pointing to the sky. Feel yourself connecting to the space above. Feel the column of energy extending to the universe.

Now feel connected to the Earth as well. Feel that through you a column of energy moves between the space above to the Earth below. Experience your body as a link between the earth and cosmos.  Stay as long as you are comfortable.

Watch your breathing. How do you feel?

Slowly bring your hands in front of you in a prayer posture. Turn around.  Slowly let your arms spread outwards at the shoulder level. Turn around.

How do you feel now?

Is there a difference between when you started with your hands spread out and now with your spread out as before? Reflect.

The vertical is your being level energy connection with the universe, the Cosmic energy.  The horizontal is your action oriented connection with the ‘real’ material world. You are at the intersection of this spiritual Cosmic energy and the world of matter. Energy and matter meet at your heart.

The vertical is your intuitive, creative, spiritual self. The horizontal is your active, practical, material life. You need both to live in this world.

This exercise also links  our right and left brain hemispheres. The vertical is more right brain oriented and the horizontal more left brain oriented.

Practice this meditation exercise to center yourself and gain self-awareness.

A Buddhist meditation exercise works somewhat similarly.

Sit comfortably, spine erect and breathing normally, with eyes closed. Watch your breath, focusing on the upper lip alone. Watch how the breath moves, from which nostril, in or out, the speed, texture and temperature. Focus on the breath for 5 minutes.

Slowly feel your expand. Fill the room you are in. Visualize everything in the room inside you now. Stay for a minute or two.

Step by step, over the next ten minutes, feel yourself expand to cover the building you are in, the suburb you are in, the city you are in and the country you are in, visualizing all the people, structures, rivers and mountains within yourself. keep expanding enveloping the earth, all the planets, the solar system, the milky ways and the universes with you. You are now all that there is. Stay as long as comfortable.

Slowly bring yourself back from this expanded state to your normal position. For a minute center yourself on your breath.

Now, allow yourself to shrink. Slowly visualize yourself contracting through your muscular, bone and organ systems to a cellular level. Visualize yourself as a tiny dot at your heart center. Let that disappear as well. Feel as if you are nothing.

Slowly return to your normal state. Stay still for a minute before opening your eyes.

Though these meditation techniques have no adverse effects at all, stop if at any stage you feel uncomfortable. Initially do it as a guided meditation with a trusted friend reading out the process step wise.

This Buddhist meditation, called the ‘metta’, helps to link the  energy of the Universe with the Self. It helps us to bond with fellow living and no living beings. It fosters compassion and empathy.

happy journey!