S.P. Austen has practiced, written on and taught the subject of meditation for over 40 years.
Calm Lake Meditation
Many people are looking for calm in their lives in this busy world full of stress. But what would that calmness feel like, inside of ourselves, if we were to attain it? Perhaps we can find an answer from one of nature's very own examples by visualising the serenity of a still and calm lake.
If we want to envision what calmness, peace, and tranquility feel like, we can take a hint from the stillness of a lake. If the lake is rippled and disturbed, you cannot see down to the bottom. Neither does the lake reflect the glory of the surrounding mountains, the trees, blue sky, clouds or sun. In its disturbed state, animals do not even come to drink from the lake.
Why Is Meditation Important?
But when the lake is absolutely still, like a sheet of glass, it easily reflects the mountains, trees, sky, clouds and sun perfectly in a clear mirror image. It is then that the wild animals come and drink from the lake.
Therefore, if we also learn to become still and calm within, like the crystal clear lake, we may also draw all things to us and reflect the greater glory of life in our very stillness. Others will naturally be drawn to us because of our wonderful state of calmness, just like the animals which are drawn to calm waters. In its essence, this is the Law of Attraction at work, as found in nature.
But if we are disturbed, we tend to push good things away from us, rather like the animals that are repelled by the disturbance on the surface of the lake, and shy away from drawing near. In a state of turbulence, the glory of life that continually surrounds us becomes impossible to perceive or appreciate—the mirror becomes distorted and cloudy.
So many people are working themselves up into a frenzy in their eagerness to get the things that they think will make them happy when all they really need to do to experience genuine happiness is to learn the art of becoming still and calm. This is the fine art of non-doing. It is non-action, which actually achieves far more in the long run. Only when you experience this sublime inner calm can you realise the depth of what this non-action means. Just like the still lake, there is also a depth to the deep calmness, which has a personal, liberating effect upon the one who can hold such deep calm.
Being Calm Is a Skill
It is only from the midst of calmness that we are able to see our life more clearly, just like the reflections mirrored upon the surface of the lake. It is then, from this clear perspective, that action is possible.
The Energy Breath
Start your meditation by seating yourself comfortably, in whatever manner you are used to. You may sit on a straight-backed chair or on the floor. If you can perform the Lotus posture or the Half-Lotus posture, you may certainly do that, seated on the floor.
I suggest that you give yourself a full thirty minutes for this meditation, but you can make it shorter if you prefer, allowing ten or fifteen minutes, as part of a thirty-minute meditation session.
Sit with a straight spine with your neck in a straight line with the spinal column. Bring your attention to the breath. The breathing is performed via the nostrils only, breathing in through the nostrils and breathing out through the nostrils. You are taking long, deep and slow breaths, and feeling that the breath itself is fluidic energy that ascends and descends along the spinal canal.
Perform this breathing technique for a few breaths until you feel quite relaxed. On the next in-breath, imagine a thread of golden light ascending upwards along the spine and entering the top of the head where resides the Crown Chakra spoken of in Eastern mysticism. See and feel the golden light transfigure here into a golden-white sun with rays shining out in all directions.
Continue breathing in this way for several breaths until you feel that you are mastering it well. Keep the mental image of the golden light flowing up the spine and into the Crown Chakra. Be aware of a sense of the 'energy' contained in the breath.
I call this type of breathing the Energy Breath, as for many people, there is generated a sense of an energy or vibration as you visualize the golden light and feel it coursing up the spinal canal.
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Keep the mind centred at the top of the head for a few minutes, conscious of the light radiating outwards like a halo of light.
Now, begin to use the faculties of your imagination; we are going to visualise a lake of clear, sparkling water. Add some colour such as blues or greens if you like and if you find that easy. But don't try too hard. The object of meditation is to keep it as effortless as possible.
Just allow the lake of water to appear before the mind's eye, shimmering, glittering, with just the most gentle of ripples on the surface.
If your lake seems at all turbulent, just bring your attention to the Energy Breath and gently feel that the waters are becoming calmer. "He leadeth me beside the Still Waters" might work as a good calming mantra for you, if you want to mentally repeat that a few times, very slowly.
Breathing deeper, becoming calmer, calmer, calmer...
Can you imagine what a clear sheet of glass looks like? Perhaps you can recall an image that you have seen before of a very still lake with the mountains and trees reflected in it like a mirror image. Try to just bring that to mind for a while and sit with that.
Breathing, breathing slowly, the lake is still and calm, still and calm...
You Are the Lake
As you visualise, see and feel the calm tranquility of the lake, you can sense the great stillness which arises from within you. You are that stillness, you are that lake of utmost calm.
Can you feel the depth of this stillness? It goes right down into your very deepest self. Every part of your body, emotions, mind, and being is that stillness. The waters of immense calm envelope you, they fill you, they become you.
Sit with this sense of deep calmness. Allow it to permeate every cell in your body, every particle of your emotions, mind and innermost self.
All is ultra still. Your physical body is ultra still, right where you sit in this meditation. Nothing moves. Yet, everything lives, more alive than before. There is a presence, a life force, within the silence, within the stillness. You are that presence, you are that life force, you are that stillness.
Stay there as long as you like, allowing every trouble, every care, to wash away, to dissolve in the calm stillness of the lake.
When you are ready, slowly breathe and become aware of returning. Your breath may have been suspended momentarily during the meditation; that's all right and is natural when one concentrates. Just gently reengage with the breath and return to everyday consciousness, feeling refreshed and alive once more, carrying the sense of deep calmness with you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 S P Austen
S P Austen (author) from Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada on November 05, 2019:
Thanks so much, Audrey.
I'm so glad that you used this visualisation as part of your meditation practice.
Also, the ripples might even reflect the octaves which on the musical scale vibrate out into concentric circles. Then they gradually calm down, rippling less and less until the music of the ripples is a still hum.
Steve (S.P. Austen)
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 04, 2019:
The example of ripples in the lake as opposed to stillness is a helpfull awareness and visualization. I invited this image into my meditation. Thank you Steve.