Suggestions on How to Meditate
When we first beginning to meditate, there are many habits
that we fall into that prevent us from achieving a peaceful,
state to make any real progress. There are habits of worry,
restlessness, judging ourselves or our practice of meditation,
excessive movement which can become distracting, overeating,
overindulging in smoking or drinking, complaining, and finding
fault. There also are certain habits that we can do to assist
our mind to get into a place of meditation, and to begin to
make some progress in your practice. Here are some hints:
Consistency of Time: It is better to meditate at the
same time every day. It is also usually easier to meditate early
in the morning because the Earth is more still, your mind is
quieter and the day-to-day activities have not started yet.
But if you canâ€™t do it early in the morning, be consistence
with the time that you meditate during your day, and do this
every day if you are able.
Consistency of Place: It is also beneficial to have
the same place, so that your mind can make recognition of familiar
things that are around and begin to feel secure there. The mind
is like a small child that needs routine. Chose a certain corner
of a room or room of your house that you will consider your
meditation space. If you cannot leave out your props each day,
collect them and then with each time you can display and use
them in that space once again. Consistency of time and place
assists the mind with that feeling of safety and security.
Familiar Props: Having the same things that you use
consistently helps greatly in your meditation process. Again
it is a sense of trust, safety and familiar that aids the mind
to become quiet. A suggestion of some props includes your choice
of prayer cloth, which can be draped over your person. Drape
cloth for an alter that you set up. An alter, or table that
will have all of your meditation items on it, a bell or chime,
or Tibetan bowls to announce the beginning and end of your meditation,
prayer beads or mala beads, inspirational books, or prayer books,
candle or small light, incense, a mediation pillow, mat, or
roll, special pictures of landscapes or saints or spiritual
leaders, or special items like a feather, or blessed materials,
shells, small stones etc, small tickless alarm clock.
Creating a Routine of Actions: In creating habits
for meditation, a routine says to your mind that it is time
to meditate and get quiet. The routine might include, first
a preparation of purification. This could include a bath, or
simply washing your face and your hands with cool water, and
then patting your face dry prior to starting your meditation.
Next an acknowledgement to your higher self, or god, is appropriate.
You could do this by putting your hands together in prayer position
over your heart, which indicates you are centering your heart,
and opening your heart, then lift your hands to your forehead,
to acknowledge your third eye or center of perception, and then
bring your hands back down to touch your heart. It is an indication
that you are coming back to your center and that is where you
will begin your meditation. It is also an intention of purification
of heart and mind. After purifying yourself physically and mentally,
you might chose to light an incense, set out your props, and
light a candle. You could ring a chime or a bell and let the
sound resonate in your ears and through your body. If you enjoy
meditation with music it is appropriate to turn on your music
softly prior to your beginning. Next you may begin your breathing
to center your mind, and cover yourself with your prayer shawl
Meditation is the stillness of the mind and a reconnection
with your inner spirit. It could be a time of reflection, and
a period of question and answers, or simple a time of less thoughts
to offer you peace. Here are some tools to help you get to that
First for the novice, an appropriate duration of time
is 5-10 minutes. Do not overtax yourself when you first
begin. As you progress the duration of time can increase to
10-30 or 40 minutes, or for an hour or more. When meditating,
we try to shut out the outside stimulus and force the mind inward.
This is one reason that you try to sit as still as possible
in the session. You are discarding all physical distraction
and sensations. It is important to sit in the most comfortable
position that you are able so that you will be able to sit still
for a period of time. Prior to beginning your meditation, you
could stretch your neck and move your head up and down and to
either side, stretch your back a little and your shoulders.
When you prepare in this way it is more likely that you will
not be distracted by physical tension.
As you begin to meditate watch and observe your thoughts
without any judgments or condemnation. When you have observed
your thoughts for a while, begin to call the mind back like
a little child. â€œWe are breathing, we are letting go of these
thoughts now.â€ Refocus on the breath coming in through your
nose again, if you become disturbed or distracted. If you are
fearful be assured that nothing here can hurt you, this is a
discovery of your inner self and a return to your TRUE nature.
Once you have become accustomed to meditating you will be more
comfortable with your true nature and realize that you are created
to be naturally peaceful, and joyful, and that is the natural
state of your being.
There are different techniques to get you to that silent
and still place. Breathing is very important for trans-
porting you to that place, a sound mantra like OM i s helpful,
a guided meditation, an open eye meditation that lets you have
a focus on one particular object, point, or picture or candle
can immediately take you to the still place, focusing on music,
or particular elements of the music can accomplish that stillness.
You can chose one or more of these techniques to get you there.
You could also have a meditation of questions and answers.
It is important to write down the questions that you wish to
ask before you begin, so that there is a flow and a direction
of the meditation process. Have a note pad so that you can write
down the answers that come to you. Usually it is the first answer
that comes to you. Write that down, even it you do not understand
the reference. Write down everything until it feels complete
and then move on to the next question. The question and answer
period may go on for a few meditation sessions so do not become
discouraged if you donâ€™t get all of the answers immediately.
Also do not judge yourself or call yourself inadequate if you
are not getting the responses that you want. Mediation takes
practice and intention to do it well. Also one needs to become
accustomed to how s/he receives that information personally.
Ring the bell, to signal the conclusion of your meditation
session, or turn off your alarm when it rings. After the
time is up and your meditation has ended, begin to stretch and
loosen your neck and shoulders, and your back and perhaps your
arms and legs. Breathe big breaths in to bring you from that
deep place. Do not force yourself beyond your time that you
told yourself would be the amount of time for that day. There
are other days to extend the time.
Meditation takes a lot of practice and time. There
are many mental and physical obstacles to over- come. The mind
is always active and always condemning. It judges you harshly
without cause, it holds you guilty, it keeps you in a fearful
place, it believes that it is under attack, it says empathically
that you can never change, it is full of resistance and self
loathing. The mind never speaks of your true nature, which is
joy, love, compassion for all creatures, kindness, deep wisdom,
abundance, and the unlimited free flowing capacity.
It is also helpful to keep a journal of your spiritual
progress and your meditations. Which techniques work best
for you, how often do you get to a still place, is there anything
that came up that you did not expect, are you causing yourself
stress in a process that is designed to bring more peace and
stillness for you, are you judging yourself? Can you make a
change to comfort yourself, are you receiving your answers during
a Q ... A period.
A Note On Meditation And Breathing.
Breathing can start out big and full and then gradually become
diminished and more silent. It is part of your focus that leads
you to that still place. When you are meditating you are letting
the mind rest on a new focal point other than a million thoughts
of worry, anxiety, fear and what you will do in the next moment
or the evening. Remember a funnel, it has a great capacity coming
into the top but it is coming down through a progressively narrower
opening, until it passes through only a tiny opening. The same
actions are occurring when you are limiting your thoughts to
one or more focal points. Letting go of distracting thoughts,
worry, and fear, and focusing on less and less until you are
at a still place.
Focus: Earlier I told you that there are steps to
get you to that still place, the focal points that draw your
mind into a still and quiet place. One focus is the present
moment, only this moment is what you are focusing on at this
time. Another focus is the steady breathing coming into your
physical form, or the OM sounds resonating through your mind
and body, still other focuses include the elements of the music
like running water that you are training your ears to pick out,
or the music itself, in a guided meditation you are letting
images form in your mind and that becomes a focal point, and
in an open eye meditation you are letting your eyes become trained
on a physical point that you can see, and gradually you let
your mind come to an internal focal point. All of the focal
points are designed to assist you to get into the resting place
of the mind where the mind becomes secondary. When the mind
is resting and not complaining, condemning or judging then you
become aware of your unlimited nature, of your gentleness, and
divine essence. It is a place of realization of your TRUE SELF
and in knowing and remember that you become so comfortable with
your expanding and unlimited nature that you only wish to rest
in that place.
My suggestions to you are practice, get relaxed, get settled,
donâ€™t judge, do not compare yourself to others, allow yourself
to learn and progress at your own pace, encourage yourself,
and reassure yourself when you need to, and keep on practicing
and challenging yourself out of your comfort zone. Do not listen
to the mindâ€™s condemnation of you. It is only false ramblings.
Reward yourself for your effort. Be good to yourself.
For Further Reading