Meditation means different things to many people. For some it is simply a way of relaxing, where for other is a way of bringing about peace of mind, but spiritual seekers find it to be a vital tool in connecting to deeper levels of reality.
Although many may say that it is a passive activity, it is not a matter of just closing your eyes and daydreaming. It is rather a mean of actively focusing the mind on a single point of concentration.
1. Get started, and don’t give up
The first step is to actually get motivated enough to start to meditate every day, and keep the motivation for a larger period of time, weeks, months and years. If you can’t afford a meditation room, you can do it somewhere else, like a corner of your bedroom, where you can sit without being disturbed. Take each day at a time and don’t rush it. 10 to 15 minutes a day should be enough to start with. Early morning is considered to be the best tine to meditate, because your mind is still refreshed and calm. The more regularly and often you will practice it, the easier it will become.
The traditional posture for meditation in the East is the Full Lotus. However this is a challenging posture to maintain and could lead to muscle cramps. But you can just as well sit comfortably on a chair, lie down or just sit on a pillow and cross your legs in a natural way. Again think about comfort when it comes to clothing. Don’t wear anything too tight, because it will make it more difficult to breath properly and relax the body so you can begin relaxing your mind.
3. Have a good start
To enjoy the benefits of meditation, you need to be relaxed. As we carry far more tension than we realize, the body has to be relaxed in order to start entering a condition of stillness. Sit quietly and start feeling every breath enter and leave your body, making you more relaxed with every breath. Relax every muscle in your body and let go of any tension. Don’t rush this because a good start is the key to a valuable meditation session.
Breathing meditation is known to be one of the oldest, simplest and most effective form of meditation. It distracts the mind from the noises around us, and focuses it on our breath. Control you breathing at first. Take air in slowly, drawing it deep down into your chest, hold it for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Do this until you find that you no longer control the breath and that it has established a steady rhythm of it’s own. Focus the mind on this and observe every breath just happen on it’s own.
5. Brain power
The brain is capable of incredible feats. We could actually write a book every day with our constant thoughts, cares and plans. When you start to meditate, your whole inner world will seem pretty unfamiliar. But we have the capacity, through regular daily practice, to release the mind from the pressures and worries of our everyday life and make these worries less troubling. You might at some point in your meditation find that you have an itch, or the outside noises are too loud and startling. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. It is normal in the early days of practice. Your mind actually behaves like a child that rebels against you for not paying attention to him anymore and clings on to you for attention. So treat your mind like you would a child, gentle, but firm. Refuse to give in to it’s demands.
6. Find your center
Successful meditation is the result of a delicate balance between body and mind. The body must be held completely still but without tension. Relaxed, but not sleepy. It may sound impossible, but in time it will come on it’s own if you just hold the mind in a fixed point of concentration. The easiest way is to concentrate on your breath. Another way would be to focus on an object, a word, a picture or an idea. Whatever way you choose, picture the point of concentration like your anchor that keeps you from drifting away in a stormy sea. If you can hold on to the anchor for long enough, the waves of the sea will subside and eventually calm down.
7. Quality over quantity
It takes perseverance to endure the storm, thus make good use of the time you spend doing it. Ten minutes of focused meditation is better that 30 minutes of just sitting and thinking about your problems with your eyes closed. Try to allocate a specific amount of time to meditation and in that time do your best to relax the body and mind as much as possible.
8. Aids to meditation
Although they are not a replacement of will power and persistence, there are many products that you can use to aid you in your time spent in meditation. Try burning incense sticks or aromatherapy oils. Fresh flowers will give a nice fresh fragrance in the room and help you calm your mind. Relaxing music helps as well.
9. Mindfulness in everyday activities
Meditation is not practiced only by sitting. You can also try walking meditation by feeling your feet touch the ground and be conscious of every move your body makes. You can practice it while doing almost anything, eating, working on the computer, washing the dishes or cooking. Whatever it is, give your activity your complete and undivided attention.
10. Day to day
Because meditation does not have a point in which you can say you have finished it, losing your ambition in practicing it every day is quite easy. Try not to skip your daily sessions and be aware of the everyday changes in your life that are brought on by the practice of meditation.