Let me start by saying that up until about 14 months ago I really didn’t have a clue about what mediation really was and why we should be doing it regularly. In fact, I wrote a post way back in Jan 2012 where I spoke about how meditation really wasn’t as easy as it seemed and how I was determined not to let it beat me but the long and the short of it is that, at that time, it did beat me and I didn’t attempt it again until early in 2014. You can read the 2012 post here.
It’s funny looking back at the post now because, after 14 months of meditating, I realise that back then I was going about it in the wrong way and I think a lot of people have the same problem.
Misguided Notions About How To Meditate
I believe many people have misguided notions about how meditation should be done. They think that, in order to meditate ‘properly’, you must sit perfectly still with crossed legs or, even worse, in the Lotus Position with upturned palms and the thumbs touching the middle finger. They think there has to be complete silence and that you have to clear your mind of all thoughts. There must be no distractions and you have to concentrate on a candle with your third eye and your chakras have to be balanced and …and … Don’t get me wrong. I’m not mocking any form of meditation and that is how some higher levels of meditation should be done but at the level that most of us ordinary mortals want to do it, none of that is necessary.
Once you learn to how to meditate you can do it almost anywhere and at any time. I do have to add in the obligatory health and safety warning here; never meditate whilst driving a car or operating heavy machinery. However, if you do try to meditate whilst carrying out either of those tasks – you probably should be in line for a Darwin Award. Those of you not familiar with the Darwin Awards can find out more about them by clicking here.
So, here are my quick and easy steps to mastering meditation.
- Don’t overdo it. When starting out, 5 or 10 minutes is all you need. As you get better at it you can increase your sessions.
- To begin with find somewhere quiet where you know you won’t be disturbed for that 5 or 10 minutes – further down the line you really can do it anywhere.
- Make sure you’re sitting comfortably or even lying down.
- Close your eyes.
- Be aware of tension in any part of your body and let it go. Start at the top of your head and work your way down. Don’t forget to relax areas such as your jaw, your face muscles, your neck, your fingers and so on. Allow yourself to sink into that lovely state of relaxation where you feel all your cares and worries dropping away.
- Focus on your breathing. Take deep, even breaths. Become aware of your chest rising and falling with each breath and continue letting go of any tension you feel creeping back in.
- Simply allow your thoughts to drift in and out of your mind. Eventually they will quieten but don’t try to force yourself to think about nothing. It can’t be done.
- If you’re completely new to meditation I suggest using guided meditations where you simply follow instructions. Alternatively, put on some soothing music. You’ll find suitable music and guided meditations on YouTube. Just search for ‘meditation’ or ‘guided meditation’. When I started I used both music and guided meditations but now I prefer to do it in silence.
- Before you start, find a specific sound and focus on it so that if you find yourself drifting off during your meditation you can use the sound to bring your mind back to the present. It could be the sound of the birds singing outside or the wind rustling in the trees. It might be your dog snoring in the next room or children playing somewhere in the distance. If you’re using music or guided meditations then bring yourself back by focussing on the music or the voice you’re following.
- If you do fall asleep, it’s ok. It still happens to me occasionally.
- At the end of the meditation allow yourself to sit quietly for as long as you need. Continue breathing evenly. You may feel as though you want to stretch so go ahead and do so and, when you’re ready, go about the rest of your day.
It really is that easy and gets easier with practice. Give it a try. The benefits are huge but that’s a whole other post.
Let me know how you get on either in the comments below or over on the Facebook page
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