Meditation is an ancient practice that can produce wonderful fruits for those who stay committed to it. If you are interested in unlocking your full potential, conquering your mental discomforts, or getting more satisfaction out of life, you are in the right place!
Meditation is a practice, just like weight lifting. You must practice consistently in order to see results. Meditation is very simple, yet profoundly difficult. You will be confronted with your own mind and have to work to settle it. Although this practice requires tremendous patience, the benefits are well worth the wait.
1. Choose an Area for Meditation
Begin by dedicating a small area in your home for your practice. This area must be free from distractions (away from TV’s, phones, computers, clocks, etc) so you will not be tempted to cut your sessions short. You may use a chair, a zafu or simply sit on the floor. It is important that this area is comfortable for you, as you will be sitting here for up to thirty minutes at a time.
2. Select a Timing Device.
You may use a timer, a clock or a mala, so you can measure the length of time you have been sitting. I recommend purchasing a mala like this one, so you won’t feel the anticipation of an oncoming alarm. Malas are very easy to use and provide you with a visual aid to assist you in completing your meditation. Although not necessary, it is good to select a mala that you feel a connection with as this will be your consistent companion in your meditative endeavors.
3. Set a Goal for Tomorrow
Many professional practitioners of meditation recommend meditating once a day in the morning hours. You can incorporate meditation into your daily routine, it is a great way to start your day out fresh and calm minded. Set a time, perhaps after your morning coffee to begin your meditation. Just make sure you will be free from distraction during that thirty minutes.
When the time comes for your first session, grab your mala and sit in your chosen location. Begin by resting your mala over your middle finger where you can easily move from bead to bead with your thumb. Sit however you like, but preferably cross legged on the floor or on a cushion/zafu (a chair is fine too, just don’t fall asleep).
5. Close your Eyes and Breathe.
Close your eyes and begin focusing your mind on your breath. Follow your breath with your awareness. Begin by taking deep breaths and allowing your mind to follow the breath all the way in, then all the way out. Pay special attention to the space between each breath. Each time you exhale and meet the gap between your last and next breath, move a bead. This is meditation. If your mind begins to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath. It will not be easy at first, but this is the practice. It takes patience.
6. Notice your Feelings and Bodily Sensations
As you follow your breath with your awareness you may begin noticing how difficult it is to stay aware of your breath. Your mind may begin to wander into various topics, maybe about what you will eat for breakfast, who’s texting you, what you will do next, something you did in the past, etc. Simply bring your awareness back to your breath when this occurs. After a few times reigning in your mind, you will begin to notice strange sensations of contentment. You may get excited at these feelings and lose your focus, but that is ok. Simply return to your breath.
7. Continue Following your Breath
You will find a rhythm with each breath and movement of the mala. Simply continue to focus on your breath until you get to the “guru bead” or the end of your mala. The typical meditation session on a 108 bead mala will last 20-30 minutes depending on your rate of breath. Generally, the more in depth mediations last longer. During your meditation, pay attention to how your body feels, and any pains or feelings of discontentment in your mind. You can shift your awareness to these locations and will usually find that this “energetic awareness” has tremendous healing properties. Always return your awareness to your breath.
8. End your Meditation
When you arrive at the “guru bead,” or your timer goes off, you may say a prayer or give thanks to those you love. It is always refreshing to end a meditation with gratefulness, though if you do not wish to do this and are only looking for the mental and health benefits of meditation you may ignore this step.
You may eventually develop a ritual of ending a meditation session, and whichever way you choose to do this is ok. Feel free to document your feelings, discoveries, ideas and inspirations after your session. This is a great time to begin creative work as well.
It is normal to find this practice very difficult in the beginning, but it does get easier. Even a mere 10 hours of mediation has been proven to yield results. The most important part of this practice is staying consistent and always striving for improvement, as with anything else in life.
If you have any questions, ideas or concerns please leave a comment below. I would also love to hear about your experiences meditating, feel free to share them!