When it comes to meditation, I get the feeling that most people think its difficult and it's something only a gifted few can do. When if fact, meditation is simply an approach to training your mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training your body.
In a recent book I've read about Buddha and his journey in meditation, he was once asked what he gained from meditation and his response was this:
"NOTHING! HOWEVER, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I HAVE LOST: ANGER, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, INSECURITY, FEAR OF OLD AGE AND DEATH."
All you really have to do is find out the basics, commit to the practice and do it day after day until it starts to feel natural. Just think of it like any other discipline and remember that it takes practice and consistency.
There are so many different meditation techniques to explore, but if you're just getting started here are a few tips I've researched (and things that I do) when I meditate on a daily basis.
My Guide to Meditation
1. Select a suitable space....
Choose somewhere you can sit easily, with little to no disturbance. Maybe a corner of your bedroom or a quiet spot somewhere in your home. Make it a sacred space by keeping a chair or meditation cushion there as a reminder that its your meditation space.
2. Select a regular time...
Choose a time that fits in with your schedule. If you're a morning person, experiment with sitting down to meditate before breakfast. If the evening suits you best, then maybe after work or before going to bed. Begin with just 10 or 20 minutes at a time.
3. Find a posture...
Sit comfortably on your chair or cushion without being too rigid. Let your body be firmly planted on the earth (or seat) with your hands resting easily, your chest relaxed and your eyes gently closed. Consciously feel your body soften. Let go of any habitual thoughts and bring your attention to the sensation of your breath.
Probably the most important element of a good meditation practice is getting your breathing in check. Take a few deep belly breaths to settle your mind and then let your breath become more natural. Feel the sensations of your breath carefully, make no effort to control your breath and just relax. Inhale the calm, exhale the madness. Slowly, slowly.
After a few deep breaths your mind will probably begin to wander. When you notice this, mindfully acknowledge the thought with a word like 'thinking', 'wandering', or 'hearing' and simply bring your attention back to your breath.
Maintain this practice for ten minutes to start, and only begin to lengthen the time if you feel you need more. Don't force yourself to extend your meditation if you're not ready. In time, you might feel you can extend it up to 25 minutes. Everybody is so different so it's important that you do what feels right for you.
I meditate every day, usually before my day starts and before I go to bed. Its a practice, and without it I would not feel zen and relaxed throughout the day. It helps me prepare for my day, stay focused throughout the day and than ease my mind and body before I go to sleep.
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