Let’s begin with what meditation is. There is no goal in meditation. There is nothing to do and there is nowhere to be. It’s endless. It’s non-doing. Just being, nothing else. In this way it is different from everything else we do. Everything in our lives involves doing, action or engagement. With meditation you observe yourself and your mind. You become conscious of yourself. This consciousness allows you to become still. From stillness comes silence and the ability to slowly stop identification with ideas, concepts or thoughts. This detachment from yourself can allow for happiness, relief, contentment, ease and joy in your life.
Meditation is very very easy, it’s too easy, that is why it is difficult! ~Alan Watts
The simple version of meditation: Find a quiet place. Sit in any position as long as your spine and back are straight. Close your eyes. Breathe, and be aware of the mind.
When to meditate?
Meditation can be done at any time of the day (whenever you have time). I meditate before going to sleep and in the morning. I’ve noticed I sleep with ease if I meditate the night before as I have less thoughts. I’ve recently starting to meditate in the mornings. It is a perfect start to my day as it allows me to appreciate myself, others and being.
I have learned a lot about meditation from videos, reading, forums and practicing daily. Below is a detailed way to meditation, and a way to make meditation more comfortable for you.
1. Quiet. Find a quiet place. Use this place as your meditation spot. It can be your chair, couch, bed, sofa. A meditation cushion I found makes meditation much easier. I meditate on the ground. Where does not matter as long as it is quiet.
2. Posture. Your posture must be straight. Think of keeping your spine as straight as you can. If you have troubles doing this, meditate on the ground and use a wall to support your back.
3. Head. Imagine that a string is pulling on your head. This makes it so your neck is long and relaxed.
4. Eyes. Some say to meditate with your eyes open. If you decide to meditate with your eyes open, make sure you look at a blank wall to avoid visual distractions. I have found meditation with your eyes closed is simpler. It allows more focus on your practice. When your eyes are closed focus your sight in between your eyebrows. (where the light is located in the picture below)
5. Hands. If you are sitting cross legged, you can rest your hands in your lap. The first picture is where you can rest your hands. The second picture is where your fingers touch. This is a is great way to remain present and aware. When your fingers stop touching, it means your attention has gone elsewhere. Try both poses and see which works for you.
5. Breath. Follow the breath. See where it goes. Focus on your inhale coming up, then let go your exhale and watch where it goes. Notice each pause between your next inhale. Follow and see where it goes.
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
6. Count the breath. To focus on your breath, keep count. Each exhale counts as 1. Count up to 5, and then start all over (start from 1). Your mind will wander off and being to think of something. Notice this, and come back to your breath. Start again at 1.
7. Just sit. If you are just starting out you may feel uneasy, agitated, jittery, frustrated and ready to get up and leave. Don’t leave and just sit. You will have a desire to get up, but resist. Let the desire come 3 times if possible. The first time you wish to get up, do not. If you can continue, then let it go to 2 desires, and do not get up. After 3 desires you may feel calm enough to remain sitting or you can get up and stop.
Optional: You can set a timer when you are starting out. This way you don’t have to worry about how long you meditate and know that you are committing “X” amount of minutes to meditating. Once the timer goes off, do not get up right away. Open your eyes slowly and turn it off. Remain sitting and notice yourself and how you feel.
8. Gratitude. Once you are finished with your meditation, take a deep breath. Notice your surroundings. Notice how you feel, breathe and enjoy this moment. Thank yourself for taking time out of your day for yourself.
Some mindful tips for meditation. (you may also apply these in your daily life).
- If meditation becomes painful, there is tension do some stretching beforehand.
- Relax wherever you hold tension.
- Relax your eyebrows. Just let them rest.
- Do not force your eyelids shut.
- Drop your shoulders and let them relax.
- Open your chest so you can breathe easier and allow more circulation.
- Relax your jaw so you are not clenching (To not clench do not touch your teeth. Try and make sure your lips touch slightly)
- If you wiggle 3 times after your meditation a genie will appear. It’s not always successful, but make sure you try. (This is a joke..)
We are often told by others who we are. We also tell ourselves who we are. We hold onto too many concepts of who we are and by the end all we have are concepts. By sitting in silence you will discover what it means to be. Your being, your aliveness, and your awareness.
Meditation is most effective when practiced daily. Any meditation is better than no meditation. This way you are taking time daily to come back to yourself, as you are. To establish a habit of meditating, start small. Start with 2 minutes a day. When that becomes comfortable for you, start with 3 minutes and so on. Make sure you go at your own pace. If you cannot meditate daily, then do it every other day. Find what works for you.
No meditation can be good or bad. Every meditation is the one that you needed. If they are bad, then you have something learn. If they are good, then you have something to learn.