Meditation is a fantastic healer, helps you feel better and has unprecedented value in terms of health and well being. So, with all of these benefits, you way ask, where do you start.
The following are some simple how to meditate tips.
Whether you happen to sit on the floor cross-legged or on a chair, be sure to keep your head up and your spine upright. If you are slumped over, it will cause your mind to drift. Your body and mind are connected. If your body is in balance, then your mind will be too. To straighten up, think of your head touching the sky. This site has some good advice on posture and its importance.
Do your best to keep your eyes open. When your eyes are open it allows you to be much more present. Lower your eyes and have a soft gaze. When you close your eyes it makes it more likely that you will drift away on stories and thoughts. However, it’s very important that you do whatever makes you comfortable. Some people will discover that is a lot more effective to close their eyes. It’s a good idea to experiment to discover what feels the best to you.
We are not present very often in ordinary consciousness. For instance, at times we drive our cars on autopilot while thinking about other things. We get to our destination suddenly and don’t even remember our drive.
That is why meditation is such a nice way to wake up to our lives. Otherwise we tend to miss a majority of our experiences since we are someplace else in our minds. So let’s look more closely at what focus actually is. In regular life, we have a tendency to think of concentration and focus as the same thing. It’s like using your mind as a kind of concentrated light beam. However, with meditation, that type of mind doesn’t help. It is too edgy and sharp. In meditation, to focus means paying soft attention to anything placed in the center of awareness. I recommend breath being used as a focus. It is similar to a natural door connecting the outside and inside.
According to Toni Packer, a Zen Master:
Attention belongs to no one and has no cause. It comes from nowhere.
One excellent way of anchoring yourself within the present is to pay attention to your breath. Notice your breath stream in and out. You don’t need to regulate your breath – let it be natural.
Count your breath
If you are having a hard time settling, try counting your breath. It is an ancient meditation practice. For your out breath, count silently “one,” two” up to “four.” Next return back to “one.” Anytime you notice your thoughts straying too far away, or you have counted to “thirty-two,” just return back to “one.” That makes “one” like returning home into the present. It’s good for you to return without looking backward. Here are some tips on breathing.
Whenever you notice your thoughts, let them go gently by focusing once again on your breath. Don’t attempt to stop your thoughts; all that will do is make you feel agitated. Picture them as being like unwelcome visitors that have shown up at your doorstep. Acknowledge them and then ask them politely to leave. Next focus your attention back onto your breath.
It is hard settling into meditation when you have strong emotions that you are struggling with. That is due to the fact that some emotions have a tendency of breeding stories within the mind. This is especially true of fears, shame and anger. They create stores that continue to repeat in the mind over and over again. Shame and anger make us keep on looking at our past. Fear looks into the future and the stories all being with “what if…”
In meditation, the best way of dealing with strong emotion is focusing on the body’s feelings that come with the emotion. For instance, it might be hot roiling anger inside the belly or a tight band of fear surrounding the chest.In that way, you can honor your emotions without getting entangled in your stories.
Silence heals. There is lots of ‘meditation music’ that is available. However, simple silence really can’t be beat. Otherwise, sounds or music on tape simply drown the chatter from your mind out. Whenever we sit in silence we are able to experience what it is our mind is actually doing. Sitting in silence brings a calmness and steadiness. In time, inner and outer silence meet and you are able to rest within the moment.
Begin with 10 minutes. Just sit for a longer period of time if you think it is too short of a time. Don’t try forcing yourself to mediate for a longer period of time if you aren’t ready for it. Over time you may want to extend your meditation time to 25 minutes. That amount of time will let you settle your mind without too much stress being placed on your body. Most important of all, shrug any ‘shoulds’ off. Some people like to sit for an hour at a stretch. Others are unable to sit for more than 10 minutes. You should do whatever feels the best to you!
It’s nice having a special place where you can sit. You could even make an altar or shrine that can be faced when sitting in mediation. You may want to have a candle placed on your alter in addition to meaningful objects. A lot of people find that having some of the elements works well – water being very common. Some of the small indoor fountains from Indoor Fountain Pros are ideal for the task.
The most important thing is to enjoy your meditation. You may want to try sitting while having a small smile. Make sure you are kind to yourself. Begin sitting for just a short amount of time every day.