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A Basic, Practical Guide to Successful Meditation

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Feel free, just as you are.

Breathe easy.

During the next 15 minutes, we are going to talk about when, where, and how to meditate.

Think of this as your instruction guide. It is not a meditation session.

You can listen to this track in our app (Put a link to our app) while you are on the go, and return to it from time to time if you need to.

The first few minutes are going to give you simple practical instructions to get you going.

If you already have experience with meditation, then please add this to what you already know.

If it sounds different from what you know already, please follow your heart, and integrate it into your life as one unity.

The second part is going to talk about the magic of the breath,

and lastly, we will look at the essence of all meditation.

Let’s begin with the practical instructions first.

What is the Best Time to Meditate?

Find a time of day, every day, which works for you, personally.

Twice a day is better!

Eventually, meditation integrates totally into your lifestream.

At the start, we make it into a ritual, so it naturally becomes a habit.

Try to stick to that same time window every day, because your mind and body will get used to it, and call you back when you forget, or get lazy or distracted.

Reserve at least half an hour, if you can, even though the sessions are shorter than that. Make space for the whole process. It will benefit you most if you approach it this way.

Where is the Best Place to Meditate?

If you are able to sit in nature – that is the first prize. That is best. Most of us can’t do that easily every day, so choose a space that feels right. Find somewhere private, where you won’t be bothered, or bother anyone else, and where you are warm and dry, and where you can sit or lie down in peace.

If it is possible for you – then create a meditation room, or even just a corner in your home. Put your candles, your cushions, and sacred objects there, if you want to. Burn incense there if you like. Make it special and personal – but that’s totally up to you. These are only suggestions – not absolutely necessary. In the end, meditation is a deeply personal thing, so do it your own way.

Now, let’s talk about the – “How?

Also Read: Mistakes that Beginner do During Meditation

What is the Best Way to Meditate?

Well, that can be a complicated question, actually. Everyone is different. The best and simplest answer is: Do it naturally and intuitively, with as little thinking as possible.

That might seem confusing, though, so let’s break it down:

Meditation is an Ancient Art Form

It has been part of humankind for many centuries, and there are many ways to accomplish the same goal, which is – inner silence and peace. The classic meditation posture is probably already familiar to you:

Sit in the lotus position, legs crossed, and folded under you. Keep your spine erect, with your head bowed ever so slightly. Hands at the knees, or in your lap.

You can use a cushion, or if you’re brave, just sit on the floor. Sorry, there’s no gold medal for you, though. For many of us, this posture is torture!

Western people usually stop sitting in this way before they become teenagers, and many of us have become stiff and locked up as a result. Yoga, and practice, can help with this.

Whatever body type you have, be kind to your mind and body. There’s no point in sitting in pain for half an hour a day.

That accomplishes nothing except backache and disappointment. Avoid it. That pain will make you want to give up on meditation.

On the other hand, there are benefits to this posture – so work towards it, slowly, if that is possible for you.

You can sit on a straight-backed chair instead. If you do that, then plant your feet on the ground, spine erect, and relax your arms and hands in your lap. Bow your head ever so slightly.

You can also meditate successfully while lying down on your back.

Watch out for this, though, because you tend to fall asleep easily in this posture. If that’s what you want – then please go ahead!

If you can rather stay mentally alert while you meditate – otherwise you will miss most of it, while you nap!

A good tip here is to keep your eyes half-open and half-closed. That way you can’t fall asleep so easily.

Basically – Get as comfortable as possible, whatever works, without nodding off.

If you are bed-ridden or challenged in other ways, then adapt this to your personal situation. Meditation will work anywhere, in any posture.

In a similar way, you can meditate when you walk, when you wait in a queue, or when you have five minutes free.

Meditation is free and open

Use it wisely in your life, all of it!

Use your common sense too.

Cut out distractions, switch off phones and TV’s, avoid heavy meals and exercise right before and after, and make it serene and peaceful for yourself. Make it fun and easy. It’s not a duty or a chore. It’s a holiday.

At the start, it takes time to get into the swing of it, so that’s why we are going into more detail here. Later it becomes natural and intuitive, and you don’t need a single instruction at all. You simply become the meditation…

Meditation is An Act of Inner Observation

The biggest distractions will be your own body, your own emotions, and your own mind. The outward circumstances of your life revolve around these three things.

Learn to observe inwardly without getting too involved, or judging the meditation session.

Flow with life instead. Learn patience with yourself.

When your body hurts, give it some relief and care. No need to soldier through the pain too much.

When your emotions hurt, then do the same – while staying present and alert to the feelings, never avoiding them.

If your head is mad with thinking, then use meditation to regain your balance. Do it often.

So there you have it – the basic practical guidelines to meditation.

Now, let’s talk more about how to observe during the sessions that will follow.

This is the second part – the magic of the breath

There are many varieties of basic meditation. Each one uses a different tool for focus.

The meditation tool is there to help calm and center your mind, body, and feelings. Nothing more.

That tool could be a candle flame, like in Zen. It could be a dot on a piece of paper, or a pattern or picture, like a mandala, in Tibetan Buddhism.

The tool could be a mantra – a repeating sound (like AaaahUuuuu Mmmm, as in Sanskrit meditation).

It could be just a word, or even a sentence, such as:

Samprati Hum

In English, that basically means: The present moment is my true self. I don’t need more to be complete; I am whole right now.

You can use your entire body as a tool for meditation, and you can use any element in your life too – like an emotional “heart-problem,” or a love relationship, for example.

That can start to get complicated – so let’s keep it really simple for now.

One of the best meditation tools is your very own breath.

Your breath is always with you.

It is here now. Sense your breath right now.

It has no form. It has no fixed shape.

It is inside you, and yet it is outside of you, depending on whether you are inhaling or exhaling.

It is vital for your life. It IS your life.

You can breathe consciously, or you can hold your breath, or you can breathe automatically, that is, without thinking.

All these things make the breath a wonderful tool for meditation.

Breath meditation will also help you build immunity and strengthen your body, your lungs, and breathing apparatus, even during a worldwide pandemic!

So how do we use the breath?

To begin, we simply observe it.

Watch it, and feel the breathing as it is happening.

Become absorbed in breathing.

Notice! how it feels as you breathe in. Feel the air in your nose, throat, your whole body.

Notice how it feels when you hold it for just a moment. Sence your muscle tension.

Where are you breathing from? Where is the pressure?

Let go.

Doesn’t it feel great to let go? Breathe out like a sigh from time to time. You are letting go of all the worry each time.

The anxiety is flowing away on the river. Relax deeper each time you exhale. Pay attention to the place in your body from where you are breathing.

Here’s a Useful Trick:

Place one hand on your belly, and the other hand on your chest. As you breathe, notice which hand is moving more.

You will want to breathe more from the belly than the chest, and use both belly and chest when you take a deep, deep breath.

Adults often have bad breathing habits. Look at the way babies breathe – both human and animal babies.

Their little bellies go up and down – naturally. That is the way we are designed. It is called abdominal breathing.

Try to breathe that way as often as you remember, but without forcing anything.

This method helps you to OBSERVE the breathing. The breath becomes the tool for observing you.

It becomes your whole focus.

It becomes your whole universe.

The whole universe breathes with you – In —- and out….

I am just that….

In…. and out…. I am the breath.

This is the core technique that we will use in all the sessions in this series, so spend a bit of time thinking about it and practicing it if you want to get the most benefit from your meditation.

That brings us to the final part of our talk – the essence of meditation.

Everything we have discussed so far is all about technique, and practical tips to get the most benefit from your time and energy spent meditating.

Please don’t get stuck on these practical guides. These are actually secondary things.

They are important, no doubt, but nowhere near as important as the essence of meditation itself.

Also Read: Benefits of Meditation

What is the Essence of Meditation?

In truth, and to be completely honest, that is impossible to describe in words.

It is something you will touch directly in your life, either through meditation or through a direct knowing.

Since we are using words to talk about the subject here, we can try to describe that essence.

As you listen to the following words, please know that the words themselves cannot do it justice.

Try, instead, to catch the idea behind the words, and to find the fragrance of meditation underneath the words. You could say that the essence of it is a natural state of mind.

Meditation is the mind free from division, from suffering, and from thinking and feeling. It is the source of thinking and feeling.

You could say that meditation means presence – here and now. You could also say, just as truthfully, that meditation is divine. It is very much like prayer. If that bothers you, then please throw it out.

You will be just as accurate if you say that meditation means no-mind, or, in other words, the freedom from obsessive thinking, and personal identification with those thoughts.

You can also say that meditation is a place from which you live. That is a wonderful experience.

To achieve a permanent natural, meditative state of mind means to live with abounding joy, with peace and serenity, no matter what happens.

The essence of meditation is to reset to “natural.” Meditation is a gift to humanity. Use it wisely, and may it enhance your whole life.

May it bring peace and stability to your journey, may it heal and strengthen your immune system, may it bring an inner smile to your being in the world.

Thanks for using this written guide, and best of luck with your progress.

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