Do you feel overwhelmed by too much information about the best meditation practices?
The hype on proper meditation makes things confusing.
Do you tell yourself you “should” meditate but cannot find the motivation?
Do you want to meditate because you desire to reap the benefits of a calm mind, but you find it difficult to fit into your life?
So many questions. Do you meditate for 10, 30, 45 minutes or an hour? Where is the best place to meditate?
“My mind wanders and I can’t control my thoughts. It is too hard to find a quiet space or the amount of time I need without interruption.”
We all have busy, stressful lives and give up because we can’t fit meditation into our schedule. There is so much fluff that practicing meditation, in itself, becomes stressful.
These are the detriments to beginning a meditation practice and can easily be overcome.
The object of meditation is not to have a mind completely empty of thought – rather impossible – but to think different, more calming thoughts besides the every-day worries and confusion. The deeper into meditation you go, the easier it is to call up this relaxed state at will. Eventually, with practice, you will find that in the middle of a stressful time, when the body is hot-wired for the stress reaction, this calm state will overcome you.
Here are three of the best meditation practices to get you started. Don’t be surprised by their simplicity.
- Rearrange your schedule so you have thirty minutes a day to spend on yourself, alone and uninterrupted. Meditation is what you make it. You can burn candles and make shrines, or you can sit in your car with a cup of coffee. It is all the same. You can leave for work earlier and stop along the way, or stop on your way home from work to unwind from the day. Or get up earlier than the rest of the house to give yourself time to relax for a few minutes without being bound by the clock.
- Acknowledge your monkey mind and allow your thoughts to stop wherever they chose. After a few minutes of this mind-stopping activity, give your mind a rest. Stop thinking. Tell yourself no more ruminating or worrying for the next ten minutes. As time goes on, it will be easier to calm your mind at command.
- At first, a timer is helpful. Use a timer that is set and forgotten, do not use a clock that needs checking. You must eliminate as many distractions as you can.
There are various approaches to meditation. Every guru and yoga master has their own practice, and there is no single, best way. Many of the suggestions for meditation are cumbersome and hard to stick with.
Meditation is not meant to be difficult, the pomp and circumstance that surrounds it are rituals designed to make the experience more meaningful.
How long do you meditate? It depends on you and your day. Most people’s attention span is about 10 minutes, but only 2 or 3 minutes will reap benefits. The longer you can relax, the better your body balances, but this is entirely up to you. No guilt. No shoulds. Just be.
Guided meditation videos or recordings are often helpful to keep your mind on track.
Here is one simple exercise you can do anywhere, anytime.
“Moon over Still Water”
Once in a quiet meditative state, imagine a full moon shining on a mountain lake. Feel the breeze, hear the sounds, become the moon, the lake. Feel the awesome quiet. The lake represents your mind. Calm and still. The moon is your life, shining brightly. Feel the sensations and relax.
Practice this, make the sessions longer, and soon you will do this simple exercise whenever you have the chance. Meditation in this way takes practice, but soon your body and mind will be begging for their nourishment. Soon all you have to do is breathe to resurrect a state of relaxation. These steps are the basis for getting your mind right, and the first steps to enlightenment.