In the previous articles we hope that you now understand a bit more about the reasoning behind meditation, and you can clearly see what the benefits are.
Now, we are ready to learn how to meditate. We’ll talk about many of the different techniques that are crucial to a successful meditation practice.
Some techniques you can learn through this article, others though, it would be good to have a trained and experienced instructor to help you to learn more specific techniques to help you increase your potential for progress more rapidly.
We suggest starting with some of the simpler forms of meditation, like those listed here, and then working your way into more complex ones. You’ll find that this allows you to be more successful with the more involved meditation exercises as well.
A Word Of Caution
As you begin meditation, you should realize that the process can bring up old feelings, thoughts and even traumatic events that happened in your past. If you have repressed memories or otherwise are psychologically affected by meditation, don’t give up on it.
You should work with a skilled instructor though to work through these problems so that meditation can be successful for you.
Meditation may not be for you if you are a person that is paranoid, have problems with delusions or are facing high levels of anxiety to the point of not being able to function properly. These individuals often find that meditation can be helpful, but only when under guidance from their doctors. Those that have psychotic episodes of any sort should work with their meditation specialist first and foremost before starting their own meditation
Those that are interested in meditation but are worried about what could happen during meditation should insure that they have a skilled meditation specialist to help them through the first few episodes.
A Bit Of Meditation Background
Meditation is an art form that has come down from all types of cultures and from ancient civilizations. Yet, each form comes from its own place, making it a bit unique from others.
One thing that you will notice about meditation is its ability to change with the culture and therefore you’ll find various names for some of the techniques and styles that you find. In addition, you will find countless religious or mystical applications to meditation as well.
As you move through meditation, realize that each aspect is different in where it is from and how it is used, yet all strive to offer the same end result to you.
For example, in ancient Christian training of the spirit, meditation is the process of thinking with a good amount of concentration on a topic. Yet, in Eastern meditation, meditation doesn’t have any such meaning. Instead, you are doing the opposite of thinking about a topic.
The goal of meditation in this form is to become detached; to pull away from your thoughts and then allow the silence to open up to you. When this happens, your mind becomes quiet. In Eastern meditation, this is called the relaxation response that your body presents. Yet, in Christian mystical practices, it is called contemplation.
Activities For Meditation
As we work through meditation, it is important to find something to use as your focus or your tool to enter into a meditation experience. There are many different tools that you can use. The best things to do are those that allow you to relax, stay still and to have some passive amount of attention paid to the object.
Here are some examples:
Relaxing comfortably on the couch listening to soft music. Lying down is generally more beneficial than sitting up because it allows all of your muscles to relax.
Prayer, probably the oldest and most profoundly used tool in meditation is still one of the best tools to use to meditate with. Prayer allows you to focus and helps you to concentrate. You are quiet and still, generally. It is the most commonly used meditation stance.
A fire can be a wonderful meditation tool as well. Sitting quietly by the fire, gauzing into it is alluring and often times allow a person to completely become memorized. For meditation purposes, a fireside meditation can be the perfect location, assuming you are safe of course.
Focusing your attention on any single object can be beneficial as well. Often times, this can be on anything that’s in the room where it’s quiet and open enough to relax. You can do this with anything in the room, a person, a scene or even just the atmosphere of the room.
In meditation, the goal is to find something to meditate on that allows you to focus, quietly and still, on it. Anything that provides this can work for you.
How to Meditate – Meditation for Beginners Video
Get Yourself Ready For Meditation
Now that you have a basic idea of what goes into meditation, you can provide yourself with the necessary tools to get started. We will get into that a bit more in just a minute. Yet, before you do this, ask yourself a couple of questions.
Are you able to fully experience meditation because you are open to the potential benefits it can provide to you?
Are you able to have someone to watch over you during your first sessions, or perhaps work with you through them, in order to insure that you do not have any type of problem during one?
Do you have a partner that may like to learn to meditate with you? This can allow you to better experience the process.
Now, you are ready to dive into meditation. First, ready your mind for the benefits that it can offer you. Skeptics needs to stay behind, now.
Best Meditation Practices
Now that you have a bit of background on meditation you think you can sit down and completely get into it, right? It’s not quite that easy. Nevertheless, the process can be broken down to allow anyone to fully learn it.
To perform meditation, there are several key elements that must be taken into consideration prior to getting started. If and when you accomplish these tasks, you’ll be in a better place to actually meditate to the highest possible level of consciousness.
There are four big things to consider.
First, you need to have the right attitude. For that, you need what is called a passive attitude. This attitude allows for the right experience because it takes away some of the lesser and often negative aspects that you may have towards meditation.
Attitude isn’t everything, though. The next element that you need is the right location. The best location for meditation is one that is quiet and relaxing to you. Whatever it takes to get into the right setting, make it happen.
Next, you need the right physical posture. Your body must be in the right stage so that you are both comfortable and relaxed to the level that meditation requires. When you enter this stage, meditation is easier to accomplish.
Finally, you need something to meditate on. As we’ve already discussed, there is importance in what this is as it should be something that is relaxing and something that allows you to remain still and quiet while meditating with that element.
Now, we’ll go into detail about each of these aspects. Each is a very important part to the meditation process.
First, we need to help you to find the right location to meditate. As you can probably imagine, you need a location that is quiet and calm. If you wish to experience meditation, being in the correct surroundings will make all of the difference to you.
The best locations for you to select are those that will allow not only your mind to relax but also your body’s muscles. This is generally done in a sitting or a lying position, so make sure that the location you choose offers that.
The location should be one that does not offer many distractions. This is crucial to the ability to filter these things out of your mind. Those that are just starting to learn meditation need the least distractions possible. Once you hone your skills, though, you’ll be able to meditate is more busy locations including in public locations where you can’t control the distraction and noise levels. First, though, look for quiet!
The Right Position
Just like the right location, being in the right position for meditation is crucial. Actually, what we are looking for here is the right posture for your body that provides for the best abilities to meditate.
The posture in which your body is in is very much a role player in the type of experience that you have. This is believed in many forms of alternative medicine and wellness. In Yoga, there are a number of postures performed to get the desired results.
If you are practicing Kum Ney, which is a type of Islamic prayer, there are postures beneficial here. In Buddhist religious ceremonies, the posture of the body is very critical to the experience that the individual has in the prayer that they lead.
One of the most important elements in maintaining your posture is to keep your spine straight. Although there is no proof medically speaking, it is believed that when the spine is correctly aligned, in a straight line, which it helps to benefit the state of mind that you are in.
If you have a problem with your spine and this is not comfortable for you, do not insist on it. Most individuals will experience some discomfort during their first few experiences with this type of straightening of the back. For most, this will go away after you get used to it. If it is pain, though, don’t force yourself to do this.
You may be tempted to meditate in a lying down position. Although this position does work, it often causes individuals that are new to meditation to fall asleep. Therefore, unless you know that you can refrain from sleeping; try to use the sitting up position.
The semi poised posture is another choice. In a semi poised posture, you are not sitting straight up and you are not lying down flat. You are reclining to a point. This is often done by those that can’t sit well straight up. It can be done on your sofa for additional comfort. Make sure that your head is supported in this position. You should not put yourself in a position that allows you to fall asleep, though.
The most common and the most beneficial type of posture is that of poised. The poised posture is one in which the back and spine is upright and straight, but is not rigidly so. The reasoning behind this benefit is actually important to understand.
When you are in the poised posture, your body is alert. Your state of mind is that of being aware and poised, ready for attention. By keeping your back straight, you are keeping your mind alert.
Another option is that of the lotus posture. This is actually the most common and well liked posture in the Eastern forms of meditation. In this position, you will sit with your legs crossed and the back and spine in a vertical line. Your legs are crossed with the feet placed on the thighs.
The problem with the lotus posture is that it can be somewhat painful for those that aren’t flexible. It can be something learned and even mastered after a few tries.
There are other postures that can be used as well. If you would like to learn a posture that allows you to sit in a specific position, look towards your meditation guide to help you to find one that works for you.
Passiveness In Your Attitude
The next key ingredient in meditation is your attitude. Often, the attitude that is most commonly required and talked about is that of poised awareness. Your attitude is probably the most important element in this entire process. It is called poised awareness because that’s just what you are. You are relaxed but alert in such a way that is the perfect balance between the two.
When you enter this type of awareness, you notice what is happening around you but you are not focusing on it. You are casually aware of these things and yet you are detached from them.
When new thoughts enter your mind, you must let them just pass through, knowing that they have come but not caring much about them. As you gaze at your meditation object, you’ll want to allow your mind the ability to notice what is happening around you.
But, when your mind wanders away and you begin to add additional thoughts onto that original one, developing an interest in them, come back to that meditation object and readdress your methods of entering into meditation.
When you learn to keep your mind focused and relaxed, you can realize that your mind has gone off into another direction and bring it back to where we want it to be for meditation.
When you enter poised awareness, you will at first need to fight to stay there. Yet, over time, you’ll find yourself being able to stay in focus throughout your meditation experience. You don’t have to fight it as much.
A passive attitude is one in which your mind can notice that there are other thoughts passing through, but that stays relaxed and doesn’t focus on those thoughts.
When you can do this, you’ll be able to notice but not react to those distractions that come your way, therefore allowing your body and mind to enter into meditation easier.