“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama
A lot has been written about meditation – how to do it, it’s benefits, it’s history. Today I wanted to share with you a quick guide to mediation based on my own simple practice.
I first learned to meditate in college from one of my professors. He had set up a meditation room in one of the dorms and every week a small group would meet to practice. This was about 8-9 years ago now, and I have been practicing off and on (I’d like to make it more “on”) for that amount of time.
How To Meditate
For a basic mindfulness meditation here’s what to do:
- Find a place that is quiet and still – It would be wonderful to have a “meditation room,” but, hell, I live in a 2 bedroom apartment. Frankly, quiet and still is sometimes a little difficult. If that’s the same for you, find a place that is mostly quiet and still. But you do need to be alone.
- Sit in a comfortable, but upright, position – When I first learned how to practice, I would sit in a formal posture, and we had different props to help us do this. But now I simply sit in a chair in my bedroom. I think this is fine.
- Set an alarm for the amount of time you want to sit – This way you don’t have to worry about when you are done.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths – When you first sit down, you will probably feel harried and your breath may feel shallow. Take a few breaths where you exhale all the air you have and inhale a large breath. That will make you feel more centered.
- Focus your attention on your breath – Just breathe normally and pay attention to your breath. Don’t worry about “clearing” your mind. You will have thoughts (and feelings) come up. Notice your thoughts and then gently bring your attention back to your breath. No judging allowed! Don’t get angry or upset with yourself for having thoughts. Just expect you will have them, but be committed to focusing your attention back on your breath when you notice them.
- When you hear your alarm, stop – That’s it! Enjoy the peaceful feeling.
In my own life, I find several benefits to meditation:
- Increased intuition – I find it easier to follow intuitive hunches. I don’t feel quite so foggy.
- Increased ability to limit distractions in my daily life – Practicing bringing my attention back to my breath carries over to my life where I can bring my attention back to a “focal point” when there are numerous distractions.
- Increased awareness of thoughts and feelings – Noticing the thoughts and feelings that come up during meditation makes me aware of patterns in my life.
- Relaxation – The pleasure of silence and stillness is one that is unusual for most people. I love the feeling of simply sitting still and not doing anything.
Make it Simple for Yourself
We all have many things in our lives that compete for our attention. It can be difficult setting aside a time and place to meditate. Just make it simple on yourself.
- Practice for a short amount of time – You don’t need an hour. I’m trying to be consistent with 10 minutes daily.
- Just be consistent – Being consistent is very important (otherwise you’ll find yourself drifting from your practice). Pick a time limit – 5 min, 10min, maybe 20min that you can be consistent with.
- Find a peaceful place – You may have to be a little creative. You need quiet and solitude, but little else. A chair may be helpful, although you could sit on the floor too.
What are your experiences with meditation? Any other tips for a simple practice you can be consistent with? Share in the comments! Thanks!