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The Quick Guide To Meditation

Ricketts Glen State Park
Creative Commons License photo credit: jasonb42882

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. When you hear your alarm, stop – That’s it!  Enjoy the peaceful feeling.

The Benefits

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!

Published inPersonal Growth

14 Comments

  1. This is PERFECT for me. I’ve been telling myself (and fellow bloggers!) that I’m going to start meditating any day now, but it always seemed like it was a bit complicated. I didn’t feel like I had the tools or the right ideas or something… this meditation-made-simple guide is just what I needed. Thank you!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..8 ways to make yourself shine =-.

  2. Andy Andy

    This is a very useful article. I have always said that I would like to learn meditation but have never got round to it. I always thought it was a complicated process involving yoga positions and out of body experiences. By reading your article I have realised that the “de-stress” technique I have been using all my adult life is actually meditation. I just didn’t realise I was actually doing it 🙂

    Thanks for a really useful article.

  3. I’ve been mediatating on and off as well and want to make it more on! I find it easy to set my timer on my microwave. Sometimes I wonder why we struggle with something that is simple and rewarding.

    I tend to complicate things and get in my own way when it comes to meditating. Lately I’ve been doing it immediately after exercising and it’s been working.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..100 Unmaterialistic Joys for A Bold Life =-.

  4. I meditated ALOT in college too! You are so right when you say it increases your intuition. It sure did in my case. I’ll have to do this some more. 10 minutes, Good !
    I should be able to handle that daily, but knowing me, I’ll then think that I have to do 20 and on and on! But I’ll stick with 10. Thanks for your post 😀
    .-= Eden´s last blog ..Are Artist’s Introverts? =-.

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Dani – I’ve often made meditation more difficult myself. But, I found that to be consistent, it’s better to keep it simple. 🙂

    Hi Andy – Thanks for your comment. Good for you! You are already a consistent meditator! 😉 And you didn’t even know it!

    Hi Tess – I would imagine that immediately after exercising would be a good time. Since you’ve been focused on your body, your mind has wound down a little bit. Maybe I’ll try that. 🙂

    Hi Eden – Thanks for your comment. I always want to do a longer meditation too. Especially after I’ve been doing well with 10 min., but after that I always fall off! That’s why I’m just sticking with 10 min for a while. 🙂

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Christopher – We must have been typing at the same time. I just missed you. You’re welcome 🙂

  7. I have been meaning to begin meditating for a while now and never do, but with the abundance of posts about it lately, I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t a sign?

    I love what you’re doing here, Amanda, which is why there’s a little something for you on my page today when you get a chance to drop by. 🙂
    .-= Chania Girl´s last blog ..Because I’m Awe-summm … and Kreativ =-.

  8. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Chania Girl – It may be a sign from the universe 🙂

  9. Thanks for this — I appreciated the part about not judging what comes up — particularly because I think that in experiencing what you haven’t been willing to feel, you actually achieve the most growth. Sometimes I feel angry when I meditate, and if I allow that to persist I don’t find those moments of anger so troublesome in my everyday life.
    .-= Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching´s last blog ..How To Escape The “Chicken Or Egg” Mentality =-.

  10. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Chris – I also often get intense emotions while meditating. Those are often more surprising than the thoughts. These are often interesting clues to what I’m feeling in my life. Like you said, when you don’t want to pay attention to what you are feeling, it comes out somehow.

  11. Hello Amanda,

    I teach mediation for business owners and professionals. I read your blog and liked your approach to meditation. Meditation is a journey in self discovery and encourage everyone to enjoy the journey.

    Best wishes,

    Kay

  12. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Kay – Thanks for your comment. In my own life, at this point at least, I find that keeping meditation simple is one of the best things that I can do for my practice. Right now, my focus is simply on being consistent. One thing at a time, I guess. 🙂

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