Introduction To Meditation.
Begin to cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation, improved outlook, and reduced stress and anxiety by practicing meditation. Just ten minutes of meditation a day will go a long way to enhancing your overall health and well-being. To set yourself up for success, try these guidelines:
- Set aside a certain time of day, every day.
- Find a quiet place to sit – No phones, loud noises, music, etc.
- Set a timer for a set duration and stick with it.
- Commit to do your chosen practice for minimum 30 days.
You can sit in a chair, on a cushion or cross-legged on the floor. Your posture should be upright with no feeling of strain in the hips or back muscles. Avoid lying down unless it is necessary for medical reasons; this is to prevent falling asleep. Your breathing should be relaxed and in no way strained.
Simple techniques and meditations to get you started
There are many forms of meditation, so do not get discouraged. You may need to try a few different techniques before finding what works for you and your disposition. I suggest you begin your practice of meditation by doing one of the following concentration techniques. Once you are able to stay with one of these techniques for ten minutes every day for a couple of weeks, then you can move on to the mindfulness meditation for the full 30 days period. This consistency will help you establish a new habit.
Read through the instructions a few times to become familiar with the technique before you begin.
Breath Meditation #1: This meditation helps to increase your ability to concentrate. Set your timer and sit upright in a comfortable seat with eyes closed. Bring your awareness to your breathing. Slow the breath down, breathing in and out through the nose. Maintain slow deep breathing for several cycles of breath, and then allow the breath to settle into its natural rhythm. Bring the awareness to your
exhalations, not changing anything. The next time the breath flows out begin to count each exhalation. If you lose count at any time, begin again at one. If you catch yourself lost in thought, stop and return your attention to your breathing. Without judging yourself, simply begin at one as often as needed. Stay with this meditation for the predetermined duration.
Candle Gazing Meditation: This meditation is beneficial for increasing focus and concentration. Set your timer and sit upright with a candle a few feet in front of you at about eye level. Let your eyes close partially while staring at the candle flame for one full minute. Allow the eyes to tear and try to avoid blinking. Then close your eyes and concentrate on bringing the image of the flame back into focus in your mind’s eye. It is usually easy to see the flame at first, but then it will start to fade away. As the flame begins to fade away, try to draw it back into focus. Continue to focus on bringing the flame back until the image fades completely. Once this happens open the eyes, stare at the candle once again and repeat the procedure. Try to hold the image for longer periods of time. Continue this meditation for the predetermined time. Be sure to blow out the candle when you have finished your meditation.
Mindfulness Meditation: This is a powerful technique that allows you to become witness to your thoughts and emotions as they arise. Having this experiential knowledge will then allow you to use the technique when you are no longer in meditation, giving you space and perspective in your daily life. The practice: Begin with taking a simple meditative seat, with eyes closed. The attention is then brought to your breath. Become aware of the incoming and outgoing breath without making any changes – let it be as it is. Observe your breath. As thoughts arise (and they will), do not follow the thoughts, do not engage in memories of the past or fantasies of the future but rather keep the mind in the present. To keep the mind in the present you must be alert to what is. When you catch yourself engaging in a discussion in your mind, immediately stop, do not judge or chastise yourself but rather simply bring your attention back to watching the in and out breaths and allow the mind to re-settle. Part of this practice is beginning again and again, as often as is necessary. Stay with this practice for the full duration.
Labeling Thoughts: For this meditation use the same procedure as above but when you catch yourself thinking, planning, remembering, etc., you deliberately label each thought as such and let it go. The practice: When thoughts arise in your mind say to yourself – “planning” “judging” “remembering” or “fantasizing” then release the thought. Bring your attention back to your breathing and repeat the process as often as necessary. Eventually the space between the thoughts increases, the engagement with the thoughts lessens and the releasing of them is quicker. Stay with the meditation for the set duration.