I have been practicing to meditate this week. The dog and the cat think its climb on mummy time. Which it is not. I must say that sitting for 15 minutes thinking about a candle or trying not to think is a lot harder than one reads.
My 15 minutes goes as such. “This is not so bad.” … “Dexter off go lie down”…. “what am I am going to make… Shhh stop thinking” Then I sit in silence for what I think is 5 minutes but was more like 45 seconds. Then my mind races again. I start saying Ham-Sa. That worked for a bit and then back to my mind racing.
I have since Googled some methods to Ssshhh The Mind. There are many sites on the topic although this is one I like the best, I will give them a shot.
These suggestions are from Zenhabits:
- Make it a formal practice. You will only get to the next level in meditation by setting aside specific time (preferably two times a day) to be still.
- Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.
- Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.
- Meditate with Purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!
- Notice frustration creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think “hey, what am I doing here” or “why can’t I just quiet my damn mind already”. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.
- Experiment. Although many of us think of effective meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged beneath a Bonzi tree, beginners should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.
- Feel your body parts. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs). This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.
- Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles and other spiritual paraphernalia in the room to help you feel at ease.
- Read a book (or two) on meditation. Preferably an instructional guide AND one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. This will get you motivated. John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are is terrific for beginners.
- Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by NOT examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it go!
- Listen to instructional tapes and CDs.
- Generate moments of awareness during the day. Finding your breath and “being present” while not in formal practice is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation habits.
- Make sure you will not be disturbed. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not insuring peaceful practice conditions. If you have it in the back of your mind that the phone might ring, your kids might wake, or your coffee pot might whistle than you will not be able to attain a state of deep relaxation.
- Notice small adjustments. For beginning meditators, the slightest physical movements can transform a meditative practice from one of frustration to one of renewal. These adjustments may be barely noticeable to an observer, but they can mean everything for your practice.
- Use a candle. Meditating with eyes closed can be challenging for a beginner. Lighting a candle and using it as your point of focus allows you to strengthen your attention with a visual cue. This can be very powerful.
- Do NOT Stress. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it is, and just do the best you can at the time.
- Do it together. Meditating with a partner or loved one can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin!
- Meditate early in the morning. Without a doubt, early morning is an ideal time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate.
- Be Grateful at the end. Once your practice is through, spend 2-3 minutes feeling appreciative of the opportunity to practice and your mind’s ability to focus.
- Notice when your interest in meditation begins to wane. Meditation is hard work, and you will inevitably come to a point where it seemingly does not fit into the picture anymore. THIS is when you need your practice the most and I recommend you go back to the book(s) or the CD’s you listened to and become re-invigorated with the practice. Chances are that losing the ability to focus on meditation is parallel with your inability to focus in other areas of your life!
From what I can read there is no “right” way to meditate. There are suggested methods although they do not work for everyone. I have wrote down some ideas/tips I could think of. I will add any along the way. Or if you have some insight please do share it with us.
1. Find your Zen
Find as peaceful a place as you can. I side step to this is creating a Zen Zone. If you know that the kids and hubby are going to come barreling in at 6pm, and you get home at 4:30pm then schedule your time. Maybe the morning or right before bed would be best. Try out some times. Or if you are advantagous ask those who would distrube you to participate. It may be a great experience for the family. Do make sure to turn off the cell and walk away from your computer. I would suggest putting everything on Silent!
2. Do it YOUR way.
With this simple form of meditation, there are no rules for your mind to worry over. Why worry any more that we already do.
3. How Long?
When you are beginning, it is helpful to choose a regular time day, evening or whenever is best for you. A 15 minutes session can be a good start. To be aware of the time, you might like to set an alarm, or have a watch by you.
Wear comfortable clothing; make sure you are warm enough. You need to feel relaxed and safe. You might like to have a meditation blanket to feel cosy.
5. Breathe In Breathe Out
Pay attention to your breathing. Watch your breath as it enters your body, and again as it leaves. Experiment with this technique. Breathe in to a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Breathe out to a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Repeat this at your own rhythm. This focus will also help clear your mind of other thoughts. After doing the counting, you might watch your breathing, allowing yourself to breathe more deeply than perhaps you do normally. Slow deep breaths will help you to relax and let go; to become more peaceful.
6. Important Thoughts
You may have thoughts on your mind that you need to remember. Have a pad handy to write them down. Also this will help clear some space in your mind and help to relax you.
You may receive insights that you wish to keep. A journal is a good place to record ideas, inspirations or guidance about a project you are working on. I find that if I do not write down these ideas, I will forget them, and they are often really useful to me.