• Learning to Meditate

    19 May 2015 | News | Admin
  • Learning to Meditate

    by Madisyn Taylor 

    The following is a condensed article posted on DailyOm, to read the full article please refer to DailyOm.com, "Learning to Meditate", written by Madisyn Taylor. 

    INTRODUCTION 


    My wish for you is that this course be an opportunity to begin a simple practice of self-acceptance and self-love. If the mere idea of meditating feels uncomfortable˜or scary even, that's okay. Exploring unknown territory usually does. But don't worry, you won‚t turn into a hippie, have to change your friends, or pack up and move to a commune in order to reap the benefits of your meditation practice. This is a gift you're giving yourself and nobody even needs to know you are meditating, but you just might love it so much that you will want to teach your friends and family. 

    Let's take a moment to get clear on what meditation really is. The term "meditation" can refer to any process that leads you to an inner state of relaxed awareness. There needn't be any big mystery or drama about the process itself, and there's really no right or wrong way of doing it. There are simply different techniques that can be used as tools to help you focus and quiet your mind, and we'll work with some of these as the weeks unfold. This will allow you to choose which method works best for you as a person. We have all seen the vision of the yogi sitting crossed legged wearing robes and perhaps meditating in a cave. This is not what meditation is about for most of us and starting with an unrealistic idea of what meditation is about won‚t make it an enjoyable experience for you. I still have a hard time quieting my mind and I find that my meditation practice is more fulfilling for me while I‚m in nature. Our main purpose here is to help you develop a meditation practic! e that's right for you. It'll be something you feel comfortable doing and that you're willing and able to do regularly. 

    For those of us who already have a meditation routine, we've come to depend on the way our practice enhances our lives. We've discovered an ever-present source of inner peace and wisdom from which we can now draw strength, courage, clarity and compassion. It has become easier to respond to situations from a calm and grounded place, rather than acting out old dysfunctional patterns. We're also better able to navigate our lives in alignment with our own needs and goals. By giving ourselves the space to simply be ourselves, many of the distractions from other people's agendas melt away. For many of us, meditation has become an important way to take really good care of ourselves. You wouldn‚t dream about leaving your house in the morning without bathing or brushing your teeth and this is eventually how you will feel about your practice. A morning meditation will give you the quiet confidence and the strength you will need for your day. 

    Research has linked a regular practice of meditation to reduced levels of anxiety and stress, in addition to improved immune function and a host of other health benefits. Studies have shown that the nervous system actually begins responding differently to stressful situations˜creativity flows more freely and new solutions begin to emerge. What's wonderful is that many of these advantages occur after just one session and continue evolving with regular practice. As you develop your own meditation program, you'll be able to track the benefits for yourself, from changes in your mood to improvements in your energy. Soon you will find yourself reacting from a place of centered calm rather than from your head. 

    GETTING STARTED 

    The best results of meditation are seen in those who make it a regular practice. And as with anything, practicing consistently carves out a behavioral pattern that becomes more established and easier to follow over time. Try not to be hard on yourself as you begin this process. You're the only one who can take this journey and the best place to start is right where you are. At first you may not be able to sit for more than a few minutes and that‚s ok, but soon you'll be meditating for 10, 20 or 30 minutes with ease. The idea is to get a habit started, so aim for consistency (i.e., meditating 10 minutes a day, every day) over longer sessions (i.e., meditating for a whole half hour, every once in a while). 

     

    BASIC MEDITATION GUIDE 

    Before you begin: 

    1. Put on some loose, comfortable clothing that will not bind while you are sitting. 

    2. Turn off phones, TV, radio and anything else that may interrupt your quiet time. 

    3. Prepare your meditation area (every time) before you sit to meditate. A light dusting or cleaning up of the area will set the intention. It says to the Universe, „I am ready.‰ 

    When you are ready: 

    1. If you have a candle or incense, a bell or singing bowl, use those items now. Light your candle or incense and ring your bell. (Again, these items are not necessary.) 

    2. Sit (or lie if you need to) in the position that works best for you and begin to relax. Place your hand on your knees or thighs and open them up towards the ceiling, palms heavenward. Take a giant deep breath and let it out. Acknowledge that this is now your meditation time. 

    3. Now simply sit and breathe. For the entire 10 minutes, just breathe. Make no judgment on what happens during this time. Most people will not be able to quiet their minds, and may drift into thoughts about their to-do lists, what other people should or shouldn‚t have done, and even what‚s on the menu that day. Your mind may wander and that‚s perfectly okay. As soon as you realize your mind has led you somewhere else, release it and breathe deeply. Do this every time your awareness leaves the present moment. If your mind comes up with something you cannot let drift by, write it down so you can get back to your awareness. 

    4. At the end of your session, take a couple of minutes to ground yourself.