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Sunday, September 25, 2011

How To Meditate

If anyone told you that learning meditation is hard and you need to either have some special talents, or infinite patience to learn it, they've either tried to sell you something, or to show their superiority. People often remain confuse as how to meditate. There are many people with higher egos around and learning to avoid getting intimidated by them can be quite difficult at times.

Learning meditation can be fun, rewarding, and it can actually become a life long passion, as it has become for me, if you choose it to be.

I am still self learning meditation, and this learning will never stop. I am always amazed to find new AHA moments on my journey and new answers to some of my questions. I am still learning about doing meditation better, to become a better person overall, using meditation as my personal guide.
Learning meditation can be a fun activity, one that can be as much, or as little as you choose it to be. You can make it a full part of your life, or simply a hobby or a past-time that allows you to relax, to reduce stress and to invite more good in your life.

Relaxing Through Meditation

While many people are scared of the notion of 'meditation', but they are all well aware of - and welcoming - relaxation, I realized at some point that this is one of the best ways to teach something more about how to learn meditation using tools of the mind.
Think about it as relaxing using a particular technique.
Have you ever tried to relax before a major exam at school? Do you remember how you simply sat there, took a few deep breaths to calm down your nerves and slow down your heart beating, while focusing on your breathing and concentrating on doing the best you could during the exams?
I bet you can relate to this experience because at some point or another, we all had it.
What if I tell you that this, in fact, was an introduction to meditation? Sure, it was not a full-blown meditation session, but you were going in the right direction unconsciously.

We are all predisposed to meditation, we can all do it.

While there are tons of meditation techniques and exercises out there, many which I show on this site, there are always a few general principles that you can apply to the technique of your choice.
And this is the secret to learning meditation:

once you learn a few basic principles, you will soon realize how fun it is to try different techniques and go with the one that you mostly enjoy.

Learning Meditation - 7 Basic Principles

When you are learning to meditate you are effectively learning to relax. Regardless of what other benefits or goals you have for your meditation practice, relaxation is the primary one.
The more relaxed you are, the easier it will become to meditate. And the more you meditate, the easier it will become to relax. This is a healthy catch 22, one that is always to your advantage.
  1. You need to have your own place for meditation, one that you will use all the time, routine like.
  2. Don't try to meditate when you are feeling down, whether due to illness, extreme anger/stress/distress. First get to a rather neutral (or positive) state of mind and body, and then practice meditation.
  3. Keep a regular time for your daily practices. If you find that your mind is free from the daily worries at a particular time more than during other hours, use this time for meditating.
  4. Work with your mind instead of against it. When you start your session, let your mind finish the thought it is currently busy with.
    After a few momments, instruct your mind to stay quiet for the duration of your session, however when it starts to wander, don't admonish it. Rather gently bring it back to the task at hand, or being calm and quiet.
  5. Keep a relaxed, yet erect posture. If you sit on a chair, have your back straight and your legs firmly on the floor. If you already use one of the lotus positions, then you are already doing the right thing.
  6. Depending on the technique you have chosen to use, focus on the respective object during the entire session. This can be your breathing, a candle, a mantra, your awareness on your body, or anything that the meditation is telling you to focus on.
  7. Do not get frustrated if you feel that you haven't achieved much during your current session. Afterall, the most important thing you need to achieve is relaxation and calm, so that you can let go of stress.
    If you are more relaxed after the session than before it, you have already achieved your current goal, your current building stone. The others will build on this with time.

Learning meditation can be fun, it can be entertaining, it can be relaxing, and it can be life altering. It can be anything you want it to be.

If the notion of learning about meditation still scares you and brings you to a place where you think that you can't learn it, then replace the word withrelaxation and keep practicing your daily session. After a while you will realize that when the time for relaxation is coming, your mind will start looking forward to it and will help you instead of trying to fight you.

Suggested Reading

Beginner's Guide to Meditation by Goswami Kriyananda

Simple Meditation: A Spiritual Connection for Transforming Your Life by Curt Paul Remington

Close Your Eyes and Open Your Mind An Introduction to Spiritual Meditationby Dada Nabhaniilananda

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