How to Meditate
First, meditation is not just about going to a quiet place and trying to turn off your thoughts. This type of 'cold turkey' meditation will only lead to frustration and failure. It is important to understand that mediation is a practice that is learned over time and requires the knowledge of correct breathing techniques.
Taking small steps for 5 minutes at a time and building up to 15 minutes is a good goal to begin with. Guided meditations are a great way to train your mind. Turning off all of the outside chatter and disruptive thoughts is part of the learning process; many people believe that they have failed when they simply tried to sit and not think of anything resulting in their mind becoming more active and agitated than ever. It takes time to train your mind to be quiet; be patient with yourself, and view the process as you would in learning any difficult skill that takes time.
How Can I Begin Meditating?
- Turning off the phone ringer and removing any other distractions is a good start.
- Relax with your arms and legs uncrossed and allow your eyes to close.
- Focus on your breathing and attempt to breathe in to your belly allowing your stomach muscles to relax with exhalation and expand with inhalation.
- As distracting thoughts appear, simply acknowledge the thought and let it go. Avoid chastising yourself for being distracted away from your breathing.
- Scan your body beginning with your head and neck for tenseness. Focus on each area of your body allowing it to relax from head to toe.
On the first few meditation sessions, just go for 5 minutes or so. As you continue practicing different meditation techniques you will find that falling in to meditation gets easier and your meditation becomes timeless as you enter 'the zone'. Allow yourself 6 months of daily meditation before expecting to easily fall in to a meditative state. Some days you just won't be able to relax and let go of all distractions; in these cases you should be very forgiving of yourself.
At first, meditation will seem like an annoying task, but as you master the art of meditation and 'doing nothing', you will begin to look forward to your meditations. In addition to the endless health benefits of meditation, you will notice that your whole nervous system will be rewired so that you no longer react to small stresses in your life.
Making Decisions Meditation
- Concentrate on your breathing for a couple of minutes as mentioned above
- Create a unique symbol or image of each of two courses of action you might take
- Imaging holding your unique symbols one in each hand
Take time to fully explore each course of action. Does one symbol feel heavier than the other? Is one symbol easier to visualize than the other?
Bring your hands together and clasp your finger imagining that the two symbols are joined. Does this create a new symbol or possible course of action?
End your meditation by visualizing an ideal outcome as a result of your decision.
Meditation to Release Negative Emotions
- Light a candle and concentrate on your deep belly breathing as described above for a few minutes.
- Visualize your breath carrying your negative emotions to the flame of the candle to be consumed as fuel for the fire. Continue in this manner until you cannot think of any negative thoughts.
- Allow your eyes to open and begin to focus on the flame. Notice the height of the flame, the colors in the flame, the way the flame jumps around. Continue focusing on the flame for a couple of minutes.
- While blowing the flame out, reaffirm that your negativity is also being extinguished.