Learning to Meditate
[Originally posted September 19, 2013 on my old site The Spirituality Seeker (now owned by someone else after I let the domain go).]
Learning to meditate can be daunting. There are so many guides and different ways to get started. Many people start meditating for stress relief, others to calm their minds, and others still because they think they have to, or should. Some get stressed out when they feel they don’t meditate right. Some get frustrated when they can’t quiet the mind chatter and get down to meditate. It’s all good. Whatever your reason is to meditate, it’s the right reason for you. If you feel that you should and it doesn’t resonate with you, then don’t. No one will force you to meditate. And no one will force you to meditate a certain way.
I know I was frustrated when I started looking into meditation. One book said you have to sit in lotus position, put your hands in a certain way, and breathe in only through your nose and out only through your mouth. That lasted for all of about ten minutes. I think I threw that book across the room.
Meditation should not be uncomfortable.
Another book told me that I had to have an absolute clear mind before I could learn to meditate. That book, I didn’t even try. Isn’t meditation suppose to teach me how to clear my mind?! Finally after many more books and online guides I found one that resonated with me. It told me that I could meditate in any position I wanted. It said I could breathe however I wanted. I could have a wandering monkey mind. Then it gave me an exercise that is the easiest, yet most hardest meditation I’ve ever done. Count down slowly from 100. Count and every time your mind wanders start back to 100. This meditation is a good starter. This meditation shows you how much your mind does wander, yet it allows you to correct it. It took me a couple of days to get to 1 without stopping. I could normally get to 60 before I had some issues and my mind wanted to go on a different direction.
Now that I had the ability to calm the wandering chatter (for the most part) I thought it was a good idea to try out other flavors of meditation. My next experiment was guided meditations. I had previously tried guided meditations, but because the nomad of my mind wouldn’t stop roaming they weren’t effective. I discovered that I really enjoy guided meditations. I can allow my mind to follow the new environment introduced to me from the speaker. Guided meditation is absolutely my favorite kind of meditation. I don’t have to count, I don’t have to worry about coming up with my own visualizations. I just have to turn on the iPod, listen, and visualize. It’s very calming.
Currently I tend to meditate while I perform self Reiki right before going to sleep. I like to put on a guided meditation, lay in bed, do the hand positions, and visualize. I think meditation adds to Reiki. Sometimes I will lay there and do a visualization on the fly. A favorite is imagining my chakras as tiny balls of light, then pouring colored lava into the balls of light to help them grow and get energized. Sometimes I’ll visualize the balls of light super tiny, then explode them out. Just the act of purposefully Reiki-ing myself is a wonderful meditation.
Steps for a good meditation practice
- Pick a time and place that works best for you.
- Don’t stress yourself out. The world isn’t going to end if you can’t meditate.
- If it isn’t working, (you can’t get comfortable, can’t calm down, keep getting disturbed, etc.) stop, come back later, and/or try a different method.
- Meditate as often as feels good for YOU.
- Play with different types of meditation and find one that resonates with you. Nothing is set in stone.
Whatever you find works for you, go with it. If it starts to get stale, or you don’t enjoy it anymore, then move on to a different method. As long as you feel better afterwards I wouldn’t worry about a thing. There is no absolute proper way to meditate, there are just many different paths. My next meditation adventure will be walking meditation.