5 tips for an easier meditation
Did you get the urge to try out meditation practice after my last article, “This is how meditation transforms your brain (and the science that proves it)“?
If that’s the case, I’m so glad!
Have you managed to find a quiet corner while on vacation?
But while I mentioned the many benefits that meditation has for your body and mind, I didn’t explain how you should, in fact, meditate!
Did you try sitting in a full lotus position?
And how did you go with all those pins and needles?
Let’s find out how to meditate so you can continue to do so comfortably and enjoyably and obtain maximum benefits from this new practice that you have (very smartly) incorporated into your routine.
1. Where to meditate
You can meditate on your rooftop, down your basement, or in your walk-in wardrobe!
The place doesn’t really matter.
What matters are the potential interruptions and distractions.
Try to remove them both.
Whatever they are.
If you have the kids at home and you know they are going to interrupt your meditation, leave it until they go to bed.
If you are waiting for a call, you can either postpone your meditation until a more appropriate time or silence the ringer on your mobile.
But if you cancel the distractions, you can meditate practically anywhere: on the beach, in the countryside, on public transport, at home, in the office …
Wherever you feel more comfortable and relaxed.
2. When to meditate
Again, it depends on you and your circumstances, but keep in mind that meditating is one of the most difficult habits to maintain.
It’s too easy to say I don’t have time today!
And today becomes tomorrow …
And tomorrow becomes the day after tomorrow …
And so on until you finally lose the habit.
That’s why I recommend you make your meditation a ritual.
If you prefer morning rituals, incorporate meditation into that process, and try to stick to them every day.
You’ll see how much you are going to miss those rituals if you have are forced to missed them one day!
If you are a night person, try meditating before going to bed. Or when you’re in bed. It’s up to you.
What really matters is that meditation becomes an important part of your routine and your daily rituals.
3. How long should you meditate for?
The duration of your meditative practice depends on you, but as Zen Master Tenkei Roshi tells us:
“Meditation is like brushing your teeth. It’s better to do it every day a few times than brush a lot, just once.”
If you find it difficult initially, limit your practice to five or ten minutes.
For it to become a habit, you need a minimum of thirty days. Later that month, you’ll find it a lot easier to stick to your new ritual.
And after that, you can progressively increase the duration of your meditation.
What happens the day you can’t meditate for whatever reason?
It’s very easy to lose a habit and it would be a shame to lose your meditation practice simply because you feel lazy about it or because you let life interfere with it!
4. What’s the ideal meditation position?
Defining the ideal position for meditation is not easy.
You probably associate meditation with the lotus position (or with a crossed legged position) and while that’s true, you don’t certainly have to limit yourself to this position.
In fact, I would recommend you meditate whichever way you feel most comfortable, as long as you keep your back straight.
Just imagine that someone is pulling a cable from the end of your head.
Because this position keeps you alert and focused on your body and on your present.
Initially, it might be difficult for you.
If you’ve already tried it, you would have noticed that keeping the body in a certain position for more than ten minutes is not easy.
But, you are bound to improve with time and practice.
So, don’t give up.
If necessary, you can use meditation cushions (zafu) that will help you prop your hips up and keep your back erect more easily.
If you still can’t find the right position, try a meditation bench (a small, slightly inclined folding stool) or a chair (either ergonomic or normal).
If you choose a chair, try not to lean on the backrest and keep the soles of your feet on the floor without lifting them up.
And what about your hands?
Place your left hand over your right with your thumbs connected and rest them on your lap or legs.
What about your eyes?
You can close them completely or keep them slightly ajar keeping your eyesight focused on the ground about a meter away.
Try to identify the option that’s most pleasant to you.
Relax your shoulders …
Start thinking about your breathing …
Start with something as simple as focusing on your breathing.
Inhale through the nose mentally saying “inhale“, and exhale with the word “exhale“.
If you prefer, count to ten with each inhale-exhale.
You will notice how your thoughts appear and try to distract you from the focus you are trying to hold on your breathing.
In fact, that’s what it’s all about.
We want you to observe what happens in your mind, without stress, without judgments, and without obsessing about leaving your mind blank.
Don’t worry if you are besieged by thoughts.
Just go back to your breathing.
Pablo D’Ors, author of Biography of Silence, explains it extremely well:
Do you feel you need a little assistance with your meditation?
That’s what I’m here for.
Get in touch and let’s review your meditative practice.
And above all, don’t ever give up!
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