This article shares a concise and accurate description of what meditation is and how to practice meditation. A clear explanation is given, the pitfalls are addressed, and directions for the process of meditation are shared. This short guide to meditation will help anyone who desires to learn meditation. Experienced meditators who are having difficulty will also find benefit in this article. Enjoy.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a state of focused awareness. When we meditate we focus our attention on some object. It can be the natural movement of our breath or the feeling of Love in our Heart. These two are the most common objects to focus on. I only teach people to meditate on either of these two objects. During meditation, pick one object – either the breath or the feeling of Love. Do not try to focus on both. Do not switch your focus during the meditation. Pick only one object and stay focused on it for the entire meditation.
In meditation, we do not try to control our thoughts. We do not try to control our breath. We only keep our attention on the object. We let our breath flow naturally.
Many thoughts will happen while we meditate. It is common. Just let the thoughts come and go. All thoughts come out of silence and they all return to silence. So just let the process be natural. Do not try to control the thoughts. Do not judge the thoughts as good or bad, desirable or undesirable. Just let the thoughts happen.
Emotions may also come up when we meditate. Certain thoughts may create memories in our mind and then we feel emotions associated with these memories. Again, do not try to suppress or control the emotions. Do not try to increase positive emotions. Instead, just continue meditating and focus on the object of your meditation (the breath or the energy of Love).
Is Love an emotion? The Love that we talk about in meditation is the experience of being at one with everything in the present moment. When we become more relaxed and at peace, we feel a natural Love arising in our heart. This Love is created naturally as we become more at peace in the present moment, without our personal effort. Emotional love will have a memory or a specific person associated with the feeling. However the “spiritual Love” will be for everyone and everything. Spiritual Love is unconditional.
How to meditate?
Meditation is a very simple practice with only a few steps.
1) Sit in a comfortable position. Have your spine straight. Do not tense your muscles too much. Do not relax your muscles too much. Just sit like you would normally and keep your spine straight.
2) Bring your attention to your breath or the area of your heart. Chose one object to focus on – either your breath or your heart. If focusing on your breath – feel the rise and fall of your chest and listen to the soft sound of the air passing into your nose. If focusing on your heart, keep your attention on the center of your chest.
3) While sitting with your spine straight, relax. Stay sitting upright and be relaxed inside. Meditation is a practice to relax the stress in your body.
4) Stay focused on your object for the entire meditation. You can meditate with your eyes open or closed. Pick what feels best for you.
During meditation, thoughts will come and go. Let your mind be natural. Emotions may come and go. Let the flow happen. Stay relaxed and focused on the object of your meditation. All thoughts come out of silence and will return to silence. All emotions comes out of stillness and will return to stillness. Let the process be natural.
5) When your time for meditation is complete, open your eyes and take a deep and relaxed breath. Your body will be very relaxed. When you feel ready, you can stand up and continue with your day.
How long to meditate for?
You can begin a meditation practice with a 5 minute meditation. As you progress you can increase your time. A typical meditation practice is 20 – 30 minutes. You can meditate once or twice a day. Typically people meditate in the morning before breakfast and in the evening after their dinner has digested in their stomach. If you desires to, you can meditate more times per day or for longer periods of time.
It is also a recommended to practice meditation when you walk. Stay alert and relaxed. Focus on your object (the breath or Love) and simply walk. With continued practice you can learn to stay in a meditative state throughout all your daily activities. This will enhance the performance of your work – you can get more done when you are focused on a single activity compared to being mentally distracted. Your happiness and quality of life will also increase.
What is the goal of meditation?
The goal of meditation is be in your “natural state”. Your natural state is a state of alert relaxation. The mind is alert, but not stressed. The body is relaxed, but not weak. When you are in your natural state, you will feel more peace and more oneness with everything. You will feel more connected to life and feel more unconditional Love.
During meditation, different energies may be experienced in your body. Experiencing these energies is not the goal of meditation. Relate to the energies in the same way you relate to your thoughts and emotions. Just let them come and go. Do not try to increase the energies. Just let the energies be natural.
Meditation will show you a state of being where you are always in peace with an alert awareness. All thoughts, emotions, energies, and objects are temporary experiences. Everything is always changing. Meditation makes us aware of the stillness and silence that is different than these changing objects. Meditation shows us the unchanging part of our self – our Awareness. Over time and with practice, more silence will be created in your mind and your thoughts will slow down and become quieter. Your mind will think more clearly. Inner stillness will also increase and your emotions will become more peaceful, balanced, and healthy.
There is nothing mystical or special about meditation. It is a very simple and normal practice that brings us more peace and love. Everyone has this natural state of peace and love as the foundation of who we are. By learning to relax our mind and focus on one object (the breath or feeling of love), we increase how much we are aware of this natural state within our self. The results are less stress, better health, increased peace, and feeling more unconditional love for everything.
Deeper changes in our mind and body will happen gradually over time as we continue our meditation practices. Our mind and body will become healthier. We will gain more happiness and peace. Be patient. Change takes time. Make meditation a daily part of your life.