Read this article to know more about the basics of meditation. You will also find some tips on how to meditate, specially written for those who wish to lead a heart lifestyle by starting to meditate.
Most meditations begin by sitting in a quiet place, closing the eyes, calming the mind, and focusing on the breath. But there is more to meditating than sitting quietly and breathing. When we meditate, we are essentially cultivating awareness and compassion; we are training the mind to stop being easily distracted and instead be more focused in the present moment. Using the breath as our anchor at the moment, we simply sit and gradually learn to let thoughts and feelings come and go.
Of course, it is completely normal when we start to meditate for the mind to jump all over the place. The mind’s nature is to think, so it’s going to think — meditation is not about stopping thoughts. We sit and practice to observe our thinking without getting caught up in our thoughts and emotions. We learn to tame this restlessness by developing an awareness for those moments when our attention has wandered off.
Each time we notice we are distracted, we build our awareness, and we bring our attention back to the breath. Through the process of meditation, the mind becomes more comfortable with this idea of sitting still, and we can begin to learn how to integrate the qualities experienced during meditation practice — calmness, focus, compassion, mindfulness — into the rest of our day.
Now let us focus on the words that we have mentioned above-
Focus– the main or central point of something, especially of attention or interest.
Compassion- a strong feeling of sympathy or sadness for the suffering and bad luck of others and a wish to help them.
Mindfulness- it is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of what we are and what we are doing, and overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us.
How to meditate?
Just follow these simple steps;
Step 1: Decide on a time and place that works for you.
Research shows that it is easiest to create a new habit when we do it at the “same time, same place” every day. Just do not overthink it: The best time to meditate is really whenever you can best prioritize it. And the best place to meditate? Wherever you can be comfortable and minimally distracted.
Step 2: Decide on the amount of time to meditate.
Particularly for beginners, starting with small, manageable chunks of time — for example, 3-, 5-, or 10-minute sessions — is key, so you can build up your practice and find your sweet spot. The most important thing is to decide on an amount of time that is effective, but also feels achievable so you continue to show up day after day.
Step 3: Make sure you’re sitting comfortably.
Sit with your legs and arms uncrossed, feet flat on the floor, and hands resting on your lap or by your side. Keep your back straight, but not too tense. If you need it, a small cushion or rolled-up towel can help keep your back straight.
Step 4: Decide whether you want the meditation to be guided or unguided.
Guided meditation is led by an experienced teacher — either in person at a meditation group or class or via audio or video as in numerous online applications. Guided meditation is recommended for people who are learning how to meditate. Most guided meditations follow a similar format: the teacher explains how the mind behaves during meditation, leads you through a particular meditation technique, and finishes by suggesting how to integrate this technique into your everyday life.
How to make sure you continue meditating?
Showing up for meditation day after day is essential. But how can you maintain a consistent practice with so many distractions and competing priorities? It may surprise you to learn that when it comes to meditation, frequency is more important than duration. In other words, meditating for 10 minutes a day, 7 days a week, is more beneficial than 70 minutes one day a week.
This “slow and steady” approach to building a regular practice allows your brain to learn at its own pace, how to be open and present and how to extend that awareness into your everyday life. Moreover, if we are focused on maintaining a regular, consistent, manageable practice, we will not become distracted from worrying about our progress or have to stop because we’ve overexerted ourselves.
Another thing that happens when we continue to show up for meditation day after day, is that we become increasingly more confident in the process. And, that confidence can be key on the days when meditation feels particularly challenging or difficult. The more we meditate, the more we can better understand what kind of approach is required each day. As we become more stable in our practice, we come to accept that on some days we may experience a relatively effortless practice; on other days, more effort is required. Whatever it takes, we have to be okay with it.
Raj Lakshmi Singh
1st year BA
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MakeBetterLife.)