Meditation

Meditation

Why Meditate?

Meditation is the foundation of Buddhist practice. However, numerous scientific studies have shown that mindfulness meditation improves memory, slows aging, combats anxiety, depression and the symptoms of PTSD. It lowers blood pressure and improves our cognitive abilities. It leads to feelings of inner peace and serenity. See: Harvard University Article.

How to Meditate:

First understand what meditation is not.  It is not merely sitting in a room thinking.  Sitting quietly in a room can be a wonderfully relaxing exercise but it is not meditation.

First find a quiet, cool space. Sit comfortably with your back straight.  You do not need to worry about a certain formal position at this point. Again, back straight, breathe deeply, slowly and regularly through your nose. Hold briefly and then exhale slowly. Do this rhythmically. Focus on your breathing.  Some people like to use a candle flame or other source of focus.  

Now, comes the tricky part.  Focus, without effort, without frustration on your breathing.  When your thoughts wander gently move them back to center.  Your mind will rebel and try to think about every thing under the sun. Don’t be frustrated this is normal.  Just gently move them back as many times as necessary.  Do this for as long as it is comfortable. Ten or twenty minutes is generally sufficient.  

You are not goal oriented here. What happens happens and that is fine. Mindfulness is like pinning quicksilver under your thumb.  The harder you “try” the harder it becomes. This is a natural organic process let it happen without striving.  For the first two years of your life you lived in mindfulness. You are returning to a natural state. It gets easier and more pleasant as you practice.

Yogic concentration is an ancient technique which allows you to intercept and stop inner talking.  Meditation is a means of practicing this and also a way to calm your mind, discipline your mind and connect spiritually.

Some more tips can be found here:

Mastering One Pointed Concentration

Ten Tips for a Successful Meditation

Controlling Thought

The Bad Lama Meditation Guide

How to Meditate by Tara Branch

Meditation in EZ Mode:

If you are curious about meditation but are not ready to invest a lot of time into something you don’t really know much about here is a simple and easy meditation which takes about 8 minutes and involves no complicated techniques but is also quite effective.

  1. Prepare by stretching out your back muscles in anyway that is comfortable for you.
  2. Sit on the floor or in a chair in an easy comfortable position remembering to keep your back straight. Comfort is the key!
  3. Make a conscious effort to relax your body and your mind.
  4. Back straight and sitting comfortably, breathe deeply through your nose in a rhythmic pattern. Inhale for a few seconds slowly, hold for a second or two then exhale a bit slower still. Get a comfortable rhythm going.
  5. As you inhale visualize your lungs filling with power and peace,
  6. As you exhale visualize the stress and worry leaving your body.
  7. Do this for about four to six minutes.
  8. After you do this, lay on your back, relax every muscle and just “be” for a couple of minutes.
Additional Meditation Resources:

On my blog are two additional resource pages “Resources” and “Book Shelf”  with everything you need. 

Books, articles, guided meditation, videos showing breathing techniques even formal studies in Yoga and Buddhism.