9 Practical Meditation Tips
My meditative practice is with out the most loving and compassionate thing I have ever done for myself. Through my practice I stopped using dangerous and harmful drugs, I stopped being depressed and not genuine.
The benefits I experience to this day are more than I can list here. Science has caught on the the power of meditation and started to dissect the method to understand it better.
Meditation can be hard to get started. There can be the overwhelming fear of 'am I doing this right?', and 'I'm not strong enough to stop my mind or smart enough to make this work'. With all great tasks, you start with small obstacles, gaining experience and confidence. Below are some ways to beat the usual hang ups people experience while trying to practice.
Set A Minimum For Time Seated
Start low and keep it so for about three months. You can always go over the minimum, but keeping the base level low, we can set goals that we stick to. I would recommend two to three minutes at first. After three to four months, feel free to bump it up as small increment, five to seven minutes.
Count And Connect With Your Breath
I always start my practice by counting my breath. It gets your brain to start focusing and reveals how active your subconscious mind is. You can count your breath however you like, but it is recommended to never go over ten. After you count the breaths you start over. Continuing to count past ten splinters your focus.
Try To Not Get Frustrated
Not really the greatest sounding advice, this is hard to do at first. Meditation and other mindfulness exercises, are part of your spiritual PRACTICE. There is no perfection, only progress. the trends for you mindful and focused you are will flux (sometimes very dramatically) as it progresses. For months you will be calm, content and aware, then one day you can't count to three without thinking of ducks.
Establish A Time And Stick To It
In the morning, at night, right after work, try to find a consistent time that you practice.This pattern helps you not only track your progress more thoroughly, but also a set time helps ensure that you stick to it. If you plan to meditate 'whenever you have time' then you are likely to stop practicing or do it terribly inconsistently.
Don't Worry About 'Clearing Your Mind'
Actively resisting and trying to suppress unwanted formations only make them more powerful. Thoughts are powered in part by attention. The more you try to not think of elephants, the wider the array of elephants you see. Especially when you first start, you seem to find yourself sitting in the middle of a mental or emotional maelstrom.
Smile to the storm, smile to yourself, acknowledge any pains or desires. Smile compassionately and release all formations (I release on my exhales). You may have to do this a couple times per stubborn formations. It won't immediately disappear but immediately you will notice a lifting of 'weight' and an expansion of perspective.
Commit And Simplify
The 'how' of mediation requires experience, knowledge and spiritual discipline. At first try to simplify your goals and just meditate. Don't get caught up trying to keep a textbook styled progress, or spending more times nit picking cushions or whatever. How you still isn't the most important thing about your practice at first. You can sit in a chair, on the floor, cross legged, on your knees or whatever feels right. You aren't a monk (yet).
After a couple of sessions you will start to understand more and find what works for you. If you sit on a chair, keep in mind you are trying to be still, so no rocking chairs. Make sure your soles are connected to the Earth firmly.
Find Or Develop A Community
The Buddhists call a spiritual community a sangha. These are like minded people that are searching for answers the same as you. Together, you all can support, teach, celebrate and strengthen each other. Look around at your local community centers, yoga studios, mindfulness centers and things of that nature. Go forth with an honest, open mind.
Try A Guided Meditation
You can find these at mindfulness centers, local community centers, yoga studios, temples, and schools. If you want to try something in the comfort of your home there are many podcasts and streaming videos that offer a guiding voice to boost your session.
A lot of concentration and discipline goes into meditation. While it is a labor of love, we can scrunch our faces up and silently express negativity without meaning to. Don't be afraid to physically smile! You shouldn't try to smile the entire time as you want your face muscles to be relaxed but smile every often to 'reset' your face. I do this out of practice as well to combat my RBF.