I have mentioned meditation in so many posts now that I feel I should post my quick meditation guide. There is a lot of free information on how to meditate on the internet, and you can also find many books and even smartphone apps which will help you learn. But here is a quick starter-guide.
The initial goal of meditation is to quiet the internal chatter of the mind, and reach a state of mental relaxation, free from worry, anxiety and other negative emotions. Meditation lives right at the center of the Tri-Sphere. It connects our physical, mental and emotional spheres and promotes balance and good holistic health.
The process of meditation follows the same progression as human evolution, and the eGOvolution journey. It starts with the physical sphere (animal) then goes to the mental sphere (human), then finally to the emotional/spiritual sphere (superhuman).
- First you must relax physically. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Get in a comfortable position, preferably sitting with your spine straight. Rest your hands comfortably on your thighs, close your eyes and breathe slowly through your nose. Pay attention to every part of your body and allow each part to relax, adjusting slightly as needed. When you have adjusted into a comfortable relatively relaxed physical position (you should be able to get there within 5 or so breaths) you then turn you focus on the mental part. This is where the real work begins, and you will most likely struggle here for many sessions before you learn to quickly move your mental being into a state of meditation. When we close our eyes to meditate, most of us will be bombarded with a barrage of thoughts from active lives. One thought will lead to the next, and it can be quite difficult to stem the tide of all the thought patterns we have in constant motion in our minds. So we need a few tricks to help us get started on mental meditation.
- When I first close my eyes I give myself ten breaths to go one level deeper in mental relaxation. As I inhale and exhale I think “one, one” and I imagine a big bold number 1 floating towards me on the inhale and away from me on the exhale, then “two, two” and so forth. I keep my breath very natural and relaxed and keep the same rhythm ( one breath for me is about 8 seconds ). Saying and seeing the number in my mind, keeps the thought clutter away for that roughly 80 seconds, and gives me a type of self-hypnosis, where I program myself to reach a deeper level of physical and mental relaxation with each number. When I reach 10 I will have jumpstarted the process of clearing my mind by focusing it on something as uninteresting as big bold numbers.
- Next step is to simply focus on my breath. I try to identify exactly where my breath starts and focus on that point in my body. For me it is typically in my diaphragm. I imagine that there is a string attached to it which is being pulled by some universal force which moves the breath in and our of my body. An image like that is very helpful to use as an anchor any time you feel your mind begins to drift.
- I like to imagine that I am sitting on the top of a mountain looking out on snow-capped mountain tops as far as my vision goes. If you’ve had the pleasure of such a perspective in real life, you’ll know that you just take it all in in awe, without focusing on anything in particular. There is so much natural beauty in your whole field of vision that you simply relax and enjoy, knowing that you couldn’t possible absorb every detail. You may be more comfortable with a desert landscape or looking out over the ocean, if so, those will be great visualizations for your meditations. This is a great start, and if you can make it to your mountain top or desert and stay there for ten minutes without being side-tracked by thought, you should continue to do that for a couple of weeks or so, depending on how frequently you meditate.
- As you’re in your meditation space, thoughts will continue to pop up and you may go back to focusing on your breathing and any visualization you attached to it. But eventually you need to learn to not fight the thoughts. This takes some more practice, and frankly I still fail sometimes, especially if I haven’t meditated for a few days or am working on very mentally intense projects. The idea is that you recognize the thought as it presents itself and you just let it float by without letting it take root in your mind. A visual might be a cloud floating by as you sit on your mountain top. The more difficult this is for you initially, the more you need meditation in your life, So keep at it! Little by little you will get better, and meditation will become more natural for you.
- When you get really good at this, even noise won’t bother you. If you are meditating and you hear a car horn, you will of course know what that sound is and as soon as you register “car horn”, you will just let that float away with other thoughts. You wont get into things like “that sounded like a Honda, I wonder why he was honking, or maybe it was a she, naw sounded like a guy honking” etc. etc.
- Once you have a pretty good handle on the mental level of meditation you open up the gates to all kinds of wonderful emotional/spiritual goodness. If you are not a spiritual person and you cringe whenever people start talking about chakras, don’t worry, you can believe whatever you want and still reach a great level of emotional meditation. When you have reached a solid level of mental meditation, you can start to focus on concepts such as love, gratitude, compassion and joy. You fill yourself with those emotions in the open space of your meditating mind, and they will flow through your whole being with ease. You focus not on the specific scenario of love you feel for someone in particular, but rater on the feeling of love in its purest form, love for life, gratitude for life, compassion for all. It’s a pretty nice space to be in, and once you get a taste of it, you will want to revisit it daily with wonderful benefits in all aspects of your life.
It is best to try to meditate daily. Initially it is better to meditate daily for five minutes, than weekly for 45 minutes. It’s all about getting in the habit, and gradually getting better. I recommend starting with 5 minutes at night before bedtime, and then the next week increasing it by a few minutes until you reach 15-30 minutes. You will find your ideal daily meditation time, based on your rhythm. Once you get good at it you may try some longer sessions for some deeper exploration.
-Hope this inspires and helps guide you down the wonderful path of meditation.