Updated: May 29
This blog is the first in a series of four, which will help motivate you in unique ways as you build your meditation practice. There are really no right or wrong ways to experience the state of meditation. Adopting an approach that works for you is the ultimate goal.
If meditation is the key to happiness and greater stores of energy and concentration then why is it so elusive and difficult to do?
This is a excellent question, which my teacher answered by saying, "You're already doing it (meditation), but life is so full of distraction that you're unaware of it".
Yikes! That means to be good at meditating you have to be good at removing distractions, and doing that requires heavy lifting and that sounds like work.
The first thing we have to do when considering meditation is reconcile the fact that thoughts and distractions are not bad. By thinking these things are bad we're actually adding yet another distraction to be removed later. So, just be at ease about the subject and enjoy the ride.
Here's my unique spin on organizing a 20 minute Meditation session for yourself:
The Take Off
While 20 minutes might seem aspirational I've personally experienced that it's hard to get somewhere without committing some time to it. So, just like traveling to an interesting, new local we need time to prepare, experience and enjoy.
As you can imagine The Take Off portion of this technique is about settling into your seat and making sure you have everything you need to enjoy your trip. Siting comfortably, yet with upright attention is the kind of position you're looking for. I don't recommend that beginners sit in Lotus or use a Mudra (hand position) or tack on other body positions. These types of techniques might be distractions on your first few meditation excursions. Just settle in. But don't lie down because you might fall asleep!
Most Meditation books and Podcasts recommend focusing on your breath to get things started. A few calm, calming breathes help become aware of your breath. Specific Pranayama breathes (yogic breathing) helps your mind begin to focus inward, and that in turn begins the process of eliminating distractions.
In the next blog I'll cover specific Pranayama techniques that dramatically enhance any meditation or yoga-asana session. In the meantime you might enjoy these books about Meditation to help inspire your practice and get you closer to achieving your goal.
Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg
How to Meditate by Pema Chodron
No Self No Problem by Chris Niebauer, Ph. D.
Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright