What is meditation? What is the purpose of meditation? What’s the benefit of meditation? And how do you do it?
These are very common questions and I will attempt to answer them here for you.
Meditation involves a process, which will - with practice - take you from your everyday mind state to a connection with your higher consciousness. Your everyday mind could be described as the chatterbox mind, which we all have; there is no stillness in this mind and therefore no peace.
Meditation is a search for peace. In order to find peace, you must quieten the chatterbox mind; this is the purpose of meditation.
Most people say they meditate but actually they only sit and battle with their overactive thoughts. In my early ‘20s, I would sit in a quiet place twice daily for 30 - 40 minutes believing I was “meditating”. Looking back with more wisdom and understanding from years seeking a deeper perspective on life, I now believe I either went to sleep or was run around in circles by my monkey mind.
A more accurate description would have been to say I was attempting to meditate and wasn’t getting very far.
When you truly meditate, your awareness of everything around you is heightened. I recall “meditating” while an accident happened outside the house I was in. The accident took place 20 metres from where I sat in my “meditation”.
I was completely unaware that people needed assistance, hence I wasn’t meditating like I thought. I was stuck in a process that obviously wasn’t working. I have since learnt that when one is meditating, they are connected to something beyond their normal thoughts; they are in a state of expanded awareness, not diminished awareness as I was back in the early days and in this particular instance.
There are literally thousands of methods of meditation – what you need to do is find a process that works for you. This may take some experimentation and remember also that different methods may work better at different times of your life. I myself have found that my meditation processes have evolved from tight, structured methods to more spontaneous, simpler methods.
Here is a list of thoughts and things to do, even though there are no rules here:
1) Don’t try too hard. This is not a project - don’t approach it like you would a daily task. It works better without effort, although you will need self-discipline to make the time to do it.
2) If you are new to meditation, I would strongly advise an audio guided meditation. This will give your mind something to do and something to focus on; if you have ever closed your eyes and tried to stop your mind, you will know how hopeless that is.
3) Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed! This means turn the phone off, put the ringer on silent and tell everyone not to disturb you. Wait until you can’t be distracted or go find a quiet spot somewhere else if need be.
4) Meditation will work best if you sit upright in a comfortable position with a straight back. Lying down only works if you are well practised at it, otherwise you will just go to sleep.
5) If you are using meditation to seek clarity on a particular situation, say a small prayer right before you start and ask to be shown the right path.
6) The first part of meditation is developing the ability to focus, so whatever method you use you need to focus.
7) Always begin by concentrating on your breath: nice, long, deep breaths. Try to actually become the observer of your breathing process. You want to breathe with an awareness of the feeling of inhaling and exhaling. Breathe through your nose, then out through your mouth. Your mind will tend to wander off at first to other thoughts. Don’t worry; just bring it back to focusing on your breathing.
8) Focus your visual attention on the point between your eyes.
9) LISTEN to the silence. It is out of the silence that the peace that you seek comes.
10) Meditation is about learning to see with your eyes closed and listening to the stillness between the sounds of the world around you.
RELAX, LET IT HAPPEN, PRACTICE AND IT WILL WORK!