Everyone speaks about it. The “New Age Movement” and other similar mainstream crap is full of meditation & positivity and all the fans are just obsessively trying to make a point that by meditation, everything is solved. Sure, and Dalai Lama is very right in saying that we could eliminate all of the violence in the world in one generation if every 6 years old would be taught meditation, in reality though, it is only a single puzzle piece to a large picture of path to greatness, journey of personal growth and development, at least for us, regular folks. So yes, meditation is awesome, healthy, important to do, it’s very powerful and has an infinite number of usages – but then again, it’s a single piece and without the others, you cannot even guess what the final picture is. Keep that in mind.
Before we begin, ask yourself a few questions:
• What do you expect to achieve by meditation? If it’s only a short-term result, such as “I need to calm down in a heated-up situation”, there are better, simpler tricks out there, such as controlled breathing.
• Are you ready for a commitment? Because that’s what meditation is. If you do it for a day, a week or only for a month then drop it whatsoever, it’s not worth it – sure, go ahead and try it, but the biggest results come from months, even years of constant, regular meditation.
• Can you spare an hour daily? If your days are simply filled with important things you need to focus on, it’s better to first deal with your life situation and move on when things settle down.
• Do you have an hour of privacy every day? If you’re living with parents or basically anyone, this may not be the case unless you actually agree with them on a daily time of „no-disturbance“, which is not always possible due to the complicated social world we live in. (Some people, for instance, feel ashamed that they meditate, simply because it’s abnormal for cultural and social reasons)
• Is self control an issue? Be honest with yourself. Can you do something you (at first, probably) won’t like? Especially if you’re energetic, hyperactive, very social, very busy, or an ''overthinker".
• Are you mentally healthy? Sure, meditation is even proven to have amazing effects on the mentally challenged, but if that’s the case with you, I strongly suggest you get professional help.
What do you need?
• A clean environment is something most people prefer but isn’t necessary – as while meditating, your eyes will be closed.
• No disturbance is necessary especially for beginners but is also beneficial for everyone else. Advanced users simply won’t let themselves get disturbed by anything that’s happening around them. Still, make sure your phone sounds are off and that nothing at all (that you have control over) will disturb you in your meditation.
• A timer is essential for the part of meditation where you train self-control. Later on, it will render useless, however, when starting out, you usually need that time-guidance, that feeling of “I can’t stop, not until the alarm rings”. Also, the deeper meditation is, the slower time flows – so while it may feel like 25 minutes, you’ll be extremely surprised if you decide to check and find out it was, in reality, 9 min.
• Comfort is also an important part of meditation. Get yourself to a comfortable position – sure, straightening your back to the point it feels hard and frustrating in the first 15 seconds may be of some help but it has nothing to do with what you are trying to accomplish. Lying down, sitting, standing.. whatever position you feel comfortable with is great. Just make sure you won’t fall asleep.
• Physical needs should be fulfilled, if possible. Feeling hungry, thirsty? Eat. Are you extremely tired to the point you find it painful to even think? Get some sleep. Horny? Help yourself. Something you need to urgently take care of? Go ahead. Meditation is most enjoyable when there aren’t any creepy thoughts in the back of your mind that would get you anxious.
Sit comfortably. Relax all of your muscles, or at least the ones you can – this may be tricky, as soon as you relax a muscle and focus on a different one, the first has a tendency to tense back up. You may play with this for a while until either everything is relaxed, or you don’t even notice anymore. Take a few deep, long breaths and make sure you hold each of them for a few seconds. You can use the 7-4-7 technique: breathe in for 7 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, then exhale for 7 seconds. This helps if you can’t get your mind to shut up.
Actually, do this as the first thing after sitting down. While it is very possible to meditate with eyes open, I don’t suggest it – the imagery will do the opposite of what you’re trying to do – it will create thoughts. You are trying to get rid of any thoughts whatsoever.
What you’re trying to do in meditation is to get into a state of pure awareness, consciousness, nothingness, stillness, thoughtless. In other words – you are trying to throw all the thoughts out of your mind, all the chatter and find out what remains when it’s all gone – that’s the ultimate meaning. Focus on something simple – I found that the easiest & most effective things to focus on are:
• Your own breath
• The sound of your heartbeat (you can hear it if you focus, in complete silence)
• Dropping water (not rain)
• The sound of a clock ticking
• Physical sensations (simply become aware: I am aware of how it feels to sit on this sofa. I am aware of how the air coming in and out of my nose feels on my skin. I am aware of all the sounds I hear…)
The biggest mistake people tend to make is that they try to focus really, really hard in order to get their minds clear of the thought-trains. Try to direct the thoughts, but don’t try to “overpower” them. If there’s a random thought that pops up, like “I would like a pizza… pizza is good because it has cheese on it..” just acknowledge it, then get back to whatever you were focusing on before – whether it was your breath or heartbeat. If you try too hard, you only get anxious. Just let it flow – after all, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you sit still, motionless, you can call it a meditation.
Here is a little test that can help you find out how long your meditation should be: Try the first one without a timer and try to meditate for as long as possible. When you feel you simply can’t take it anymore, open your eyes and check how long it was. If it was 8 minutes, your meditation routine should then be 10 minutes per session, until you feel you can comfortably do more. If it was 15 minutes, set 20 although I doubt you can do 15 on your first try. Accept the challenge?
Prolong your meditations regularly – that is, if you practice every day and if you don’t, all of this is probably worthless. As soon as you can meditate for 15 minutes without getting any anxiety or stress, increase to 20 and so on. Get better on each try.
The point is not to move, but don’t take that too seriously. If you are 5 minutes into the meditation and feel really still, time already stopped, but you just got a really serious, huge ITCH and it’s making you literally go crazy, just go and scratch it, or move the almost-dead leg if you need to – similar as in trying to fall asleep, you shouldn’t move but if you have to, go ahead.
After a few minutes, if you did it right, a very interesting thing happens. First of all, slowly but surely you start losing your consciousness. It feels like falling asleep but you’re still perfectly awake and aware. It feels like ceasing to exist. But, there’s another amazing thing:
You can hear the silence. You can literally hear the silence, and the longer/deeper you meditate, the louder it becomes. The outside sounds are more distant by each passing second and you feel overwhelmed in silence – it sounds like being on an airplane, sort of, but everyone describes it differently, so while I may try to communicate the feeling, you probably have to experience it for yourself in order to understand. One thing is for sure though: It is the most amazing feeling ever. Because you get completely disconnected from reality and all that remains is the state of Samadhi. Trust me when I say it feels better than any drug you have ever tried or any feeling you have ever felt.
You will probably feel refreshed after opening your eyes as if you only woke up from good, long night sleep. The biggest positive is that there’s a big chance you will realize something about yourself, your life, your current situation, whatever – and that realization will eventually lead you to take action which you wouldn’t normally take. This is how meditation can change lives.
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Source: Reddit post