Meditation has been in existence for over thousands of years and is practiced in cultures all over the world. Meditation methods might vary amongst cultures all over the world, but there is a consistent belief that meditation is an important gateway to spiritual development, self- discovery and self- mastery. I have always heard a lot about meditation but had no idea how to meditate until I was formally introduced to it by my yoga instructor. I started with sessions of guided meditation and eventually went on to practice on my own. Eversince I started my practice, my life has never been the same. Meditation has been my source of energy, comforter and a place I go to find solution to problems. Consistent meditating has provided me with answers to questions which I have pondered upon for years and years. Now, lets tak about the tips which has helped me during my early days of meditation.
Set your intention– setting of intention means to have a plan of what you want to achieve in your meditation practice. It is also the reason why you have decided to meditate. People meditate for different reasons such as trying to find answers to certain questions, trying to jumpstart their creative mind or getting to know them selves. People also practice meditation to quieten their mind especially if they have a restless (monkey) mind or as a means of finding inner peace. Intention setting is very important in meditation because when our mind wanders in the midst of a meditation session, it is the intention which has been set at the beginning that is used to bring the mind back to reality and to the present moment.
Pick a comfortable space– before you begin your practice seek out a place that you find most comfortable. Ensure your space is very clean because the hygiene level of our surroundings plays a great role on our mental wellness. Another thing is to pay attention to how your space smells. Personally,I find that scents can help recall certain feelings and emotions. I usually like to burn some lemon essential oil or burn some oud/Bukhur (incense which is burned in the form of scented chips in most Arab countries). I find that meditating with scents brings me immense peace, tranquility and helps deepen my concentration.
Get comfortable– meditation requires that we pay attention to our thoughts while being still, thus we need to find a very comfortable position in order to reap all the essential benefits of our practice. I do sit on a yoga block, if i am meditating for a few minutes, but I would suggest you sit on a cushion or a pillow if you will meditating for a longer period of time so as to avoid back pain or bum pain. If you find that sitting up with a straight back is uncomfortabe, you could sit by a wall or lay down in a comfortable position.
Be still-Being still is a core aspect of meditation. Being still is to transcend every external stimulus and to focus on what is going on within you and immerse yourself in the now. When I first started my meditation practice, I found it a bit challenging to sit still but with constant practice, things began to get better. With frequent meditation practice, I have learned to find calmness in difficult moments and be less reactive in unfavourable situations. Once you cultivate physical stillness, you will attain inner stillness.
Be mindful of your breath– having a good control and awareness of the breath (prana) during a meditation practice is one of the ways to bring back the mind when it wanders during your practice. Being aware of one’s breath is being aware of the present moment which is where true happiness resides. Buddha taught that focusing our attention on our breath is a fundamental meditation technique. He said “Being sensitive to the whole body, the yogi breathes in; being sensitive to the whole body, the yogi breathes out”. So, never let a moment pass by without breathing.
Choose a focal point– For an effective meditation practice you need to have a focal point (drishti). Some people prefer to have their eyes closed during meditation while others might prefer to keep their eyes focused at an object while maintaining a soft gaze. The key to having a focal point is to limit the wandering of the eyes which could eventally lead to the mind not being still. Having a focal point during our meditation helps bring our whole being and senses into the now which helps us deepen our practice. If you prefer to focus on an object, I would suggest you focus on an unmoving object. Some people do prefer to focus on candle flame or gaze at their nose tip which a great way to find focus. It is usually advised that if you are in an environment which you are unsure of your safety, it is better to meditate with your eyes open.
“Once you have tasted meditation,it is impossible to be in any misery. Bliss becomes innevitable”- Osho