How to Meditate
1. Make meditation a ritual.
A ritual will become a habit when you repeat it, and a habit of meditation is one of the best things you can do for yourself! If you like incense or candles, light some. Allocate a certain time of day to your practice, preferably the same time every day. Make it your “me time.”
2. Be Comfortable
You can meditate anywhere, but the best places are quiet and free of distractions. Don’t forget to turn off your phone!
Get comfortable. Don’t feel like you have to sit in Lotus if it’s uncomfortable for you! You don’t need to sit on the ground. A chair, couch, bed or meditation cushion are just fine, and you can take your meditation outside. It’s best to meditate sitting upright so that your breathing and circulation are free.
Do a few gentle stretches before you sit down to meditate.
Be sure you’re not sleepy, because you will drift off to sleep once you relax! Meditate when you’re fresh. Eventually the meditation will de-stress and relax you enough so that you start sleeping well again, but you may need to meditate in the morning or during the day to avoid making it a nap!
3. The next question is, eyes closed or open? You may find it easier to meditate with your eyes closed to minimize distractions. Or, find an object to focus on (but beware, the moment your eyes start wandering, so does your mind!).
It takes time to get used to sitting for longer periods of time without fidgeting, moving or doing something. Be patient with yourself!
4. Choose a point of focus. The work of altering your state of consciousness is done by choosing a singular point of focus and not allowing your mind to waver from it. You can use a mantra (a word or phrase, said either aloud or silently); a candle; a small object; meditation music; bells or chimes; or a natural sound such as a creek, the surf, or waterfall.
You can also use breath focus, which is a great point of focus because it’s repetitive, keeps you engaged, can be made loud/intense enough to drown out even the most persistent mental chatter, and it’s fascinating too! Don’t try to control your breath in any way, just observe it. Listen and feel the inhale; notice the pause; listen and feel the exhale; notice the pause; repeat… Whenever a stray thought sneaks into your awareness, just acknowledge that it did so and return your attention to your breath.
5. As you focus your mind, it becomes quieter. It takes practice to silence your mind completely but as you’ll discover, a quiet mind is a happy you. You can’t feel bad about anything if your mind isn’t generating negative thoughts! As your mind settles down, you have several options regarding your meditation:
practice stillness and “beingness” (just being, not doing)
- practice “mindfulness meditation” and learn to observe your thoughts without getting caught up in them
use this time to practice spiritual connection and converse with your Higher Self (or God, Spirit, Source, etc.).
6. Don’t get frustrated! Some days, you’ll find it easy and soothing to meditate. Other days, you’ll fight your mind the entire time. It’s okay! Just like training your muscles, you can’t expect peak performance every single time. You improve with practice, so stick with it.
7. Don’t expect anything! Your practice may be completely different from one day to the next. You may have epiphanies; or not. You may feel blissful or you may feel a release of negative emotions. Expectations often lead to frustration, so just experience your meditation and let go of any agenda or goals.
Ideally, meditate every day for 10-30 minutes. You might find it difficult sometimes to “sit and do nothing” for so long but the more you do it, the more you will appreciate the break!
The key is consistency. To master any skill, you need to practice. Just a little a day will steadily build your self-mastery and self-awareness. Enhance your meditation practice with the Silva Method, where you can learn to relax into the alpha (meditative) state at will; to use meditation as a personal growth tool; and learn many other transformational self-mastery methods like habit control and sleep management.
As your practice evolves, the periods of mental stillness will grow longer. Your inner peace and happiness will increase. You will be less prone to anxiety, worry and stress. You will become more intuitive and creative. These are not goals, but wonderful side effects of meditation. It’s best to simply sit, be… and experience!
Finally, don’t try, just do. The more you try to force yourself to meditate, the harder it is. Approach meditation with curiosity – “I wonder what will happen this time?” And just learn to observe and let whatever happens, happen. Yes, self-mastery takes effort, but the act of refocusing your mind is a step in the right direction; awareness that your butt hurts and you’re thirsty is a step in the right direction; awareness that your mind is refusing to be silenced is a step in the right direction. Gradually, you will gain mastery over yourself, so in the meantime, just DO.