The Stresshacker’s guide to meditation.
You don’t need to embrace incense and omming to get meditation into your routine!
Discipline and commitment
The way forward is to start small and stick to it!
Like exercise if you set yourself up with too big a goal you could be setting yourself up for failure. What’s your daily commitment? Can you realistically commit to THREE minutes a day? Great! Then that’s the place to start.
The next vital thing is to choose your time – morning or evening? How about both? Set a time 7am or 9pm and stick to it.
Space to breathe
Find a space to meditate in and ALWAYS meditate in the same place. Make sure it’s nice, you know, clean, uncluttered, not too hot, not too cold. If you only have one room, select a corner of the room, make it pleasant and sit there.
Make a deal with yourself
Once your time starts, close your eyes and make a deal with yourself to remain still. DON’T fidget and ignore any itches and irritations they will go away. If you have to cough, of course do so, it’s common sense to be comfortable but aim to just be. This is the training that will help it to become an automatic system.
Rinse and repeat
Repetition is the mother of all skill, as you repeat the daily meditation you’re likely to feel more in control emotionally and notice an increased ability to regulate thoughts, feelings and reactions. These are just some of the benefits.
Once you’ve got your 3 minutes a day under your belt and it feels effortless you’ll naturally extend the time to 5 minutes, then 10 and so on. In no time at all you’ll be meditating effortlessly for 30 minutes a day! a
Which Meditation style is best or right for me?
1. Breath Focus
Who’s it for? It’s particularly good if you are more kinesthetic, you can feel the breath in the nasal passages and follow its journey into the body.
This is the simplest method (taken from Power Tool 9) ‘I Just Want To Be Happy’).
Start with a regular daily practice of two or three minutes. Sit quietly where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes, and take your awareness to your nostrils. Be aware of breathing in and out through your nose for a few breaths and then Breathe in and silently count 1,2,3,4 hold your breath 1,2,3,4 breath out 1,2,3,4,5,6 pause 1,2,3,4.
Do this for 10 breaths.
Your mind is likely to wander. This is true for all of us since the nature of the mind is to be constantly moving. When this happens simply go back to ‘one’ and start again. This is a mental discipline and the ultimate aim is to get to ten breaths uninterrupted by thoughts.
Who’s it for? Mantra isn’t for everyone, however it could be very useful if you happen to be highly auditory, tuned into sound, or if you really have a poor attention span.
So which mantra? It could be something from any faith, for example the Lord’s Prayer, or it could be a Buddhist Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, or a yogi’s Om Namah Shiva, or even the repetition of a western word such as Peace, Relax, Be or I am Still.
Choose the one that works for you. Repeat it mentally and silently over and over for the duration of your mediation.
It should also be said here that some of the more ancient chants such as Om are said to be imbibed with a powerful resonance, said to bring extra benefit to the meditator. Sounds great to me!
This might be preferred choice if you tend to be more visual, or if your eyes are tired from too much computer work. Although Trataka is considered more of a Kyria (a purification process) than a meditation.
You do need to be sitting still and probably in the privacy of your own home for this one. Light a candle about two to three feet away from you at eye level. Remove contact lenses. Relax your body, sit up straight and soften your gaze to one of receiving the light into your eyes rather than staring.
As soon as you blink or your eyes water, gently close your eyes and hold the image of the candle flame in your inner eye. As soon as the image fades, open your eyes and begin again.
Develop a system so that it becomes automatic, bring your awareness to your breathing on the hour every hour for example.
The most important thing is once you have found a method that works for you stick to it. If you keep chopping and changing you’ll never establish a discipline, and that’s the key.
So, don’t take my word for it. Do it yourself. Commit to a month and see the benefits for yourself.
Please let me know how you get on, and if you have any questions remember to post them or go to the ‘Ask Sue’ tab on the website and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.
I’m erring on the side of caution here but if you’re unsure if meditation is for you or if you’ve been diagnosed with any mental illness please check with your Doctor first.