A short article giving any starting (and experienced!) meditator reminders to help gain the most benefit from practice sessions and integration of abilities into daily living.
To gain strong foundations for all meditation practice, we're going to start with
This may sound a tall and difficult order, yet these abilities are begun with the most simple and easy steps. With experience, we learn that we can practice meditation anywhere, anytime. To gain that experience, we establish our basic abilities, and here are helps we need to remember and follow to do so.
Give yourself the gift of a routine practice time of day, for around 20 minutes**. For some its morning, others afternoon what suits your lifestyle and situation (not before bed time). Many have found that two x 20 minutes daily is most helpful.
Minimize disturbance from people, phones etc. Turn answer machine on (with sound turned off), and mobile phone off. Make sure others know you are having your quiet rest time.
Let go of expectations and wants for each practice session, and let each be as it is sometimes very busy mind, other times deep and quiet; sometimes not particularly satisfying, others like a new lease of life.
Supportive posture as habit so that your body won't quickly become stiff or painful, so that comfort of body helps mind to settle too.
Stay warm. Remembering that temperature usually drops as we relax, have what you need at the start a blanket or throw, jumper, hat, extra socks etc
Breathing, consciously, which supports every form of meditation. Some find it most helpful to rest attention on the breathing, e.g. at the nostrils, or chest; others to be aware more of the body which is breathing. The ability to bring attention to breathing / body is the touchstone of presence, choice, relaxation of body and mind and much more, in practice sessions and in daily life.
**Shift gently from meditation to usual waking state. Too quick and sudden a shift is jarring to the mind and body, usually undoing the benefits of relaxation and inner quiet gained. Let your eyes open in their own time, without effort. Deepen breath and stretch. To help this, allow a few extra minutes for your 20 minute session.
Follow your intuition about what sort of practice will be most helpful for you. Let yourself be guided by experienced teachers, in person or via recordings, trusting what feels 'right' for you.
If you have experienced other helps as a beginner and experienced - mediator, let me know and I will share your tips on this Lifepower web site.
Then integrate what you have practiced and gained from your routine sessions into your daily living, ensuring that, rather than meditation becoming stuck as a segregated 'activity', instead the benefits and your abilities permeate your whole life. Have fun, be creative in memory 'jogs': use Postits, wristwatch / mobile phone 'bleepers', others' reminders (e.g. Peter Russell's Mindful Reminders)
Cynthia Alves, Lifepower Meditation Guidance, ©2008
Rising to TOP