Are You Ready to Meditate for the First Time?
As we discussed in Step 10: The Importance of Meditation, learning how to concentrate the mind is crucial to building the mental strength necessary to understand the Universal Truths and to find lasting inner peace.
Those unfamiliar or new to Buddhism will likely be skeptical of the powers of meditation.
At first, you may not believe in sitting meditation. You may think that just sitting with your eyes closed is a colossal waste of time.
You may think to yourself, “Why should I bother?” or “I like Buddhism but I’m going to skip the meditation part.”
If you think like this then it is becomes you don’t yet understand the reason and purpose behind meditation.
However, if you put effort and diligence into your practice of Buddhism, then you will come to see that sitting meditation is a enormously powerful and essential to your quest for inner peace.
Meditation shouldn’t be a chore.
It should be something that is naturally appealing to us because it fills us with joy and inspiration. Meditation shouldn’t be something that we have to force ourselves to do with gritted teeth and clenched fists.
If this describes you, then you still holding on to your ego and not willing to relax and let go. If you have to force yourself to meditate, then you are not ready to begin meditation.
Put another way, meditation is like love – it isn’t something that can be forced.
Are you mentally healthy enough to mediate?
As we mentioned in Step 10: Meditation, if you suffer from a problem like depression, irrational fears or schizophrenia, then you should seek professional help before you take up meditation.
However, if you are able and willing to start meditating, Buddhist experts recommend that you develop a profound sense of urgency in your meditation practice.
Developing such an attitude is necessary to increase your chances of forming a successful meditation habit.
What is the best medication method?
There are many different methods and forms of meditation. They vary based on posture, duration, and but they all will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
As we discussed in Step 10: The Importance of Meditation, meditation is all about learning how to concentrate your mind. So to meditate you can simply focus on any physical object such as a candle flame, a picture, a flower or even use your imagination to create the object mentally.
In truth, it doesn’t matter when or where you practice.
Whether it’s while sitting, lying down or walking, just do it. However for the beginner, it’s recommend to start out with the focused breathing method discussed further below.
Once you learn how to put your mind to rest without distraction, then you can focus on Buddhist concepts such as impermanence and loving-kindness.
Where should you mediate?
You should find a quiet, relatively secluded place to mediate. A
quiet place that is away from others gives us the opportunity to train with fewer distractions. We should keep in that that no matter how beautiful or peaceful a physical setting is, it is meaningless if our minds are not calm.
In reality, all places are peaceful – if some places seem distracting, then it is because our minds are not at peace.
How long and how often should you mediate for?
When you are first starting out, you’ll want to establish a reasonable time goal.
In fact, you don’t want to over-reach yourself. You’ll want to build up your meditation time gradually.
If you meditate with too much energy or for too long based on your skill level, you’ll exhaust yourself and impede your progress.
You’ll want to begin meditating for a maximum of 15 minutes every day. Although starting out with just minute or two of meditation is a perfectly fine place to begin as well.
If you want to see results, you’ll have to meditate often and you’ll have to meditate in a diligent and focused manner. If you meditate for a short period every few weeks or every few months, then your results are guaranteed to be poor.
After a few weeks of daily meditation, you should start to notice that meditating becomes easier and your concentration gets better.
Once you become comfortable and consistent in your meditation frequency, you’ll want to build up to longer durations.
To do this, simply extend your meditation time by 5 minutes each week until you are meditating for about 30 minutes each day.
What are the step-by-step instructions for breathing mediation?
To begin the simple breathing meditation technique (“mindfulness of breathing”), take the following steps.
First, sit or lie down in a comfortable but not too comfortable location.
Next, close your eyes and breathe naturally.
You should focus on how your body (nose, mouth, chest and abdomen) moves with each breath you take in and out. Try not to let your mind wander away this focus. Say to yourself, “Now I will let go of all my burdens and concerns.”
Be at ease and don’t think about anything. If your mind wanders, return its focus to your breathing.
The goal is to get the mind to completely let go of the outside world and simply know the air entering and leaving.
There’s no need to think of anything special, just concentrate on this simple task while having continuous presence of mind.
There’s nothing more to do, just breath in and out. Soon the mind becomes peaceful and the breath becomes refined.
Why should we breathe normally while we meditate?
We should breathe normally.
If we force our breath to be too long or too short, we’re not balanced, and the mind won’t become peaceful. When we breathe in, simply take note that the beginning of the breath is at the nose tip.
Then note that the middle of the breath is at the chest and the end of the breath at the abdomen.
This is the path of the breath.
We take note of these three points to make the mind firm, to limit mental activity so that mindfulness and self-awareness can easily arise.
When our attention settles on these three points (nose/mouth, chest and abdomen), we can let them go and note the in and out breathing, concentrating solely at the nose tip or the upper lip, where the air passes on its in and out passage.
Why should we close our eyes while we meditate?
In this sitting or lying meditation technique, you should keep your eyes closed so that you aren’t distracted by looking at different things.
Meditation is all about observing and knowing your own mind. By closing your eyes, your attention will naturally focus inwards towards the mind.
What is kangaroo meditation?
Be careful that you don’t make the beginner mistake of engaging in ‘kangaroo meditation.’ This means that you should pick a simple meditation technique and stick with it.
Some people fall into the bad habit of going to one teacher and doing that meditation technique for a while.
Next they’ll read something in a magazine or book and decide to try that technique.
Then a week later, a famous meditation teacher will visit their town and so they to incorporate some of those ideas into their practice.
If we jump around like a kangaroo from one teacher to another or from one meditation technique to another, then we will become hopelessly confused.