So How Do I Meditate?
I have a few techniques that I use, but the most basic is simply to sit in a chair or on the floor and focus on my breathing. I use a digital timer that I set for 10 or 15 minutes.
What does it mean to focus on your breathing? Literally, focus on each breath as it enters your nose, slowly expands your lungs, and then leaves your body. Breathe naturally. If you wish, you can tailor this to your desires, such as saying silently, "I breathe in peace; I exhale stress."
This is a simple technique but very effective. Later you can become more advanced and read about hand positions (mudras), sitting positions, etc., but they are unnecessary for a successful beginning meditation practice.
What is absolutely necessary to meditate:
- Choose a position that will respect your practice and keep you from falling asleep. Honor your body and bring integrity to your practice. Don says that "when you are in meditation, you are meeting yourself." If you were meeting someone you respect, you would likely make sure your body is clean and neat and dressed in clean clothes. You wouldn't slouch.
- Try to meditate daily. Meditation, like learning a language, isn't for the weekend warrior. It is better to have short sessions of 5-10 minutes daily than sporadic, long sessions.
Did you fall asleep?
Did you get up before your time was up?
Do you feel at least slightly better after meditation than you did before?
You're doing it right. The goal is to simply focus on your breathing, releasing thoughts as they come. Attempt to stay in a state of compassion and non-judgment.
Liora Hess is a freelance writer from Atlanta, GA who also works as a medical editor, educator, and speaker. Follow her blog atstreamofpeace.com.