Meditation is very important, not only for the mind, but also the body. It helps relieve the body of stress, and clears the mind of daily problems. You will find that by meditating a few days a week you are more relaxed and less exhausted. People who have short tempers have found meditation easier on their families and friends as their "fuse" is much longer. Science has proven an overall health benefit for people. It’s not just for Yoga, and you don’t have to sit Indian style and hum when you do it either.
Find your Favorite spot, where you feel safe and free of distractions. This could be at your home, or in a park. Turn off all phones, radios, TV, etc.
Even if you are a natural at meditation, I would advise you not doing it while laying down in bed - it often leads to falling asleep.
Some people prefer to listen to music, however I find it distracting so I have nothing but natural sounds around me. I feel any distractions will cause loss of information. So if this is your first time trying to meditate, please try with nothing but the sound of nature within the place you are using. However, if you feel the need of music, then use it - however I ask you try first without any distractions and find your balance within that.
Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out, while clearing your mind and releasing stress from your body. Keep doing this over and over for several minutes. You’ll soon find yourself completely relaxed . If this is the first time doing this for you, I advise you to do it 15 mins every day, until it becomes easier and easier for you to get into this state. It does take time to become comfortable doing it and that is the main reason why I advise starting by meditating every day for 15 minutes. Understand that during this state, you are fully aware of your surroundings and, if needed, can get out of this state quicker then the others we will be discussing later on.
For some people this is as easy as taking a few deep breaths, and they are there. However I find that there are others who feel they just can’t seem to do it. They have tried and failed more times then they can remember. Either they fall sleep, or their mind is full of problems and their thoughts carry them away from it.
I had a friend for months who I tried to teach to mediate. She would fall sleep each time she tried. She read books on it, did research on it and even spent money to try and learn. She kept finding herself frustrated and running out of money. She thought nothing would work. I knew if I couldn’t teach her, then all hope was lost and I had no business teaching others.
Her first problem was she always tried before going to bed. She had a daughter and found it hard to do it at any time. So we arranged for Grandma to have her daughter. The 1st attempt , we tried with her sitting up in her favorite chair . Within 10 min she was asleep and I had to wake her up. It wasn’t the last time this would happen. It seemed the harder I tried the louder she snored!
After about 6 months of this I realized I had done everything but give up. I had tried everything I could think of. As we talked about where to go next, she explained to me that when she went to sleep she did have dreams, and that those dreams were very helpful.
She was very pleased with everything we had done and was ready to leave it as it was. Truly after that much time you would have thought I would have given up, but I didn’t .. I wasn’t giving up yet. I was determined to get her into a meditation state without falling asleep. It was then that I realized that she was getting into the meditation state, she was just getting there and then falling sleep - which gave me a new goal. I had to come up with a way to get into the meditation state and keep her there without her snoring.
If this is your problem with meditation, this is what we did to help her: As she felt herself falling asleep she would get up. At first I would have to time her, to see how long it took before she fell asleep. It usually took only about 8-10 minutes, but after a few weeks she found herself standing in meditation and not falling asleep longer and longer.
Today she can go in and out of mediation with no trouble. As I write this she can go into meditation for about an hour. She has found it easier and easier and more benefit from it more then her dreams (as she remember everything better). When you feel your about to fall sleep then stop yourself and get up. Having a friend help at first if needed. After doing this for about 3 months, you should be able to go longer and longer without falling asleep. The key is, don’t give up. Everybody is different and will find it very hard at first, but keep with it. You’ll get there.
Now, if you are the type of person who tries and tries, but cant clear your mind of the daily problems - for example, the kids need to be picked up, dinner needs to be cooked, I have three appointments tomorrow, the dog needs to be taken out, I simply don’t have the time or energy to even try, Etc. You are no different then I was when I first started to meditate and you will benefit from this much more when you give it a try.
I used to be that person who would stop and peep through one eye and look at the clock to be sure it’s not getting late, What if someone walks in? What if something happens and I turned off my phone? Asking myself, am I there yet, did I do it?
After 2 hours of trying I just simply gave up and said this isn’t for me. What I didn’t know was I really needed it more then I originally thought. After a few weeks, I tried again. Once I really started doing it, I found myself truly wanting to do it more and more. It really helped clear my mind and I was able to see things more clearly.
My family and friends were able to see a change in me for the better after just the first time, which made me want to do it all the more. This is my secret. I am a visual person. I often have to visualize something to make it work. For instance, if my mind is going a million miles a hour, I will visual a box with a lid - for some reason there is always a bow on the top.
One by one I clear my thoughts this way. Every thought, I place in the box and put the lid on it. And slowly one by one those thoughts are gone. I found I didn’t need to look at the clock, because it was in the box too.
You could use a broom and sweep your thoughts into the box as well. You're not throwing them away, you are simply putting them aside for now. Focus on your breathing. If a thought comes in your mind, put it in the box and breath deeply. Soon you will find you're doing nothing but focusing on your breathing. In and Out. Try doing this for 15 minutes everyday after you clear your mind,
I always allow 30-45 minutes for complete meditation because I know it will take time to clear thoughts. In time you will find that your mind is easily cleared and you no longer need the box, or the broom.
The main thing for you to do is not give up. It’s very important for you to be able to do this and necessary moving forward with some of the classes at Mystic Lantern. I am only asking you to really try and not give up. It took my friend 8 months, but today she can do it without a problem. The benefits are worth the hassle I assure you.
Do you have any hints to help others? Maybe you're in need of advice? I'd love to hear from you!