I have to admit that it took years for me to get around to the point where I could start practicing meditation. I wish that I had started practicing sooner. Now that I regularly practice meditation, I cannot get enough of it, and it has become an important part of my daily routine. For me, I see meditation as having a personal relationship with yourself. I also see it as a way to rid the mind of personal chatter. I do not want to say that I space out and let my mind go totally blank. Any time I practice meditation, thoughts constantly creep up on me. When this happens, I have, over time, learned how to focus my attention back to the present moment. Like exercise, meditation is a work in progress. Some days after a session, I feel like I am on top of the world, but there are also days when I am just happy to be done with the session. I would never give up on it altogether; I just come back the next day to start the session all over again. My philosophy is, “If you can breathe, you can meditate.”
Below are a few Questions & Answers that will provide a more basic overview of meditation.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Common benefits of meditation include:
- Sense of inner peace
- Pure joy
- Deeper self-knowledge and understanding
- Emotional balance
Do I need to sit with my legs crossed and eyes closed? What is the correct posture for meditation?
There is no one correct way to sit while meditating. You can sit on the floor, or in a chair or anywhere you can stay comfortable. Focus on keeping your back and neck straight, with your chin slightly down, feet on the ground and arms comfortably positioned on your knees or thighs. This will allow you to breathe comfortably and inhale fully. I would not recommend meditating while lying down for beginners, because of the high likelihood of falling asleep.
Where should I meditate?
Pick a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. It is helpful to designate a specific place, purely for the purpose of meditation.
What should I wear while meditating?
Comfortable, soft clothing is preferred. Depending on your posture and how you are sitting, loose-fitting or stretchy fabric may be more comfortable when sitting for an extended period of time.
How long should I meditate for?
For starters, begin meditating only for about five to 10 minutes. As you continue to practice, you will be able to meditate longer. Ideally, you should meditate at the same time each day. It is a good idea to experiment and find the most suitable and logical time for you.
Are there religious implications to meditation? Is meditation a religion?
Meditation is a tool, a science and an art. All religions encourage and promote meditative practice, but they do not refer to these practices as meditation. One does not have to worship or believe in any higher power in order to meditate, because the experience is highly personal and experiential. You do not have to believe that meditation can bring you love and compassion. You can experience this for yourself, firsthand.
Should I meditate with my eyes closed or open?
Here also, I suggest trying both and seeing which one is the most comfortable for you.