I understand this feeling, because when I started doing meditation I also found it hard to do. I found it tough because I was setting unrealistic goals for myself. But anyone can do meditation, because meditation is the easiest thing to do.
Meditation doesn’t mean achieving perfect peace of mind, nor does it mean being absolutely present for the whole practice. What it means is, during the course of a 20 minute meditation session, spending a few moments being present to the moment, or present to your feelings. It’s easy, anyone can do it, and everyone can benefit from it.
Broadly speaking there are two types of meditation. The fist involves being present to the moment. In this type of meditation you focus on your breath, or on the physical sensations in your body. Simply sit or lie down in a comfortable position in a place where you wont be disturbed, set an alarm for 20 minutes, close your eyes and breathe naturally. Let your attention fall on the feeling of air passing in through your nostrils, or the feeling of your chest rising and falling.
You can also choose to scan your body with your attention, moving your attention from each toe to the next, then up your foot, up your leg, to the next leg and so on, until when you’ve scanned your entire body you resume from the start. These meditations differ subtly in their results, but they’ll each help you to relax and let go of negative feelings.
It’s important to remember that in every case your attention will be drawn away from the practice. You’ll start thinking about other things, future and past events, worries and plans. This is very natural, and happens to beginners and experienced meditators alike. When you start out you’ll likely find that your attention stays in the present moment for only the briefest of instances at a time. Learning to focus your mind has been described as like training a wild monkey, and the most important value you can cultivate is patience. Even the most experienced meditators will frequently feel the distraction of the monkey mind; it is nothing to worry about. As the mind wanders, simply bring it back to the moment – that is all it means to be successful.
The second type of meditation focuses on the emotion of love. In this meditation you bring someone you love into your mind, and focus on your feelings towards them. It could be a friend or a family member. Your goal is to achieve a state of peaceful loving emotion.
After a few minutes, bring someone into your mind who you feel neutral about – an acquaintance. Now your goal is to direct your loving emotions towards this person.
Next bring up someone who your dislike into your mind. Allow the positive loving emotions to wash away your angry feelings.
Finally hold an image of all the people in the world in your mind, and allow yourself to feel love towards everyone. This practice brings a lot of inner peace, as it trains us to let go of old negativity, and feel unconditional love for all the people in our lives. This in turn brings better relationships and greater happiness.
So there you have it, a beginner’s guide to meditation. It really is simple to meditate, and it’s been shown to bring greater happiness and improved physical health as well. When you’re mediating, be completely patient with yourself. Learn to be aware of the mind wandering, and learn to gently bring it back to the practice. Be calm and relaxed, and happiness will surely follow
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A book I wrote…
Jack Kerouac"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."