Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Meditate-Sitting and Supplements

Firstly, get out of your head what you think meditation has to be. 

To me, meditation is the practice of mindfully going inside yourself to more gracefully deal with life's challenges. It does not have to be just sitting in silence, clearing your mind, and chanting ohm. It can be all those things, but it doesn't have to be. 

When I first started meditating I did it laying flat on the floor. I would use 10-15 minute guided meditations that I would find on YouTube. These guided meditations would lead me through a series of self-affirmations or help to put me in a calm state by guiding me through a meadow or forest. Doing this is a great way to start. 

I think some of us are scared of meditation because we ask ourselves what will I think about or how will I think of nothing. With a guided meditation we can just practice the art of being still with ourselves without being bogged down by what to do. 

Later I began challenging myself to just be completely alone with my thoughts. I moved from laying on the floor to a cross-legged position, supported by pillows. I quickly discovered that sitting cross legged was not comfortable for me and it would prevent me from being able to meditate for long enough. I tried sitting on my shins next, which I liked, but it quickly put my feet to sleep. I began researching meditation benches or meditation cushions. I thought the design for a simple meditation bench or kneeling bench would be easy enough to recreate, so I was able to make one with a friend with wood from a tree on his farm. 

You may also sit in a chair if that is most comfortable for you.

Moving forward I still enjoyed having music to have something continuous to focus on if my mind went astray. I pull music from YouTube videos. There are hundreds of meditation music tracks. Ones that are just tones to ones with nature sounds or classical music. Pick what makes you the most comfortable. 

Recently, I have tried to cut out music because it is one more logistical concern to worry about in the morning when I am getting read to sit. It's been working and it means that I really have nothing to fall back on. I need to stay present with my breathing and thoughts.  

You can see I've worked through a lot of transitions over the past eight months or so of meditating regularly. The KEY is to be most comfortable. If you are comfortable siting straight up and down in a chair, by all means do it. If you'd like to try purchasing a medication cushion to assist you in sitting cross-legged on the floor, that is fine too. Not having to worry about the comfort of your body during meditation, will let you get to the work that is really important. 

Lastly for the  question of how long. When I first began I was doing about 10 minutes per day. I like to do it first thing in the morning, when I first wake up and the light is still dim outside. It is usually when my mind is the most active, so that means it takes extra work to clear my mind or to focus on one particular contemplation. Since I do it in the morning before work I still only devote about 15-20 minutes to it. I make sure to get up early enough to have time for meditation, yoga, eating breakfast, and other morning routine things. Some people can do 30, 60, 90 minute meditations per day. Don't get bogged down by the amount of time.