The Ultimate Guide to The Simple Ways to Meditate
“Half an hour’s meditation is essential except when you are very busy. Then, a full hour is needed.” –Francis de Sales
Meditation is one of those things in life that benefits you the most when you want to do it the least. It is a practice that helps to calm a racing mind, while it refreshes and refuels your passion and joy. It opens you up to a more conscious awareness of your spirituality. Sometimes, it presents answers to problems you thought were unsolvable. It’s free, and the more you do it, the more time you seem to have.
So why doesn’t everybody meditate?
One reason is that there is some confusion about what meditation is, and many people don’t realize there are a number of meditation techniques. There is a stereotype of meditation that involves people in robes sitting for long painful hours on their knees, but that is just one of many meditation techniques.
A basic understanding of meditation says that, if prayer is talking to God, then meditation is listening. Here are just some of the simple yet profound ways that people meditate:
-Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and say a familiar prayer slowly, as you focus on the meaning of each line.
-Take a break from your thoughts by counting your breaths, counting one through ten again and again.
-Listen to a meditation tape or CD.
-Sit still and watch your thoughts. Practice doing this without becoming attached to anyone thought. Just watch them come and go.
-Walk outdoors slowly, noting as many details of your surroundings as you can.
-Sit with a leaf, a flower, or any small object, and study its features.
-Write without stopping for a pre-determined amount of time or pages, as if you’re “taking dictation” from God or the Universe.
In all of these meditation techniques, when you notice your thoughts running away with you, gently bring your focus back to your practice. If you want to delve more into a specific meditation practice, there are numerous books, retreats, and teachers to help you.
Whichever form your meditation takes, the one thing you’ll always hear from practitioners is that consistency is the key. If you can only focus for five minutes at a time, start with that, but do it every day. As you become more at home in your practice, you’ll find it easier to devote more time to it. You’ll know your meditation technique is working when it results in greater peace, wisdom, and compassion. Not a bad return on five minutes a day!
Just as you re-focus your thoughts gently during meditation, you can be gentle with yourself if you miss a day. Just return to your practice again and again. It won’t always feel like you’re forcing yourself to do it. Frances de Sales, quoted above, also wrote, “Choose the life that is the most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.” Whichever one of these meditation techniques you find the most useful, you can be assured you’ll soon view it as one of your favorite parts of the day.