I love to meditate. About 10 years ago, I never would have thought I would say that. It’s been a gradual process to get to where I am today, and looking back I really appreciate each step along the way. What I love about meditating now, is experiencing the difference in how I feel after I meditate, as compared to before. Meditation allows me to let go of stress or emotions that feel stuck or are holding me back from moving forward in my life. Often after meditating, I feel calmer, clearer, and more content. It’s a wonderful peaceful feeling.
If you already take time to meditate, or if you are interested in starting a practice, one of my teachers and friends recently wrote a great article filled with ideas on how to meditate better.
1. Start meditating. If you haven’t already started meditating, this is a good time to start. You won’t receive any of the benefits unless you actually do it. While meditating will bring many benefits into your life, I’d like to share a few that are quite inspiring. One of my favorite studies, published by the International Journal of Neuroscience, showed that people who have practiced a short daily meditation for a five-year period are biologically 12 to 15 years younger than their actual legal age. Numerous studies conducted over the course of the last 30 years have shown that meditation aids our health and well-being in countless ways. Dr. Benson, a Harvard Medical School pioneer in this research, showed that meditation leads to a significant increase in relaxation and, thus, provides numerous health benefits; for example, it slows the heart rate, decreases the respiratory rate, increases blood flow, lowers oxygen consumption, lowers blood pressure, and decreases levels of blood lactate (which is linked to anxiety). Meditation also affects our neurophysiology in extremely favorable ways. Some of the early scientific studies on brain wave patterns (EEG) suggest that a person who meditates cultivates the qualities of being focused, calm, and creative.
2. Use active meditations that employ visualization. Most meditation techniques involve passive meditation. They ask us to clear our minds and be totally still, which can be almost impossible for many of us. Because we are unable to achieve the desired state, we feel like we failed and meditation doesn’t work for us. Active meditation uses different techniques that are easier to follow and produce the same great benefits. Here is a link to an active meditation technique: http://www.spiritcoachtraining.com/5-minutes-to-freedom-and-fulfillment/
3. Write down all your fears and worries about life before you begin meditating. Then, burn or shred the paper you wrote them on. It’s a great way to get rid of your negative thoughts and feelings before you sit down and become still and quiet. Once those thoughts and feelings are removed, they won’t keep disturbing your peace.
4. Meditate the first thing in the morning. There are multiple reasons to follow this tip. First, the way in which we start our day sets the precedent for the rest of the day. It’s also true that once our day gets going, we will be less likely to stop what we’re doing and meditate. By making meditating a priority in your morning regimen, you will bring more presence, clarity, and focus to everything you do that day.
5. Create an altar. Find a few sacred objects that make your heart sing and spirit soar when you look at them. Place them on a table near where you meditate. These items and the positive energy you associate with them become an anchor to remind you of why you are doing your practice.
6. Meditate daily. There is one thing I know for sure, and that’s when you have a consistent daily meditation practice, your life will transform. If you are an occasional meditator, make it a daily practice and notice how differently you feel. Note, though, that the total effect happens over a period of time, so don’t give up after just one week.
7. Get out of bed. Don’t meditate in bed. You will either fall back asleep, or it will take too long to get connected in a way that brings you deep awareness and peace. Find a comfortable, upright chair to do your meditation practice in.
8. Begin your meditation with thoughts of gratitude or a particular prayer that resonates for you. This raises your vibration and puts you in a positive, joyous state that opens you up to receive even more of what you need.
9. Release your thoughts. If you can’t quiet your mind, visualize a small gold ball of light (about the size of a quarter) in the center of your head. Imagine the ball of light is slowing expanding, pushing all of your thoughts out. Repeat this process until you feel clear and peaceful.
10. Last, but not least, silence all electronic devices and put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. I literally have a little sign that says, “In Session.” Everyone in my family knows not to disturb me when it is hanging on my door. This is my time … and because I feel peaceful and happy when I am done, my family approves.