Put to rest your fears of “not meditating right”
As I’ve started teaching and working with others, I will say that one of the most common comments and/or questions I get is: I don’t know if I’m meditating right (or correctly, okay, or some other variant).
In this post, I’ll talk about some requirements for meditation (there are only a few), some do’s and don’ts, and some of my personal experiences.
What you need for meditation
You can use a few tools for meditation. However, if you just have a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, and some time, then you’re good to go. You don’t need much else, physically.
A desire to do it
You have to have the desire to do it. If there’s no desire, then no amount of “making yourself do it”, is going to work.
In order to maximize the benefits you get from meditation, you need to want to do this practice – every day.
I’ll use the example of soccer. You wouldn’t compete in a game without weeks of practice, right? Even then, you wouldn’t be as good if you’d only practiced one season, as opposed to seven seasons, or more. Professional athletes sometimes have been at their practice for decades. Every day. Or just about every day.
To use a more extreme example, let’s look at brushing your teeth. If you only brushed your teeth “when you felt like it” can you imagine what your teeth would look like? Still, you wouldn’t really get much benefit from brushing if you only did it once in a while. Your teeth would be stained. Terrible breath would emanate from your mouth. Your gums would bleed, or worse. You get the idea.
It’s the same for meditation: you need to “practice” every day to get the benefits. Twice a day is even better. Spending 5 minutes meditating in the morning, and 5 minutes in the afternoon is better than if you just meditated for 10 minutes in the morning.
If the morning’s all you got, however, then by all means, spend the 10 minutes meditating in the morning.
Settle in on your favorite type of meditation
Different meditations have you focus on different things.
If you like mantras, then those will be your focus. Mindfulness awareness is a focus on the breath. Perhaps your focus is a singing bowl or bell. Maybe you like focusing on candle flames.
A guided meditation is also a focus: you’re bringing your attention back to the speaker or the sounds in the meditation.
Anything that focuses your attention that uses sound, a feeling, or an object for gazing, is just fine for meditation.
You’re “meditating right”
If you have the desire, and something to focus on, then you’re on your way to a successful meditation session.
Sure, you’ll need to focus and re-focus. But just remember: it’s all part of the practice.
There is more to it, of course. More than just wanting to, and finding a focus…and that’s where a teacher can come in. Like me!
My experiences with this
When I began meditating regularly in 2008, I used a mantra. I loved it. It’s what got me into meditation.
I started out with 15 minutes. My mind was all over the place, but I would keep repeating my mantra. I’d return to it. Over and over.
With a decade of continuous practice, the thoughts still come. But there are more and more moments where I “touch the silence.” There are more blips of time where I don’t have thoughts coming.
Or the thoughts will come, but as I refocus, new thoughts are slower to come.
For me? Never.
Sometimes I have fewer thoughts. Other times it’s cascading marbles into a pool. Each time, I come back to my mantra.
I come back, day after day, knowing that the benefits of my practice are stacking up.