Get Healthy Get Meditation – 6 Steps to getting started on meditation
By Francis O’Neill
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Meditation is great for quietening the mind, lowering stress levels and bringing peace to one’s life. Follow the Get Healthy Get Meditation steps below to help change your life.
During meditation the intention is to clear the mind of all the noisy thoughts, and to achieve an inner stillness of body and mind. This is so easy a child could do it! Well it might sound easy but perhaps not so when getting down to doing it. One person may indeed find it easy, another find it tougher going. But let me stress that anyone can benefit from it with practice.
In Buddhism meditation is treated as more than just a coping mechanism for life. It is used to gain a clearer understanding of consciousness, understanding there are levels of consciousness. It is a means to familiarise oneself with one’s true nature, to communicate with one’s higher self. It is an essential method or way of preparing for life, death and enlightenment.
Everyone benefits from the practice of meditation. If you are going to take it up why not follow this 6 steps starter guide to meditation – some simple steps and tips:
Step 1. Get in the right spot. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for 20 minutes or so each day. If need be lift the atmosphere of the room or location by keeping it tidy, harmonious – removing clutter – and adding in a plant or two such as the Peace Lily or French Lavender.
Step 2. Remove constraints. Remove or undo all clothing that constricts – remove your watch for example. If you want to keep a check on the time your watch could be useful to keep close by. Remove jewellery, undo belts – you want no tightness around your waist, or indeed any part of your body – so remove shoes, anything that constricts. Also deal with any tightness or tension in your body – have a good stretch and wiggle your toes.
Step 3. Get comfortable. Sit comfortably. If on a chair use a dining chair or stool rather than an armchair. Keep your back straight – if the chair has a back avoid the temptation of leaning back against it. There is no need to cross your legs, indeed if using a chair it will probably be more comfortable to have your feet flat on the floor.
If you are already used to sitting in a lotus position (as illustrated) – perhaps through yoga pursuits – then by all means do that – but it is not essential, nor recommended if you have never sat in a lotus position before – no need to climb two mountains when one is enough.
Step 4. Switch on the light. Rest your arms on your thighs with the palms of your hands turned upwards. Allow your index finger and thumb on each hand to be touching at the tips – imagine as you do this you are allowing the flow of (chi) energy through your body. It will have the effect of helping to centre you.
Step 5. Stay awake. Keep your eyelids open a little – letting light in. This is a compromise, not having your eyes fully open helps you to avoid being distracted by anything around you in the room, while not being entirely closed helps to keep you present, awake – it is surprisingly easy to nod off when doing this with your eyes completely closed.
Step 6. Be mindful of your breath. Beathe normally and follow your breath. Listen in to your breath. As thoughts come up, as they will, gently steer yourself back to your breath. You could chant the sacred sound ‘Om‘ to help keep your mind focused but if you feel a bit odd doing this then keep following your breath. If you have hearing issues then focus on feeling the rise and fall of your breath.
That’s it – that’s all you need to do!
Ah but hang on, let’s talk commitment! You need to be able to commit to meditating once a day. To pursue this you need to be willing to do for 15 to 20 minutes – preferably first thing in the morning before taking breakfast. With practice and development you may find it beneficial to extend this time gradually to twice as long – to 30 or 40 minutes a day.
Some people choose to meditate twice a day, but keep it simple for long term practice – and develop your practice organically to suit your lifestyle.
Results: Results may happen quickly, but don’t be surprised if you don’t notice much change at the start. After the initial enthusiasm to get your meditation under way it may even feel like a bit of a chore for a while.
However keep at it and you will start to notice a sense of being more centred when you are meditating – and that sense can continue beyond your meditation into your day. This feeling will grow as you make meditation a part of your routine, a part of your life. It will calm you down and help you to achieve inner peace – a peace that starts to permeate through you and, if you let it, take over your life. How wonderful will that be!?