How to Meditate: 10 Essential Tips

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Meditation is a door that leads us deeper into ourselves.  Meditating regularly can help us de-stress, relax, & achieve a deep sense of calm like nothing we have experienced before.  As beginners, however, we tend to his snags in our practices.

The mind is a wild & unruly thing.  De-cluttering your brain & keeping your thoughts quiet long enough to reach Zen, can be a challenge that leaves many would-be meditators frustrated, & unwilling to continue their practice.

If you fall into the category of frustrated meditators, you're not alone.  That's how most people began their meditation journey.  The best advice I can give you is to stick with it & try these 10 tips for Meditation.

10 Essential Tips for Meditation

Start With Good Posture: It might sound a little trite, however, keeping your spine straight is a point of focus & will help keep your mind from wandering.  In a slumped position, the body is out of balance & in a state of rest which leads to a lack of focus.

Keep Those Eyes Open: Keeping your eyes open will help you to focus on the present while closed eyes gives your mind license to travel where it will.  Meditating with your eyes open will also keep you from falling asleep.

Focus, Focus, Focus: Meditating is meant to wake you up in your life.  So often, our thoughts & daydreams keep us from fully experiencing the present.  In Meditation, I always recommend placing something at the centre of your attention, whether that be de-stressing, enlightenment, or whatever you Meditation goal might be.  When you find your mind wandering away from you, snap it back to attention by maintaining a gentle focus on your Meditation goal.

Breathe: I can't stress breathing enough.  Allow yourself to inhale & exhale naturally, all the while paying attention to each breath.  Focusing on your breathing will keep you present & in the moment.

Clear Your Mind: Thoughts can creep in & disrupt a perfectly good Meditation session.  When you notice thoughts appearing, gently brush them off by refocusing your attention on your breathing, & your Meditation goal.  

If you are finding yourself struggling to clear your mind, try counting your breathes.  Every time you find yourself thinking, restart your breathing count.  Starting over at 1 is a great way to return yourself to the present.

Personify Your Emotions: Emotions can be especially disruptive to Meditation.  Allowing emotions to take root in your Meditation practice can derail the entire session as emotions are closely tied to moments & stories in our past.

Rid your mind of emotions from the past by turning them into something physical in your mind's eye, then let go of that physical thing.  My favourite trick is imagining I am inflating a balloon with my past, & once I have expelled all of my emotions, & the stories that go along with them, into the balloon, I let it go & watch it as it drifts far, far, away.

Start With Silence: There's a lot of Meditation music, & relaxation sounds on the market, however, I always recommend starting with silence.  Silence will allow you to focus on your mind rather than allowing sound to drown out your mind's chatter.

Keep it Brief: When you are first starting out your Meditation practice, start small.  Starting with a simple 10 minute session, where your mind is completely in check, is great when you're training your mind to reach zen.  As you become more seasoned in Meditation, do longer sessions if you feel them necessary.

Create a Quiet Space: For a successful Meditation session, find a place where you can be comfortable & free of distraction.  This place should be a space that you don't associate with any other faction of your life.  Avoid meditating in spaces where you work, exercise, or sleep.  

In addition, create an environment that is perfect for you.  Try meditating with the lights out.  If you like candles, light a few candles, or incense.  There is no "right" space for Meditation, so experiment on what will work best for you.

Reflect: At the end of each Meditation, it is important to reflect on your experience.  Did you achieve your Meditation goal?  How do you feel?  Ask yourself these questions.

It is important not to over-analyse your Meditation experience, however, reflecting on each session is a great way to ensure you are getting what you want from your Meditation practice.