Meditation is a very useful practice and you can glean many benefits from it. It is not an instant solution to stress but is a tool that can be used to reduce stress and/or enhance the quality of your daily experience. I have a practice I do regularly, which isn’t truly (I guess) a “meditation” but instead is a kriya yoga from one of my favorite guru’s, Sadhguru. It is linked below.
One thing that seems certain is to stick to a routine. That helps your meditation practice and your life practice. I’ve become a big fan of waking up at 6am, a few hours before I need to be somewhere. It is quiet and it is nice to collect yourself before joining the rat race. I’m a big believer that if you set your mind to wake up early, like 6am – then wake up at 6am. Get up. Be happy about it. Even if you are tired, tell yourself you are alert. Be happy. Be thankful. Happy and thankful that you woke up. Some day that won’t happen.
Meditation comes in many flavors and I’ve linked a few good one’s for beginners, which is what I am. I’ve meditated throughout my life but not consistently until the last half year. It definitely has helped me deal with various stresses and centered me. I get angry less often and fearful less often. It is a reinforcement that we live in this moment and most of our stress comes from nonsense we may have done in the past or because we are worried about things that may happen to us in the future. The theory is if you can control yourself – if you take control and responsibility for your emotions you will be better served. If you let others or situations dictate how you feel then you are at the mercy of forces outside yourself – forces you don’t control or control very little. Best to focus on what you do control – YOU.
Eating better and exercising definitely help your meditation practices and living life more smoothly. I’ve read that giving up meat and things like caffeine would be beneficial but at this time I still eat meat (although more chicken and fish than red meat these days – but now and then a good steak is more than I can avoid) and I still drink coffee. Not certain I can ever give that up. I do believe that being free of addictions and eating better is probably best but one step at a time.
If you haven’t meditated before then you shouldn’t try to meditate for too long. But do get into a routine. I meditate in the morning after I take care of my bio-needs (for me that means I pee – for others you may want to shower as well or brush your teeth etc). I find a quiet place where I can sit comfortably. I think it is best to sit straight and cross legged but if you can’t then sit comfortably but try to keep your spine straight.
A simple meditation I do is to just sit quietly and to be aware a bit of my breath going in and out. To take some good breaths but don’t go crazy – breathe naturally. A few in and out breaths and it will start to take care of itself. I like the idea that breath is a string that goes out a certain distance when we breathe out and comes back into us when we breathe in. It is a cycle – like life. In and out. What I focus on is my being. That I am. The simple feeling we all have. If a noise comes in I give it some attention but let it drift away. I don’t get annoyed with it. I observe it and I let my focus come back to just being there. Just feeling “me”. Let the sounds and the thoughts drift in if they must but don’t be carried away by them.
The link I give below from Mooji which is basically following this practice. If you can start with 15-20 minutes of this that is great. If you can only do 5 then just do 5. If you can only do a minute then do that. But do it and lengthen it as your desire permits. I’d for sure do it in the morning as a start of your morning routine… but I also recommend you meditate in the evening after you’ve had a chance to wind down some. I wouldn’t do it right before bed or you probably will nap more than meditate but you may feel differently and if you do then do it just before bed. It is YOUR practice.
Mooji meditation link
What I actually do each morning is more of a yoga than a meditation. I follow the Sadhguru Isha Kriya Yoga. It is just under 15 minutes long and consists of 3 parts. Those parts include focusing on your breath for about 8 minutes and then doing 7 vocalizations of "aaa" and ending with some music followed by some chanting. Many meditations invoke chanting. It isn't really important to understand what the chant means - it just helps your focus. The meaning is usually some kind of affirmation of peace or good will or of love. In some ways, it is probably better not to understand the chant as that could take away from your focus on being present.
In meditation, the "peace" is found when you find yourself just in the place of "being". Realizing your "I am", your basic essence. This isn't difficult at all as it is our common experience. In regards to being separate entities from our mind and body, many of us already feel that "we are not our bodies" and instead we inhabit our body. If that thought trips you too much then at least realize that what you consider YOU is not just your body. I mean, it is a part of your current "you" but your body is a collection of cells. Your cells actually replace themselves constantly and the body you have today is almost entirely different cells than what it was years ago. Your body is a vessel that holds your spirit.
During this meditation you start feeling how you are not your mind as well, at least not the subconscious mind and certainly not your chattering mind. You will be focusing on your breath and being present and kind of “empty” but your mind will be chattering about the trash not being out to the curb yet or that your nose itches. Your MIND will be constantly talking while you try to focus and YOU will not be directing that thought, it just comes. The YOU you is focusing on something else and the MIND is chattering like a noisy passenger on the bus you can’t ignore. Don’t necessarily try to ignore the chatter but let it drift away and don’t attach to it. If a thought comes let it come and then return your focus to the moment.
After the 7 vocalizations of "aaa" you will listen to some music and just enjoy that sound and vibration and keep your attention there. It is followed by a good ole chant. I still don’t know the chant by heart or what it means but I’m familiar with it. Sometimes, I know a certain part of the chant is telling me it is almost done and sometimes I’m happy about that and sometimes I feel like it came too soon. Oddly, if it came too soon it is probably because I let my MIND wander too much on tasks I need to do later in the day so it isn’t always a good sign.
I’ve included links for the in depth description of the Sadhguru Isha Kriya along with the 14 minute straight to it version which I use. So, in my practice I do this kriya twice a day, for sure in the morning. After that I do about 20 minutes of watching outside my window. We have a bird feeder which makes for some interest but the main thing is to just watch a piece of space and observe it. Just observe what comes into frame and what leaves. Don’t follow the squirrel that comes down from the tree or the car that passes in the street. Be aware of them Be with them. You are all living in the same moment and you are probably more aware of that than the car or squirrel is.... but do realize you are a part of it.
A cool thing that happens is when you just feel your part in it as a piece of life. That you aren’t really watching it at all but you are in the experience of it. You are one with it. It is a nice place to be - it's the place where you actually reside but more often we feel like we are watchers of that which happens around us. We are completely and unavoidably connected to the Universe. We all came from the Universe - we are not separate from it. When you feel that connectedness you generally pop out of it but the more you do it the more you are one with it. I’m not sure I recommend the bird watching or watching out your window or watching your sofa – whatever you focus on for 20 minutes – not sure if I recommend that right away but I think it would be good for you. I’d encourage it. But if that is too much time then just focus on the meditation.
Link to Sadhguru full instruction Isha Kriya
Shorter version of Isha Kriya
Now there are many meditations and for beginners you may want to check some other people out and see what flavor best suits you. I’ve included some links from some other meditations I think are great for beginners like us. Maybe they will suit you better or maybe you will find something on your own. It is all good. I think the key elements are to sit quietly for a bit. To sit straight and cross legged if you can. To have your hands on your knees with hands facing upward because this actually helps with the breath. Or down in your lap with hands cupped and thumbs touching is nice sometimes and seems to center you and I feel like it helps when my stomach is upset.
Good luck to you and I hope my hub helped. If you have any comments be sure to share them. I listed some links from teachers far better than me that you may find useful. I also included a link from Guster for their new album coming out in January with a song called “Hard Days” because it speaks to me and the hard days we face. I think music, especially music like Guster is medicine for the soul as well.
Brahmanand Swaroopa Chant- One Hour
No More Fear - Sadhguru , Eckhart Tolle , Mooji ( Inspirational Video 2017)
Guster Hard Days
manatita44 from london on November 30, 2018:
I see that you have put together a gathering of teachers to augment your teaching of this noble art of meditaion. Carry on practicing, my Brother. Salaam!