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Today, I want to discuss how to meditate. I want to give you a helping hand (if you need it) into the realm of meditation.
Since I found meditation, it has been so incredibly beneficial in my life that when I get into a discussion with anyone looking for deeper answers about themselves, existence, or open up to me about what they’re struggling with, one of the suggestions I find myself often making is meditation.
You CAN Meditate
The usual response I get is that they’ve tried it and they just couldn’t get anything out of it or that they were restless or that it wasn’t for them because they have too many thoughts.
First things first, Meditation is for EVERYONE. Yes, silent meditation and/or sitting in lotus pose on the floor may not be your thing, but there are many forms in which meditation comes.
Here, I want to debunk and discuss some of the challenges that seem to crop up consistently in the ‘it’s not for me syndrome,’ because, it has the potential to work wonders, and I don’t want anyone missing out any tool of enlightenment, especially one as fundamental as learning how to meditate properly.
We will discuss some different forms of meditation a little later, but first, the one we all recognise, the one that is the preconceived notion attached to the word ‘meditation’.
First off, It does not have to be carried out strictly, i.e. You MUST sit cross-legged on the floor in absolute silence… A great quote that I’ll paraphrase from T.D. Jakes comes to mind here,
The accruements of religion that we follow today, often block our view from revelation.
We can be so focused on the how, that it completely takes over the why.
The why is more important than the how, always.
If it’s your first foray into meditation, do what makes it possible for you to begin a consistency in your practice. That has to be something that is comfortable to you. With time you may become the enlightened being sitting beneath the waterfall in lotus pose, or that may be your idea of comfort and begin there! The point is you have to feel what is going to be right for you, to want to bring yourself there with some consistency. Because consistency is key, and is also definitely more important than the how. You will find that the easier you make it for yourself to keep returning to your sacred space, the more you will crave it and realise its benefits.
P.S. I would also recommend setting a time and creating some kind of safe space. It makes it easier to train the subconscious if you use its ability to form habits for good. Keeping the location and time habitual will creates an energy of peace in that space when your subconscious begins to connect it with this practice.
The Biggest Problem People Have When Trying to Meditate
This is one that I hear the most, by far, time and time again.
“I just have too many thoughts when I try to meditate. I just can’t do it.”
IF this is you, let me start off by saying… CONGRATULATIONS, you are succeeding and you have begun the practice that is meditation.
Meditation seems to have been miscommunicated in the eyes of mass understanding. It seems to be the common misconception that achieving meditation means to be completely empty of mind.
“The spiritual path is a ripening process.”– Krishna Das
It is about showing up and being aware, then choosing to let go, being aware of something you do, and, choosing to let it go each time it resurfaces. With time it will happen less frequently and become quieter, until you overcome it completely.
Meditation involves a continual series of choices, that have to be made.
The Wisdom Of Edgar Cayce On Meditation
“Imagine an elevator, and that elevator is going up on its way to the highest point. Along the way there are many stops that are made, and you are given the opportunity to explore or continue upward. Oftentimes the subconscious will make that decision, and you might find yourself in a memory, or suddenly finding the answer to something that may have been challenging you for some time. It is important that when you recognise that you’ve been gone, that you come back to the unification of mind, body and soul through active awareness of the breath, and continue your journey upward once again.”Edgar Cayce
This is like the process of meditation.
How Your Mind Works
Let’s explain those thoughts that seem to bombard your mind as you begin to learn how to meditate. It’s supposed to happen! What is happening is you are accessing your subconscious mind, which makes up 95% of your thought process. That’s right, the conscious mind is just 5%. That other 95% is what keeps you doing all the other things that are happening while you are focused on a conversation. It gives you the things that you’re able to pull from your knowledge bank in order to respond, it breathes for you, it’s the little quirks you do that you picked up from your parents. It’s habit itself. It’s also made up of all those things you think about yourself and have cemented in your mind. Unfortunately, 70% of those thoughts that the subconscious is processing for us in a cyclical pattern, bombarding us over and over, are negative thoughts.
Each one of us have one or two emotions or attitudes that keep us from feeling better about ourselves or about life in general. They prevent us from moving forward in active awareness and love of self. For one it may be a particular fear, for another a particular resentment or doubt. It is important that we work on withdrawing emotion from these negative emotions.
That moment you are having when you begin meditation, when all of those thoughts suddenly begin to flood your mind, is you accessing your own subconscious. You are putting your conscious mind into a passive state and begin to hear what is happening in your mind behind the scenes.
Why it’s Good For You
But, it’s a good thing that we can hear them, because it is here that we can take control of the subconscious and begin to reprogram it. We choose to let go of those thoughts when they arise and come back to the breath each time. And, when it resurfaces again, you let it go, and breathe, and again, and let it go, and breathe.
Patience, Young Padawan
With time your mind will become quieter and you will go deeper into yourself. With time you will reprogram the space that is emptied of the negative, with positive, healthy thoughts. Anger is not different from love in its basest form, and we can transmigrate the negative energies we hold into a more positive constructive form.
The goal of meditation is not to transform these thoughts overnight. It is about the spaces in between. With time and consistent practice these spaces will become longer and you will begin to experience the state of mind everyone always thinks about, known as samadhi. The definition of which is: Samadhi is oneness with the object of meditation; there is no distinction between the act of meditation and the object of meditation.
So, just to sum up. Those thoughts you’re having, do not let them deter you. It may be challenging, but what is achieved without a little hard work and dedication? So roll up those sleeves and continue to breathe. When you realise that you’re lost in thought, choose to let go of them and go back to the breath.
Next up, types of meditation!
The Many Forms Of Meditation
Everyone is called to their own form of practice. As I said before, the practice is different for everyone, and even within different forms of practice there are a variety of methods that can be applied to suit you.
Sound is underrated
We’ve already discussed silent meditation, but I just wanted to further that by saying that sound can also be applied to further or deepen the practice when learning to meditate. Different frequencies allow us to more easily access different states. A little more on that. Remember when we talked about the conscious and subconscious mind? Well, they operate on different frequencies. The subconscious operates on a frequency know as theta, and there are external sounds that produce those frequencies to help you access that. There are pure versions of the frequency in ‘wave sound’ as I like to call them. There are singing bowls. And don’t forget musical and natural sound compositions. I would recommend trying out a variety to see how they aid your practice.
The way these wavelengths work with your mind is incredible. If you have listened to a binaural beats tape, you will have noticed how it sounds ‘wavy’. That’s because you are hearing two different frequencies separately in each ear. Your brain then syncs up the difference between them and this is what ‘syncs’ your brain and balances the hemispheres. This then allows information to pass through the survival filter of the left brain and prevents it from being rejected. So that the right brain can utilize the statement that is made.
How to Meditate Using A Mantra
Another form of meditation is through mantra or prayer. If silent meditation is like listening to god (listening to the divine within), then mantra is like speaking with God.
It is creating a similar state, and is actively planting seeds in your subconscious to achieve a higher state of being through the many names of God, or through positive intention/reinforcement (For example, ‘Let me be a channel of blessings to others’).
Repeat it in your mind until you ‘FEEL’ the emotions of the thing itself. Then allow yourself to just live in that space, in that silence of mind. When you find yourself gone, come back to the mantra.
The repetition of the name, as Krishna Das explains (look him up!). They are words of purity that you are sowing in your subconscious to grow and create a habitual purity that will replace and overcome all that fear and doubt that is bombarding your mind. With consistent practice, in moments where the conscious mind is more passive, such as performing daily chores, you may find yourself hearing yourself singing those mantras in your head. That is fantastic! It is those seeds taking hold and transforming that negative energy into positive (because let’s remember, energy is never lost, merely changes forms. It is how we choose to see the thing, not the thing itself).
The Trance Dance
Another form of meditation is in dance! Letting yourself go and choosing to be free without judgement is a great healer. Ever found yourself having a great time when you let loose?
I’ve used this to dance and cleanse myself through exertion before I meditate in silence and had some profound experiences.
Meditation is about the unification of Mind, Body, and Soul. Anything that helps facilitate this is going to assist in the process. So let’s talk about health. These things don’t stop you from doing the practice, and, as I said before, do what is comfortable to you so that you may initiate the its consistency in your life. With time and dedication, you will find yourself wanting to find things to deepen it. Some may even just come naturally as you reach higher states of self-awareness.
Physical health is important. So, how you take care of your body is going to influence the quality of your meditation experience.
For the hour before, attempt not eating. The body will be occupied with processing the food.
TV can have a strong influence.
Apply the same teachings you have probably heard or read about when it comes to sleep, to the body and mind before you meditate and it will enhance your practice.
You are not breathing your body. Your body is breathing you; your consciousness, your spirit.
For the first minutes of your practice, try focusing on the simple flowing in and flowing out of breath. Adjust accordingly until you find a pace that evokes a sense of deep relaxation.
I find yoga to be a great tool to expand your control and awareness of the breath. It’s a form of meditation in itself but can assist in other forms of meditation greatly. It’s consistent practice will not only improve your breath-work, but I find that a detoxifying session before I begin my deeper state of meditation works wonders.
So for the curious yet to try, and for the ones who have strayed away, I hope that this invokes a passion to dive in! learning how to meditate has shown me self-love, it has opened to the door to hangouts with the one in all of us, surrounding all of us. It has brought me to the light in times of weakness, opened my heart, and showed me truth beyond what words can accomplish. It’s benefits seem endless and even now I consider myself nothing more than a young student of its magic. I hope that you can join me and together we can begin to put those positive vibes out there and create change.