How to Meditate

in Special Feature 23 July 2015

Everyone seems to be talking about Meditation these days, and the amazing benefits, but so many people are at a loss where to begin. I thought I would create a guide, which is below.

Meditation is great for letting go of the things that are holding us back so that we can live more happily and positively. Buddha was once asked:

What have you gained from meditation? The Buddha replied, Nothing at all. However, let me tell you what I lost : Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old Age and Death.

Meditation allows us to stop the Mind Chatter, to become more focussed, to live in the now. When we live in the now, we never dwell on the past or become fearful of the future. There is only the present moment! Thats all that exists! It also allows us to make decisions too.

Whenever I cant decide on what to do about a thing, I will meditate on it. The answers just seem to come! I have also come up with many ideas because of meditation! In fact, everything I am doing in my life right now is a result of visualisation and meditation.

Meditation creates harmony by balancing the Mind, Body and Soul. It can help people suffering from mental, physical or spiritual imbalances and issues. The other reason I wanted to write this, is because I get a lot of people asking me how to meditate. One of the most common things I hear is I cant do it right I always have thoughts.

Firstly theres no wrong way to meditate! Did you know there are hundreds of different types of mediations? Some of them ask you to clear your mind and focus on your breathing, some of them might require you chant a mantra (Brilliant meditations!) and some of them, you can meditate on a thought or something you want to know the answer to.

Here are my tips for meditating. You can also listen to Guided Meditations on the Gathering of Minds TV Page -

Choose a time when you wont be disturbed and is peaceful. Silence is the best way to meditate but feel free to set the mood with some nice relaxing music. You can also make the room more relaxing if you need, depending on what you want out of the meditation. Make your area comfortable with cushions and blankets.

A nice amount of time is 10mins if you are just starting out, you can do more if you feel like it. Set an alarm that isnt going to make you jump out your skin when it goes off. Something gentle! Harsh sounding alarm sounds do nothing for our moods, I would suggest no one starts their day by waking up to a horrible sounding alarm. Anyway, back to meditation..

Sit cross legged or in a chair Dont lay flat, you might doze off. This would be suited to anyone wanting to use meditation for sleep relaxation!

Wrap up, meditating can sometimes make you cold, but also make sure whatever you wear is comfortable. It's better to meditate sitting up with a straight back, not slouched. This is so the energy can flow through you easily. Pinch your thumb and index finger together on both hands, this will seal in your energy.

Thoughts & Emotions
If you have a thought thats fine! You have a working brain and its normal for this to happen, it doesnt mean you are doing it wrong or you cant meditate. I have many thoughts when I meditate, sometimes I go off on one for a few mins but then as soon as I realise, I just focus on my breathing again. If you have a thought or even maybe go off track with that thought, dont get angry or frustrated with yourself, just bring your attention back to your breathing. Just let your thoughts pass like clouds. Meditation is not meant to be stressful :)

Our emotions and feelings during meditation tell us a lot. If you get feelings of frustration, impatience, anger, sadness then this is normal, dont resist anything you feel what you resist will persist instead just accept anything that comes up and go with it.

Once you can tackle the management of your emotions in meditation, this will spill over into all aspects of your life.

If something has rattled me, I will meditate on it and find out why it bothered me, I can get to the bottom of anything this way and then it means the issue is resolved. I have accepted whatever it was that bothered me and subsequently let it go. It's when we are not true to ourselves about how we feel that things get buried inside of us, and they become a problem for us and we cannot let them go. Acceptance is the first stage of letting go.

Its ok to feel angry, anger is a natural emotion, and a healthy one, as long as we dont stew on things too much without resolving the issue quickly and effectively.

Anger is a mechanism that makes us be able to speak up for ourselves, be assertive and show our displease. Dwelling on anger is not good or productive. Its destructive and gets us nowhere. It makes us act hastily and then cringe at our actions or regret. Meditation will remove this and your mind will be more focussed, more in the present moment. Not in the future having made up arguments with people or in the past regretting and beating ourselves up.

Through meditation we peel our layers back like and onion. We remove what no longer serves.

The breath is the most important. It is life. When we breathe, we breathe in life. To take deep breaths relaxes us, which helps us reach that state of meditation that we are all striving for.

Taking deep breaths calms the mind! Try it next time you are anxious or stressed out, you dont have to be in meditation. I always visualise my breath going in, working around my body and then coming out. As it leaves, taking with it any of the stresses and emotions that are present. If something does come up, just relax and let it go with your breath.

Imagine a white light around you like an egg. Start by taking 3 long, deep breathes, in through the nose and out through the mouth. With each breath clear the mind. If you want something to focus on to keep thoughts away, you can visualise your breath coming into your body, down into your stomach and out again. Always bring your attention back to your breathing if your mind wanders :)

Dont pay attention to your thoughts but if you have visions follow them without thinking about them too much and trying to work stuff out. Just experience and feel into what you are seeing but if nothing happens then go with it, it takes time. The most important thing is to keep it up, even 10 mins a day will be enough to have an impact on you.

The more you persist with it the better you will get as with anything in life! Even if you are struggling to concentrate you will be getting benefits. You are essentially training your mind to focus and be in the present moment, this is what will stop the mind chatter, living in the future worrying, or living in the past regretting.

It's not a race. This is a process. Dont rush yourself! I have only good things to say about meditation and the benefits are way too many for me to cover. Lets just say, everything you are unhappy with, everything you want to change about yourself, can be changed through meditation. I know it sounds daft but we really all do have the answer inside of us.

I often do meditations where I visualise things I want to happen or I want to achieve. It's a good way to focus too, to hold in your mind's eye the things you want and to meditate on them.

A good trick my dear friend and Gathering of Minds speaker Mohan taught me, is to stare at a glass of water for maybe 20/30 seconds. Then close your eyes but hold an image of the glass of water in your mind. After a few seconds make the glass disappear. For a moment, you will have nothing in your mind. This is a great way to train your brain to focus and very helpful with meditation.

3rd Eye
With closed eyes, look up just above your eyes to where your 3rd eye is located (Just above your eyes in the centre) look out of your eyes (eyes closed) like you expect to see something this really worked for me. I did this for the first time and my 3rd eye started to open. I see out of it every time I meditate doing it this way.

If you would like to train your 3rd eye, a good way to do it is to hold a candle, stare at a flame, then close your eyes and focus on the image of the flame. Follow it. Try and focus on it as much as you can. This is a really good method and I highly recommend this.

When my 3rd started to become active, I used to see colours, shapes and patterns. At first I couldnt follow them, I used to loose them, they would just disappear. With a bit of practise and focus, you will be able to retain the things you see

After only a short time I started to experience ideas, like amazing ideas just popping into my head during meditation. It was what can only be described as downloads of info. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. This is a tool we all have. We just have to wake that part ourselves up :)

If you are trying this for the first time, it doesnt matter if it takes you a while to get into the swing of it, the most important thing is you made the first step in trying it. The benefits from meditating are too good not to try it out.

Happy Meditating!

The British Wheel of Yoga