Getting started with Meditation

Getting started with Meditation

Meditation is a very simple subject. It is not about technique, but rather about letting go of thoughts and emptying the mind entirely.

Here are some simple tips to start:
1. Regularity is important. All meditation traditions emphasise the same thing—that it needs to become a daily habit. The best way to form that habit is to do it at the same time every day. Just as you are conditioned to eat at a certain time, after a few weeks you will soon also begin to feel an inner hunger for meditation at your appointed time.

The best time of day is immediately after you wake up in the morning—you are less likely to be disturbed, and also the inner peace you gain will be of tremendous value to you as you navigate the day ahead. Try setting the alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than normal in order to get your daily practise in.

2. Find a nice space. When you meditate in the same space every day, over time you create a very nice feeling there, and it will become much easier to meditate there. Find a corner of your room or a small space that feels right. This will be your own personal space for self-discovery.

Set up a low table with a clean cloth over it. Then you can place there anything that inspires you and encourages you on your inner journey—pictures of nature and vastness, inspirational sayings, a photo of a spiritual master, maybe a statue of the Christ or Buddha if you are religious—whatever connects you to that inner feeling of meditation. For concentration exercises, it is good to have some flowers and a candle.

You can sit there on a cushion, on a meditation stool or on a chair—whatever suits you. Ideally, you should sit about one metre back from the table, at eye level to the picture, flowers and candle. Find some incense that you like as well—this creates a special feeling and adds a little of the ritual and the sacred to your practice.

3. Music helps. Simple, meditative music—a bamboo flute, a single voice singing a slow, peaceful song—can surround us in an atmosphere of tranquility that quietens the mind, opens the heart. Every little thing like this will help us to get started.

4. Start small. As with any positive thing that you are hoping to turn into a daily habit, the most important thing is getting it off the ground. Starting with just five minutes a day can be much easier to maintain than half an hour. Quality in meditation is much more important than quantity. And for beginners—if you have managed to still the mind somewhat and connect with a sense of inner peace for even three out of those five minutes, then you can definitely give yourself a pat on the back.

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