By Josh Rueff on May 08, 2013
“How do you meditation” seems to be one of the highest searched phrases on the Internet today, and with good reason. It made me laugh to see how do you meditation rank so high in search results, and it made me realize how often I instinctively type in what looks like random jibberish to produce accurate results.
For the topic of how do you meditation, I would hope to find and article that explains the basic of meditation; the simplest, most minimalist styles and techniques. So that is what I’m going to write.
The Purpose of Meditation
Meditation has roots in both Eastern religions and Western alike, and was practiced by Buddhist monks, the Catholic church, Christians (who preferred the term “contemplation” over meditation), and many others.
Many people are turned off by meditation because they think you have to Buddhist or some kind of zen master to participate, but there’s nothing farther from the truth. Meditation is a healthy practice that anyone can participate in, regardless of their religion, philosophy, or lifestyle.
Some of the established purposes of meditation are to:
1. Achieve a better state of mind: This can mean a number of things – some people meditate to create a peaceful state of mind, others meditate on ambitious goals to boost confidence in that area of their life. Meditation is one of the best approaches to achieve whatever state of mind you want.
2. Concentrate and “digest” a concept or teaching: Christian meditation or contemplation teaches a deliberate focus on principles, teachings and verses from the Bible. This approach can be applied to any teaching or concept.
3. Reduce stress: Cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases substantially in people who meditate. (Read one of the many studies here)
4. Get rid of depression: Meditation alleviates and can even get rid of depression (Psychology Today – Read the article.)
5. Improve focus: Life seems to have sped up over the last few decades – it can be hard to focus with our complex and fast paced world swirling around us. Meditation eliminates the background noise and helps you focus.
6. Increase confidence: Studies have shown that meditation can and does enhance your confidence levels. (The Brainwave Research Institute)
7. Sleep better: In Perceptual and Motor Skills, studies showing sleep improvement through meditation is shown. (Neuro Hackers)
How Do You Meditate? (or how do you meditation if you prefer)
The best way to start meditating is by following the most simple and minimalist method. Once you become accustomed to the basics, you can look into more advanced techniques, but they can all achieve the same things. The best strategy is to use this as your base and add to it as you see fit.
1. Choose the best time: The best time to meditate is during the hours that you have no other obligations. Early in the morning before work or in the evening after work is best, although meditating over lunch can be good as well. If you can’t clear your mind of the issues swirling around your day, you may want to choose a time when you can focus and relax.
2. A peaceful environment is essential: Even if your meditation goals are more elaborate and intentional, a quiet, serene environment is of the essence because you have to be able to concentrate 100% on your desired state of mind. Meditation in a busy place is counterproductive. Find the most relaxing, peaceful, enjoyable setting possible. Nature lovers may enjoy a secluded part of the woods or park, perhaps by a flowing stream or peaceful lake. People often prefer the comfort of their own homes, but it’s completely up to you to find the optimal location that fits your personal needs.
3. Find a comfortable position: There are a number of meditation positions. The most important thing is to choose a position that keeps you relaxed but alert, and achieves optimal blood circulation. Here’s a list of positions with illustrations. A mat can be helpful if you’re sitting on a hard surface.
4. Relaxation is key: Again, so is being alert – but the first focus should be on relaxation. Meditation is best done at the most relaxing point of your day – put yourself in a relaxed and contemplative mood by soaking in a bath, or reading poetry – whatever relaxes you, do that before you begin. It can be hard to just jump right into meditating without having a somewhat relaxed state of mind to begin with.
5. Focus your breathing: The simplest method is the 4/4 method: 4 breaths in, 4 breaths out. The last exhale should be slow and prolonged, and the entire process should slow incrementally to the slowest breathing pattern possible. Advanced breathing techniques.
6. Silence your thoughts: If your goal is to focus or concentrate on a particular thing, silence everything but that single thought. Approach it from multiple angles, meditating on it’s meaning and purpose. If you want to improve your confidence for example, focus on no other thought than positive thoughts about your abilities, strength of mind and action – your confidence. If you want peace of mind, achieve it by silencing all thoughts except thoughts promoting a peaceful state of mind. Guided meditation can help, especially if you’re just starting. YouTube has a lot of guided meditations – avoid the low rated videos, they probably won’t help.
7. Achieve your purpose: You may not notice the effects right away, and it takes some people time to get used to guiding their mind to a specific state of consciousness. With practice however, you’ll begin to notice distinct improvements. Do your best to set aside at least 20 minutes a day, again, at the most optimal time and place. Always meditate with a purpose, even if that purpose is simply relaxation, and enjoy yourself!
Lastly, here are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re meditating correctly:
-Is my focus on my breathing technique or is it automatic? (It can take time to breath right without focusing on it.)
-Are my muscles tense when I meditate, or relaxed?
-Am I both relaxed and alert, aware to my state of consciousness?
-Does my mind wander away from my purpose?(If it does, this is normal, just get into a habit of refocusing your mind quickly)
-Do I constantly change positions or fidget?