Beginning to Meditate


Meditating each day has a definite connection with how calm and relaxed you are. Spending just 20 minutes a day in meditation can have a tremendous impact on your health. Meditating on a regular basis helps calm a frantic lifestyle.

Peace and Meditation
Paramahansa Yogananda, was the creator of the Self-Realization Fellowship and author of Inner Peace. In this book he stated, “Calmness is the ideal state in which we should receive all life’s experiences.” He also says that meditation allows the cultivation of an inner quiet to chase away nervousness and stress. Although he died in 1952, he is considered one of the outstanding spiritual teachers that connected the West and East.

In order to properly meditate, you must shut out the outside world. No distractions are allowed during meditation, so all phones, computers, etc. should be turned off.

We are constantly bombarded with technology throughout our day. Meditation gives you an escape from those distractions. Studies revel that twice a day meditation for 20 minutes can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Meditation Hints

Some helpful hints to begin meditating are:

  • Where to meditate. Find a quiet, peaceful section of your home to meditate. It may be a room dedicated to meditation, or a corner of a room. Furnish it with items that hold spiritual meaning to you and create a kind of shrine. Whatever will get you in a reflective mood. You may want to meditate outside as you listen to the ocean or hear a stream trickle by. You may choose a quiet forest setting, or watching the moon rise.
  • How to sit. When you picture meditation, most people envision sitting with your legs folded with your hands on your knees. You can do this, but whatever sitting position is most comfortable for you is what you should do. Meditation can be done anywhere and at anytime. Some people even meditate while driving their car.
  • Do I close my eyes? It is best to keep your eyes open in order to keep all of your senses alert. You are not trying to go to sleep, but to put your body in a condition of “relaxed alertness.” Although your eyes are open, you should not be focusing on anything specific. You should also keep your mouth open a little bit.
  • Time to meditate. Most books on meditation suggest doing it twice a day for 20 minutes. The length of time doesn’t matter as much as if it “brings you to a certain state of mindfulness and presence, where you are a little open and able to connect with your heart essence,” according to Sogyal Rinpoche. When you first start meditating, aim for four to five minutes at a time, and then take a minute break. Rinpoche believes that meditation happens frequently during this break. It is also suggested that you should meditate at the same time each day. A Benedictine monk, David Steindle-Rast, advocates starting your day fifteen minutes earlier to meditate.

Meditation Fundamentals
There are four fundamental ways to meditate.

  • Breathing- Begin exhaling deeply several times to free your lungs of carbon dioxide. You may want to learn the method of picturing a lotus blossom in your lower abdomen, and then your breath fills the abdomen, picture the petals of the blossom expanding. While you exhale, imagine the petals closing up.
  • Focus on an object- Focus lightly on an object. This could be any item that is spiritual in nature to you. Observe the object in a peaceful manner.
  • Recitation- The word mantra means “that which protects the mind.” When you chant or recite a mantra, you are giving your energy and breath power from the mantra. As with the object you focus on, choose a mantra that embraces your spirituality. You should chant your mantra softly, paying intense attention to it. Allow your mantra, your breath, and your awareness become one.
  • Guided meditation- Guided meditation is to focus and direct your imagination to a conscious goal. This is very similar to guided imagery.

Meditation Benefits

Meditation benefits are subtle- You probably won’t feel the benefits while you are meditating, but you will notice them later as you respond to emergencies in your day in a calm manner. Meditation is something you do to reap the benefits later on.

Rinpoche says that “the real miracle of meditation is a subtle transformation that happens not only in your mind and your emotions, but also in your body.” He says “even your cells are more joyful.”

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