Tips for Sitting Meditation
The purpose of sitting meditation is to focus the mind. As a result of focusing the mind, it will become calmer over time. However, learning to focus in sitting meditation may be a daunting task to beginners as well as experienced meditators, so here are some tips to help ease the process.
If you are a new student in the meditation world, pick out a few that feel comfortable and add more over time. If you already meditate, then review and apply these suggestions to compliment what you already do to encourage a more sincere and focused practice.
This is a rather robust list, so you might only use a subset of the tips, of which may change over time. Be accepting that you may never use all of them and remember that these are tips, not requirements for meditating. A few of the tips suggest engaging a Higher power in your practice. This may not be comfortable for some. It is not a requirement for meditating to be spiritual or religious, have a spiritual influence in your life, or desire to do so. Most importantly, just use the ones that feel right for you.
There are four categories of tips. The first set are to assist when approaching meditation, the next category are suggestions to be used at the beginning of each sitting meditation followed by considerations while you are meditating. The last category, tips for further deepening your practice, can be considered at the appropriate time.
- Meditate early in the morning when the surrounding environment is quite. Alternatively, noon and before bedtime are also appropriate times.
- Develop the habit to meditate that same time every day.
- Use the same space for your practice whenever possible. It becomes a special place, a space to be respected. Try not to use the space for anything else.
- Keep the lights low.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Find a easy and comfortable way to sit. Use a chair if necessary.
- Read a high energy book to center yourself before you meditate or contemplate a higher teaching / wisdom. You may find that this helps to begin establishing a calmer mind for your practice.
- Turn on soft calming music, unless it is distracting. This will vary by person and possibly by day.
- Sit down and find a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths to facilitate relaxation followed by belly breathing.
- Set the intention that when you walk into your space that it will be for deep peace, focus, relaxation, inner exploration, deeper understandings or whatever feels right at the moment.
- Set the intention that you will remain in meditation for 10 minutes or the time that you have previously decided. Lengthen the time as it feels appropriate
- If you choose to use a mantra, regardless of the language, use a short mantra such as ‘Guide me now’, ‘I am Free’ or a phrase that has meaning to you. Repeat it over and over again maintaining focus on each word, feeling the vibration and its presence go through your body as you say it out loud (although it can also be said in silence with effectiveness.)
- When you are finished, be grateful for whatever has happened during your practice.
- If there is frustration or a wandering mind, see it, accept it, be an observer of it, let it go and watch it fade away. Bring yourself gently and kindly back to whatever you were focusing upon.
- Sometimes it is easier than other times to focus. Be aware of this and accept it with ease.
- Forget about judging yourself and thinking that you are meditating wrong. There is no such thing.
- Sitting still and focusing the mind can be a challenge. Some may find it more challenging than others. Over time it becomes easier with practice.
Once you have a consistent meditation practice, you may consider adding some of these tips to further deepen your practice. As you mature and open up as a result of meditating, you might be surprised how willing you have become to new ideas and curious as to how new tips might impact your journey.
- Place pictures or a statue, a reminder of something peaceful in the space in front of you. You may use these objects as a focal point during meditation.
- Light a candle and place it in front of you as a symbol of light and devotion.
- Ask to surrender to the Highest power, Jesus, Buddha, a Saint, Nature, the Sun, or whatever is the Highest representation for you. This helps to instill humility and respect.
- Call upon the Divine, your Guides, to be with you, support you and guide you in the meditation. Ask to receive Their energy, grace or spirit. Give yourself permission to receive. Work on developing a strong feeling of confidence knowing that you are being supported and receiving.
- If you have different meditation techniques, ask the Universe, the Divine, which one to use, don't think or judge the response. Just use it. It might be best to stay with just a couple of techniques at first so as to narrow the choices. Otherwise, it might be too confusing until you have more experience. Or, just have one technique to make it simple, especially when beginning your practice.
Once you deepen your practice, come back to all of these tips on a regular basis and reevaluate which ones are best for you in order to continue personal growth. Keep in mind the importance of being patient and kind with yourself as you learn to focus your mind and remember the benefits of meditation to help keep you motivated. The more something is practiced, whether it is sports or learning to speak a new language, results in greater experience that leads to a higher level of competency. The same applies for meditation. Keep at it and you will succeed.