Meditation brings, in a very short amount of time, peace, well-being and global view of our life. A key to happiness waiting to be picked up: you will be soon astonished by its effectiveness!
- What is it all about?
- False truths about meditation
- A simple beginning
As a good beginning for this year, let’s talk about a simple and fundamental experiment. It has the power to change our life and this is the reason why it makes us bump into one of the greatest struggle ever: doing it.
Indeed, meditation grants distance in our view of daily life, permitting to take control of it. Getting some distance brings a new perception of who we are: it’s scary.
Meditation requires the will to step toward personal discovery and development. If you are reading this, you are most likely looking forward to making this step.
As this practice comes with all kinds of myths turning it into an impassable mountain, here is a simple guide written after my own experiments, giving you the opportunity for a nice and easy beginning.
A piece of advice before starting: try to make it every day.
The more you will succeed to do so, the greatest control you will get on your life.
If at some point of the day you realize you haven’t done it yet, take a minute to do the smallest version (check thereinafter in the paragraph “Meditation requires a lot of time”).
What is it all about?
Starting the day with a short meditation radically changes our way of life. A peaceful mind after a few minutes of concentration allows us to activate our genius and our knowledge without even noticing it.
It also represents privileged moment during which we grant ourselves great care.
Therefore meditation is beneficial for the body, with relaxation, for the mind, with concentration, and for the soul, with the simple well-being that we offer to ourselves by doing it.
Even done in the middle of the day, meditation brings, in a very short amount of time, peace, well-being and global view on the situation and our environment, as stressing as they can be.
It comes with awareness of the self, as well as awareness of our daily life and our personality. It permits to increase the perception of both the world around us and inside us.
False truths about meditation
The very first time I thought about trying meditation, I had something in mind looking like a hermit in hags sitting cross-legged in front of the hills of the Chinese countryside in deep transcendental state without eating nor drinking for days. Let’s say I wasn’t so tempted!
I should sit cross-legged
No need to be sitting cross-legged, or in lotus-shape or whatsoever, for meditation. Without a long-time use of such a position, pain and discomfort quickly take over the concentration, whichever activity we choose to do.
It is much easier to meditate in any comfortable position: straightly sitting on a chair or a coach, at home, at work, in a car or a plane, lying on a bed, on the ground or on a surfboard, or even standing, queuing at the shop or walking in the street.
I should be in absolute silence
The ideal environment for meditation depends on each person. Some told me that they need a silent room without visual nor auditive interaction, others meditate every morning sitting in the subway, and others use nature soundtrack, audio meditation guide or the flame of a candle.
Personally I use a soft music (like Aroshanti soundtracks) when I have trouble focusing, whether I am at home or in a taxi.
Meditation requires a lot of time
Just as we prepare to slip between our sheets in the evening, we can establish a ritual to slip delightfully in each new day: waking up in the quiet morning, go to the toilet, drink a large glass of water, and meditate during 5, 12 or 20 minutes depending on the available time.
If this is too long, it is possible to use the time spent in transportations. Rather than checking a smartphone every now and then, it is possible to close the eyes and focus on a conscious breathing, observing the flow of thoughts and focusing back on breathing in and out.
If this is still too long, here is the simplest and shortest meditation exercise I know (I just timed it in 45 seconds):
Put your right hand on your heart, the left hand on your belly, close your eyes.
Take 3 deep abdominal breaths (by letting the air inflate your belly) visualizing the air entering through the heart and getting out through the nose, in a quiet and free flow.
During this short amount of time, try to to focus on your breathing and on your heartbeats.
That’s all: you just made a meditation, very efficient to boost your mood and your focus!
Notice the well-being, the calm, the warmth and the time you just granted to yourself.
Notice also if you had the temptation to carry on with this simple exercise.
I should find a guru
Even if it may be interesting to benefit from the experience of others, I propose today to start making up your own experience, just as if you had the opportunity, right now, to taste a new delight of life during a few minutes, for yourself only, in private.
Just as if I’m tasting a new meal, I trust my senses and my instinct to guide me.
Do the same now: use your instinct and your senses to guide yourself in the quest and the perception of your well-being.
I should remain alone
Meditation is not necessarily something to do on our own: I took part in sessions of group meditation that taught me a lot.
Each element of the environment of my meditation influences what comes out of it. Therefore the presence of others is an interesting factor for me.
At last, when it is about experimenting new practices, I find it more easy and instructive to learn and share with people having the same intention. And by the way, who said that meditation had to be done alone sitting cross-legged in front of the hills of the Chinese countryside in deep transcendental state without eating nor drinking for days?
I should make my mind go blank
The void (i.e. thinking about nothing) is one of the many goal reachable through meditation.
However, as I explain below, we don’t aim to make our mind go blank here but we are looking for observation and control. It seems to me more interesting and much easier a goal to reach at first.
A simple beginning
The internet is full of articles and techniques about meditation: there are of many types and difficulties.
My aim now is to start simply: you are free then to choose the way that seems to fit the best to your needs.
Step 1: choose a place and a time in the day (or several)
I noticed that it became easier for me to do meditation once I had chosen a place and a time dedicated to this activity each day.
Once this place and time were chosen, it remains only for you (and for the people around you) to follow the schedule every day.
Step 2: choose a duration
I propose the following durations according to your available time: 5, 12 or 20 minutes.
Use a clock (there is one in your phone that is already set in flight-mode) that will ring harmoniously at the end of this period of time.
This tools allows me to forget about the time I spend in this practice even if, with time, I acquired an accurate sense of time.
Step 3: find a comfortable position
Ideally you have no discomfort in your position and you can relax all your body.
Do so that your back is held straight, in order to keep your head balanced on your spine without any effort.
Step 4: breathe (*)
After you have set up your alarm, close your eyes and breathe as peacefully and naturally as you can, without overdoing nor holding your breath.
Feel, listen, enjoy this breathing process. It represents the life inside of you.
Step 5: observe
Just as you feel your breathing, feel and listen to your heartbeats.
If you can’t feel it easily, put a hand on your heart. Get in touch with it.
Consciously or not, you are making this meditation for your well-being: feel your heart beating for you. It represents your love for yourself.
During the few minutes of this meditation, you will have the opportunity to watch yourself.
Observe the reactions of your body brought by relaxation: relaxed muscles, moves in the digestive tract…
Continue to focus on your breathing.
Quite quickly some thoughts come to your mind. Whichever they are, observe them.
Observe the fact that these thoughts came precisely at this moment.
Don’t criticize yourself for that. Don’t blame yourself for that.
Even if your reflex is to criticize or blame yourself: observe the fact that you have this self-criticism reflex.
Then come back to your breathing.
Your intelligence knows thousands of tricks to make you lose your concentration while meditation takes you on a path to self-discovery.
Observe, then come back to your breathing.
Last step: open your eyes
When your clocks rings the end of the session, keep your eyes closed.
Take a few seconds more to thank you for this time dedicated to yourself and your well-being.
If you can, imagine that you hug yourself warmly, some thanks from the bottom of your heart during one more full breathing.
It is time to get on with the daily life.
Open your eyes.
(*) about step 4: breathe
In the case of a solitary meditation, I may have trouble with focusing on my breathing only.
So I use a mantra (a simple word) that I repeat in my mind each time I breathe in and each time I breathe out. I choose it depending on my inspiration or the problem I am trying to solve: love, forgiveness, happiness, etc.
Another technique (that I have learnt in a conference with Deepak Chopra) consists in starting with our name “I am John Smith”. After a few breaths the sentence becomes “I am John”, then after a few more breaths “I am” soon changed into the simple sound “A-ham”. I find it interesting as it permits to begin with a self-centered intellectual process that gradually turns into a more “universal” concentration.
Once again, feel free to try and find what fits you the best.
General note about the practice
I intentionally aimed the different parts of this technique toward the care we bring to ourselves through meditation.
If you feel like it, you can aim your meditation toward your link with others and the whole universe.
The only thing that seems important to me: do it every day, with harmony, patience and love 🙂
Crédits photo : suc