Too many people take meditation waaay too seriously. They look for the ‘right’ music, ‘right’ place, ‘right’ clothes, the ‘right’ position. If we place requirements (restrictions) on when and how we will meditate, that contradicts what we are trying to achieve. Actually, even striving to achieve anything in meditation is a contradiction.
I mean, think about it, what is the reason most people start meditating? Usually to reduce stress, to become more mindful in their daily lives, to help be more focussed, be able to cope with life better, find focus and find clarity.
Practicing meditation creates better focus on what is important to you. The stress of daily life that we chose to get caught up with is what decreases our focus, our mindfulness. If we chose to NOT get caught up with other stuff we can have less stress. It is a choice we can make.
Meditation is about accepting that there is stuff happening around us all the time and not getting caught up in it. It’s not about blocking life out; it’s about being able to deal with it without getting attached to problems. That is the purpose of meditation, to be able to focus and still be aware, but not distracted by other things that are going on.
Meditation is not about having a particular place. It is nice to have lovely surroundings I agree, but not necessary. When you are first starting out, it may be helpful to have a special place to sit and for it to be quiet. Be comfortable too so the experience is enjoyable.
You can meditate any time of day. It’s not about certain times of the day or anything to do with the moon (I know, I know. I have included a moon pic below – couldn’t help myself :)) Meditation can be done almost anywhere especially when one becomes more practicised at it. It is something that can be done anywhere, anytime for any amount of time – it does not have to be an hour, it can be just a few minutes or even 90 seconds.
Meditation is about acceptance and gentle focus. If your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to the focus on your breath. Don’t give up or berate yourself. Placing requirements on your practice is choosing to get stressed about it, to be caught up with unresourceful thinking, almost sabotaging, staying with certainty. There is not much certainty in meditation.
Eyes closed or open? I suppose the purpose of eyes being close is to facilitate focusing on the breath and not getting distracted. There are meditations that can be done with the eyes open and the purpose of that is to have peripheral vision but still able to focus. Having your eyes closed is probably better though.
Each time you begin a session, start as a novice, like this is your first time. Get rid of any expectations about what the session will be like. Sometimes you’ll find it hard to maintain focus, to stop the ‘monkey mind’ chatter, other times it will be easier. Welcome the distractions as a way of strengthening the focus muscle. Meditating without distractions is not what it is all about.
To make meditation/mindfulness a regular part of daily life, set up triggers for yourself as a reminder to do a few breaths, focus on your breath, take about 4 or 5 and then go back to what you were doing. Maybe it can be just as you are about to make a phone call, just before you start the car, or when you are waiting for the kettle to boil, the lift to arrive. Think of triggers that are useful for you. Take unexpected opportunities when they present themselves. The other morning I was getting dressed for work and the sun had just come up. It was giving off a beautiful golden orange colour so I stood in the open doorway with my eyes closed and just took a few slow focused breaths – a sort of mini meditation – and then finished getting ready.
- The Power of Meditation (paulettecake.wordpress.com)
- Counter bad habits, stress with meditation (goerie.com)
- Meditation & Social Action – Going from Nowhere to Now Here! (elephantjournal.com)