I intend for this guide to be practical, actionable and realistic, for a broad range of lifestyles. There are many guides you can follow and, I suggest pick one and keep at it until you find it is no longer fit for purpose. The information I present is not unique or special and can be found in other places, but I strongly believe it can help you meditate, if you choose to follow it. Only your experience will confirm whether it works for you or not. I hope it encourages a sense of development, contentment and fulfillment within you. Believe it or not, but meditation can be a pleasure!
The intention is to help you relax and concentrate and, thereby enjoy and benefit from your meditation.
I am learning from my meditation every day. Sometimes small things, sometimes big and I do not consider myself expert but experienced instead. Your own experiences and insights will be what matter most to you.
This Daily Meditation may help you move from an awareness of everything ‘outside’, to an awareness of things ‘inside’, like body sensations, thoughts and feelings and, to ultimately focus your attention on one thing only. In this example, your breathing.
It is also about accepting and learning to be comfortable with everything in your experience and, noticing when patterns of belief and intention can be changed to better support your meditation. In this way, you can more easily learn to happily be with one thing. And that is where magic can happen. In my experience, simplicity and the discipline of practice with an attitude of openness and receptivity are beneficial. But that is my experience. What is yours?
Do this every day, whenever you sit to meditate
Remember to let your body naturally relax, allow yourself to calm or slow your mind and encourage the feelings of contentment to be there. It is important to do this.
Give yourself the care and attention you deserve. Do this every day as you are preparing to move your focus away from worldly things (distractions), toward placing your attention on one thing (concentration), like the breath.
Preparation for your Meditation
How to relax, slow down, be calmer and feel content
It’s simple…get this preparation done. Every day, during your day, not just before you sit to meditate. Build it into who you are.
1. Get your posture right for you
Sit upright if you can. A natural ‘straight’ posture – relaxed and comfortable.
Head, neck, back, hips aligned as best you can.
Chair, cushion, sofa, bed, floor – whichever is comfortable for you each time you sit to meditate.
Lay down if you cannot sit upright due to physical limitations.
Help make your meditation a pleasure, as it is time well spent with yourself
2. Intention, Motivation & Affirmation
As soon as you sit down, remind yourself why you are meditating.
For example to ‘learn how to relax and concentrate’, or ‘to enjoy being in silence and stillness’ or ‘so I can be with the Light and Sound with patience and openness’
Avoid judging your intention or reasons. Everyone is unique – just learning to meditate is good enough, whatever the reason. Just be happy to sit quietly with yourself in meditation every day.
An example of an affirmation to repeat to yourself through the day is ” I am meditating easily, it is a pleasure and I am happy in prioritising this time for me, every day”
Create your own affirmations that give power to your intention to meditate every day.
3. Small and Achievable Goals
For example, the new meditator might start with 10 minutes, twice during the day – a session in the morning and a session in the evening
Build quality meditation time at your own pace.
Add 5 minutes every fourth day
Monday 2 sessions of 10 minutes each ( 2 x 10 )
Tuesday 2 x 10
Wednesday 2 x 10
Thursday 2 x 15
Sunday 2 x 20
This is just one example. Feel free to use it or create your own and discover what works best for you. Have fun!
4. Release Unrealistic Expectations and Distractions
Be aware of rigid beliefs and overly ambitious expectations.
Thoughts about ‘expecting more progress’ or ‘how good it should be’ or ‘how it should be like last time’ lead you away from meditation.
Just accept all thoughts and feelings with a love and kindness toward yourself. They are a temporary part of your experience during meditation and they will disappear.
Congratulate yourself on noticing them, and if needed, show care and respect and repeat your intentions and affirmations.
Set your intention to engage fully with your daily meditation.
Before meditation, create your intention to observe the breathing and if you get distracted, to return to observing the breathing. This is important to apply in practice whenever you are distracted from focussing on the breath. Do this and you will soon notice more breathing and less distraction.
You can make affirmations for the intention to apply this.
For example: “I only observe my breathing. My body breathes naturally and I have laser-like focus as everything else is taken care of” or ‘I focus only on my breathing, and I will quickly notice if I am distracted, and then return to the breathing.’
5. Make Your Commitment to Meditate Daily and Fully Engage
This really is a commitment to yourself. Meditation is not just a practice of concentration but a very special moment to be with you. Develop your ability to fully engage with your meditation starting with your intention and then your actual practice. And congratulate yourself after meditation for actually doing this.
I confidently believe that people who ignore practising any or all of the above, neglect to apply a wholehearted practice. They suffer more distractions, lack of motivation and often stop meditating. The consequence is, they fail to enjoy the benefits that could be unique to them. How do I know? I have ignored the preparations in the past and spoken to others who did also – there was a pattern of behaviour with a common result.
I recommend following the sequence below. It is nothing new but it generally works well. You will find similar things written elsewhere and taught in other places. You learn to meditate or gently concentrate on your breathing while reducing your awareness of thinking or daydreaming.
Do not feel you have to complete all the sequence. Especially if you are beginning to meditate for the first time or after a break. Remember to embrace any experiences of your practise with loving acceptance. This is you, being in the presence of yourself. Learn to observe and release or let go of whatever is presented to your awareness. It is within you and, you are much more than this.
Enjoy going through each step in your own time, building your experience and knowledge with each one. Ultimately you aim to develop your ability to focus your attention exclusively on your breathing on the tips of your nostrils – see number 4. in the sequence.
Daily Meditation – Your Practice
Get into your comfortable meditation posture. Then follow this sequence, after setting your intention and reminding yourself of why you are meditating today.
1. Close your eyes and let yourself become present. Relax your attention and background awareness. Keep a gentle sense of being fully present and let all things be as they are when they manifest in your awareness. Give more attention to sensations rather than thoughts.
2. Focus or place your attention exclusively on body sensations, allowing tensions to reduce and relaxation to increase. Enjoy any pleasant sensations and actively increase your feelings of happiness and contentment to be meditating. Build your awareness of bodily sensations and your acceptance and enjoyment of it. Let everything else fade into your background awareness.
Important: be aware of the difference between an actual bodily sensation and a thought or reaction to it. It’s knowing the difference between reality and belief or expectation – a thought or emotion/feeling about your body is not your body.
3. Focus on the sensations of your body breathing. Notice any sensations to do with your breathing and let them be. Avoid suppressing or denying anything of your experience. Focus on the breathing sensations and also be aware of whatever else is presented. If you get distracted, simply return to focussing on the sensations of your body breathing automatically, all by itself. Do this repeatedly if necessary.
4. Focus exclusively on the sensations of the breath on the tips of the nostrils. Allow your body to breath in its own natural rhythm. It will do this automatically so you can observe the sensation of the in-breath and out-breath on the nostrils. Whenever distracted, congratulate yourself on noticing this and happily return your attention to the sensation of your breath.
Breath meditation is excellent for quickly being in recognisable states of relaxation and concentration, if you stick with it daily. It is a deceptively simple, yet very powerful technique and the results can be almost immediate. The wonderful thing is, you have everything required to enjoy this repeatedly, whenever and wherever you are safe and comfortable to meditate.