Meditation

Meditation allows us to train our mind.  Our mind that is constantly on autopilot, simply going from one thought to another.  It is this unconscious way of living that brings suffering and stress into our lives.  Without realising, we engineer our own suffering and deny ourselves the possibility of greater happiness.

Living unconsciously bring us so much anxiety, whereas living consciously changes our relationship with ourselves and the world around us for the better. I personally use the Buddhist Vipassana form of meditation – ‘The Route Of Insight’.

Meditation is not as easy as it sounds and takes hard work, practice and time to fully master.  As an example, sit for ten minutes doing nothing apart concentrating on your breathing.  How often did you find your mind wandering off? Thinking about what is for tea tonight, etc. Meditation is not easy and it takes time to devote our attention to any one object for any length of time. The breath is used in Vipassana mediation because it is a always available to us, where we are.
How to start Meditating;

 

  • Choose a time when you will be able to commit daily. Ideally either first thing in the morning or in the evening
  • Find a quiet location where you will not be disturbed
  • To help guide the amount of time download a meditation app that has interval alarms.

For beginners, it is worth breaking up a session into four parts to help learn the technique. Set a time of 20 minutes on your app, with an alarm to sound every five minutes. This will  help structure the session and allow you to progress into the practice.

For beginners, it is worth breaking up a session into four parts to help learn the technique. Set a time of 20 minutes on your app, with an alarm to sound every five minutes. This will  help structure the session and allow you to progress into the practice.
Start by sitting in a comfortable position, with your spine erect and your hands resting upwards in your lap. You can use a position such as the half lotus, or sit in a firm upright chair. Its important to remember that meditation is not about seeing how long you can sit in pain for. The position you choose must not be painful, as you will start to progress longer and longer sessions and the discomfort may be enough to put you of doing it all together.

Start your timer for either 20 or 40 minutes with either 5 or 10 minutes respectively as the 4 intervals.

  • Allow yourself to become comfortable. As you are not allowed to move whilst meditating
  • Take 3 deep breathes gaining further relaxation on each breath.
  • Bring your attention to your breathing. Allow the breathe to be natural and not forced. You are not breathing you are simply observing yourself breath.
  • Breathe in, breathe out – count 1
  • Breathe in, breathe out – count 2
  • Breathe in, breathe out – count 3
  • Continue this until you reach ten and this point you return to count 1.
  • If you lose focus and your mind wanders bring it back to your breath and start counting again from 1.
  • On the first interval chime we change this ever so slightly.
  • Count 1 – Breathe in, breathe out
  • Count 2 – Breathe in, breathe out
  • Count 3 – Breathe in, breathe out
  • On second interval chime we simply stop the counting.
  • Place all your focus onto the nostrils where the air enters your body.
  • Don’t follow the breathe into the body.
  • Keep focus on the breathe entering the body and exiting the body

At this point our focus is solely on that of the breath. It is at this point where it becomes extremely difficult for most people to keep the focus on the nostrils. If you find the mind wandering simply accept it has happened and bring the focus back.

  • The final section will prove to be the hardest. But continue with the focus only on the breath entering the body. When ever you find your mind wandering and you struggle to bring it back go back to the counting. We must leave the counting behind at some point but keep using it when your focus drops. This exercise is about focus on the breath and not a mindfulness exercise on counting.