A Guide To Meditation

By Susie Levan | GettingToForgiveness.com

HIGHLIFE Yoga | Meditation
HIGHLIFE Yoga | Meditation

Everyone should try meditation for the first time because this ancient practice can help modern lives navigate the non-stop pressure-cooker stresses of our overstimulated world and integrate it into their busy lifestyles.  It’s also about disconnecting from our technology-besieged world.  According to a report from the UN, more people have mobile devices than clean water!

There has been a lot of science and an explosion of research about meditation.  A daily meditation practice is dynamic and transformative that delivers a long list of benefits, such as being more productive, peace and wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, reduce depression, anxiety, stress, a feeling of relaxation, mental clarity, concentration, better sleep and physically healthier.  In other words, the benefits of meditation are endless, but only come with persistence, consistency, and prioritizing your time to do so.

As a teacher of meditation, one thing I know for sure is that meditation doesn’t have to be complicated.  I was taught how to meditate over 30 years ago.  I started meditating when I was going through emotional turmoil in my life.  Meditation brought me peace of mind and helped me cope with the many difficult and life-crushing situations I was dealing with.  Meditation brought equanimity into my life.  Meditation has been my ripple-effect, superpower and truly a game changer.  I became more calm, relaxed, and present when I learned how to meditate. Meditation felt like coming home, rediscovering my tranquility and still space and voice within

Anyone can meditate regardless of age, schooling or income.  For many years, meditation in America has been growing and spreading across the globe as well.  Meditation is an active and dynamic process.  Today we are bombarded with an incredibly long to-do list.  We feel constantly overwhelmed and overworked, and for the past year, we have all been literally, Zoomed out! 

There are many myths and misconceptions that keep people from meditating.  It has an undeserved reputation for being a confusing, mysterious, religious practice.  People assume that it’s complicated and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Meditation is not spacing out or zoning out—it’s actually zoning in—going within.  In other words, meditation is a formal practice of setting time aside to train the mind through connecting with your breath and there are countless ways to do so.

Meditation brings wisdom, lack of meditation leaves ignorance.  Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”

~ Buddha

The most important thing that a first-timer should know before going into a meditation class or meditating on their own, is that they can’t do anything wrong or fail.  Getting the hang of meditating is simpler than you think.  Meditation is about connecting with your breath—being present and disengaging from the mental chatter in your head, those distracting and incessant 60,000 uncontrollable daily thoughts—sometimes referred to as the “monkey mind.” Meditation is about focusing your mind not clearing your mind.

Meditation has been associated with mysticism and mystery—but it’s not either of these things. You don’t have to be surrounded by crystals, incense, rainbows or sit in a lotus position, it’s not weird and there is nothing woo-woo about it.  Anyone that is willing can learn how to mediate. You can meditate and make it fit around your schedule, anytime really.  Many of the busiest athletes, musicians, actors, politicians, military, police, fireman, businessmen and women and many famous people around the world, make time to meditate daily. What’s important is to find a time and place that works for you.

Meditation is going within.  Meditation is a journey—it’s not the goal.  You have everything you need to meditate—your breath!   I recommend that you meditate for no more than 3-5 minutes at the beginning and then increase the time weekly to a maximum of 20 minutes.  To end your meditation session, clock watching is counterproductive.  To get most out of your session, I recommend you set a kitchen timer or an alarm so that you’re not continually checking how long you’ve been meditating.

A meditation session can feel very powerful. Your breath awareness is your main focus.  It will help you become grounded, centered and present. To get started with your meditation practice you do not need to fold yourself into a pretzel or wear special clothing.  However, you may want to wear clothing that is not constrictive—loose is best.  Physical comfort is important.

To set yourself up for success, find a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed or distracted.  Find a comfortable ordinary chair, sit in upright position, relax your shoulders and settle your body, close your eyes and bring your full attention to your breath.  Take three full, conscious breaths—a long deep inhale, hold a moment, and exhale through your mouth.  Keep your breathing easy and slow at first—gentle and rhythmic.  Allow your breath to settle into its own natural flow.  Ahhhhhh.  Try not to think about the past or the future, just be in the present moment.  Let go of your worries and relax.   Some days, you might feel physical sensations, like tightness in different areas of your body, or clenching your teeth or hands.  Feel, accept and allow whatever arises without judgement and be present and aware of these feelings and emotions.  Remember, meditation is a journey—some days the process will be easier than others.

Now that you have all the reasons to meditate, it’s important to find your “why”—your personal reason to meditate. Once you connect with your why, it will be the reason propelling you to continue meditating—harnessing the benefits and your superpowers.   As with any discipline or skill, I recommend you incorporate meditation into your daily routine and practice it for your entire lifetime.  Meditation can be simple, fun to learn and can be very enjoyable.  From my personal experience, the journey of daily meditation has had huge payoffs, amazing results and has empowered, enhanced and changed my life in ways I never expected. 

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HIGHLIFE Yoga | Meditating