Guide to Meditation
Quieting and controlling the mind's focus is the first step in meditation.This step can prove difficult when first attempting meditation, but it becomes natural with practice. We'll examine some tips for focusing and using the mind in a moment.
Choose a specific place that you will use to meditate each time. A quiet, comfortable place with few distractions is best. Most traditions suggest a sitting position, either on the floor sitting on a few cushions, making your knees lower than you bottom, or sitting on a chair. In both positions, it is ideal to have good posture with the spine erect. Hands can be placed in the lap, or on the knees and can hold a pose or not. With practice, sitting still with good posture becomes easier and more comfortable.
As you sit comfortably, consider your intention.
Your intention may be to relieve stress, receive clarity on an issue, clear the mind, purify the mind and body for prayer, or even to experience and abide with God. There are many intentions you may have, but it is of great aid if you declare your intention at the beginning of your meditation.
Know your ideal.
What you consider to be the Ultimate, whether it be God, Buddha, Samadhi, heaven, Christ, Allah, Universal Oneness, Spirit, emptiness, Brahman, or something else, know what it is that you believe in and have that be your goal in your meditation. This is your focus for direction. Do not confuse this with your intention; your intention could be to gain clarity on a situation or relationship, but your ideal could be Christ Consciousness.
Quiet your mind and focus.
Now you know your ideal and intention, and are sitting in a quiet relaxing. It's time to quiet your mind and focus it. You can do so in many different ways, including the use of a mantra, which is a word or phrase that you repeat silently or aloud to focus your mind. See below for mantras and chants that you may find to be useful tools for focusing your mind and enhancing your meditation.
The breath may be the most important part of meditation after the focusing of the mind. Some meditations use the breath as the whole focus: you observe each breath, in and out, constantly focused on the breath. Many realizations can come after practicing this technique-life is in every breath, life is everywhere, oneness with all things, the shared substance that sustains us all, and so forth. Other meditations use the breath with focus, imagination, and visualization to create a deep state of meditation. In order to fully explain this method of meditation, we have to examine the body and its sacred centers called chakras.
Meditation Practice Period
After choosing your technique, stay with it for some time: 15, 20, or 30 minutes, and longer, as you progress. As you take hold of the mind, your body, mind, spirit connection begins to change. Your brainwaves change, your body relaxes, and your mind lets go. Abide in this special place that is different than sleep and different from just thinking-it is unique unto itself.
When your meditation period is coming to a close, send out your raised energy in prayer to those in need. For more information on this topic, visit our page on meditation and prayer.