Meditation: Before Starting

Before starting Naming meditation Candle meditation Mantra meditation Acceptance meditation
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Time and posture

Before any meditation, I suggest you decide how long you intend to meditate for and how you will time it. I often use music for this. Having a set time prevents you from getting distracted by wondering how long you’ve meditated for. To start with, five minutes at a time is an excellent length.

Sit, stand, or lie down in a comfortable position, making sure your back is straight and pulling up slightly from the back of the head. Don’t put yourself in a pose that is hard for you to maintain or is uncomfortable.

If you are familiar with yoga, useful poses for meditation are the corpse, the half-lotus (especially if you sit on a flat cushion), and the mountain.

Meditation is most useful when practised every day, even for short periods of time.

Use the wall or a chair to support your back if you are unable to maintain excellent posture for the whole meditation session unsupported.

Posture really does make a difference.

Ground and centre

Grounding and centering is always the first step in my meditations. Oddly, while they’re normally named in this order, they are done in the opposite order. First centre, then ground.

Grounding and centering can be a meditation in themselves.

Centre

  1. Close your eyes. This is not essential, but it does make things easier.
  2. Focus on your body. Work out which bits of what you are aware of are you and which bits are the rest of the world. Notice your breathing. Recognise what is currently around you, instead of living in your thoughts about the past and future, and pay attention to your physical self.

Centering helps you to be aware of yourself in the moment.

Movement and/or massage

It is possible to use physical movements or sensations, especially repetitive ones, as aids in centering. The feeling of the body moving or being moved can focus awareness on the parts of the body in motion, reminding you that the body is part of you, not something separate or foreign.

Ground

  1. Feel the ground, floor, chair, or whatever-you-are-on as it supports you. You are being held up by something, just as gravity is pressing you into it.
  2. Beneath whatever is holding you up is the earth. Pay attention to that too.

Paying attention to your physical supports provides a focus for recognising the world you are held up by.

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