Meditation

Before starting Naming meditation Candle meditation Mantra meditation Acceptance meditation
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I’m not an expert on meditation, but I find it very useful, so I’ve written this site as a way of passing on techniques that work well for me.

Meditation is most useful when practiced every day, even for short periods of time. I get more from five minutes every day than I do from occasional hour-long sessions, although I enjoy the hour-long sessions a lot more.

About meditation

For me, meditation is (at base) conscious, planned, structured attention to one’s mental processes.

It is phenomenally useful if done on a regular basis, because it promotes self-knowledge, and mental and emotional calm.

While many forms of meditation are based on religious beliefs, meditation need not be religious, just as many types of music involve religion, but music itself is not necessarily religious. 

It need not take a huge amount of time in any one session, but does need regular and frequent (daily is good) practice if one wants to experience significant benefits.

There’s lots of evidence (some of which is easily found if you search Google with terms like “study shows” and “meditation”) that meditation has measurable effects on your well-being, whether or not it feels like it’s doing anything at the time. As far as I can tell, this goes for most styles of meditation, so it’s really just a matter of finding one that:

  • doesn’t bore you to tears
  • you can fit into your normal life (no habit lasts if it doesn’t work with your lifestyle)
  • doesn’t contradict any of your beliefs (quite a few really useful meditations were originally created by religious types)
  • (ideally) targets your particular needs.

It often helps a lot to work out what kind of meditation is going to work for you to talk to someone about what is and isn’t happening in your mind when you meditate.

You might choose to try more than one meditation per session. If so, I suggest you give each five minutes and ground and centre in between.

Give each new meditation style one at least a week’s practice before deciding it’s not for you. Preferably two or three. They often start being useful only after you’ve been practising them for a while.

With other people

If you live with other people, it can be really useful to get their buy-in. If you think they will be supportive, tell them you’re planning to meditate for whatever part of the day you’ve chosen: morning people in the morning; ‘owls’ at night.

If they are interested in it, meditating with other people is really, really useful — even if you’re all doing it silently in your heads. Humans are social animals, and doing things with others helps us work.

Guided group visualisation can be good if you get bored easily when meditating.

Mental control

If you’re depressed or suffering from anxiety (or any mental or emotional problem, for that matter), getting some control over your thoughts can seem extremely desirable. It is desirable, but one of the things stopping you from doing so is often that you’re trying to control them before giving them some ‘space and air.’ You can’t control anything you don’t accept. This is why the acceptance meditation is so useful.

Time

We tend to get confused about our place in time. We know that we exist right now, not in the past or the future, but we don’t really accept the fact. So we fret over the past and the future without really doing anything to accept the past and change the future. Basically, we try too hard. Centring really helps with this; it makes us focus on the now, not by trying not to think of the past and future, but by being aware that they aren’t now.

There’s this idea that if you’re meditating ‘properly,’ you won’t notice time. This is half true, but half false. It depends very much on how often you meditate and what you are meditating for. If you are meditating to achieve a ‘blank’ state, fine, but if all you are after is better health and peace of mind, even meditation sessions that feel like they are doing no good at all are actually very useful.

Meditation may not feel like it is ‘doing anything’ at the time, but regular practice can be significantly helpful in dealing with stress.

If you are familiar with yoga, useful poses for meditation are the corpse, the half-lotus, and the mountain.

This website is copyright © Maire K. C. Smith 2006. All rights reserved. For all enquiries contact Maire K. C. Smith.