Meditation: Doing It Right go back to Thoughts page
Many people find it challenging to learn meditation on their own. “This feels a little strange,” and “Am I doing it right?” are common thoughts when starting a new practice.
I remember my early meditation days. In 1996, finding a truly helpful book about beginning a meditation practice was difficult; finding a suitable meditation CD was even harder. Finding a meditation group that fit my schedule, pocketbook, and preferences took some time too.
But with perseverance I found a few good books, some CDs, and eventually, a meditation group. What I liked best about the group was sharing our experiences. Hearing others say “I had trouble concentrating,” or “I heard the words ‘go up the stairs’ and then I don’t remember anything else,” helped me feel—well, normal, because I had those experiences sometimes too.
Today, excellent books on meditation are readily available, and one can listen to samples from meditation CDs before making a purchase. A wide variety of meditation groups and classes are offered in many areas. Yet with all of these resources, the experience of beginning a meditation practice calls forth questions—questions that I am asked again and again by students.
Which meditation should I practice? Start with something simple. Just select one that appeals to you, and try it for several weeks.
How often should I meditate? Daily is optimal. If this proves difficult, set a comfortable personal goal and adjust it as needed. Don’t let your meditation practice become a chore on your to-do list.
When is the best time to meditate? Meditation is helpful before periods of activity, so morning is often recommended. Many people also find it relaxing after a busy day. And quick meditations throughout the day, especially during stressful situations, can be beneficial. Try various times of day to see which works best for you.
How long do I meditate each time? Twenty-minute sessions work well with the body’s natural rhythms, yet many people are content with a total meditation time of 10 to 15 minutes. For beginners I recommend brief sessions, perhaps five minutes long (five minutes every day is better than an hour once a week). As you learn to love meditation, you will create more time for it.
Should I meditate at the same time of day each time? This is not necessary, although many people like to choose a time of day and stick with it, especially because it helps in forming a positive habit.
What posture is best? Specific postures may be recommended for certain meditations, but generally, sitting in whatever position you find comfortable is best.
What if I am interrupted? If possible, wait a few seconds before responding. You can minimize interruptions by unplugging the phone and placing a “do not disturb” sign on the door.
Am I doing it right? Yes. A common mistake is to overanalyze meditation. There is no single correct way to meditate, and there is no such thing as failure. Just enjoy and accept. And remember, a meditation practice is like a physical fitness program: the benefits increase over time.
Copyright © 2007 by Joanne Franchina
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