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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
If you wish to reprint any of these "Thoughts to Share" in your own newsletters, websites, and message boards, simply tell me where you will reprint and include the following attribution: “Joanne Franchina is a life coach, medium, instructor and writer, and the founder of Inner Compass, a life coaching and spiritual counseling practice.  Joanne helps empower and inspire people to live fulfilling lives by applying their own inner wisdom in everyday situations.  Learn to use your inner compasshttp://www.yourinnercompass.com/.” 

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