Yesterday ChefQuix asked me for a link to a meditation tutorial. The online tutorials I found were overly complex, so I wrote him a simple tutorial myself.
I learnt to meditate near Cape Tribulation, Australia, in a small clearing in the Daintree rainforest. I’ve practiced meditation (on and off) for the past 5 years. Recently I’ve started meditating at work during my lunch hour.
In short, meditation is the practice of stilling the mind, the art of focusing on not-focusing.
I recommend stretching before hand. If you know yoga, start with 3 - 5 sun salutations, otherwise try the following:
Try to touch your toes. If you can’t reach them, grab as low as you can on your legs and hold on. When you breath in, (still tucked down), straighten your legs, when you breath out try to grasp further down your legs. Do this for 3 breaths and slowly stand back up.
Next, reach upwards, fingers wide apart, stretching your arms/hands towards the ceiling. Release after 2-3 breaths.
Repeat 3 or 5 times, starting with the toe touching.
It’s important to be comfortable. Wear compfy, loose clothes.
I don’t recommend trying to sit lotus. I sit cross legged. You can also sit in a chair with a straight back, (both you and the chair), with your feet flat on the ground. Sit on a small cushion if you want.
If you are uncomfortable while meditating, do something about it: scratch that itch, shift your legs, etc. Just don’t get obsessed with finding the perfect position.
Keep your spine straight. Not only will this improve your posture by strengthen your lower back, but it will also allow for the optimal air-flow to your lungs.
During meditation your hands will be on your lap, palms up, one over the other, with your thumbs touching.
Meditation (Focus on breath / counting):
This one is easiest for beginners.
Sit still, and clear your mind. Breath through your nose. Focus on the point where the air enters your body, and on the expanding / contracting of your lungs. Count your out-breaths. When you reach 10, return to 1. If you loose count or end up above 10, return to 1.
Meditation (White Light):
Sit still, and clear your mind. Breath through your nose. Focus on your third eye (centre upper forehead). Imagine a small white light centred there. On each out-breath expand this light until it fills your vision.
Learn to control the position of the light, move it around your body, bringing your awareness along for the ride.
Sit still, and clear your mind. Breath through your nose. You can begin by focusing on your breath (no need to count), and work towards a focus-free mindfulness.
Sit still, and clear your mind. As slowly as possible, breath in through your nose while counting. Once your lungs are full, hold your breath for the same count. Then, breath out for the same count. With each breath you will try to increase the count. Your goal is 20 seconds, (this may take many sittings.) Do this for 2-5 minutes before meditating.
When (not if) a thought drifts by, observe it, and release it. Do not control your breaths, observe them.
Start by trying to meditate for 5-10 minutes, and build from there. Your first few attempts may be write-offs, your mind alternating between stillness and racing thoughts.
I’ve started meditating with my eyes partially open, there’s two schools of thought on this. Play around.
The first three shows at ZenCast are meditation timers in mp3 format. You play them to time your sessions. They work much better than an alarm clock because they signal the end-point with ambient music —less jaring than a: BEEP BEEP BEEP.