You may have heard a lot of claims from various teachers that they have the only way to learn how to meditate properly.
People will tell you that they have the one technique that will solve all of your problems. You may try some of these techniques and still not figure out how to properly enter a consistent state of meditation.
The truth is that there is no particular way to meditate properly.
There is no one meditation technique that works for everyone. It is also true that there is exactly one way to meditate.
This may seem like a contradiction, but it is not.
When you learn how to meditate properly it is a matter of finding the methods that you are most compatible with.
You will learn how to create YOUR most proper meditation routine so that you are compatible with every aspect of your practice and here are the steps:
- Choose a proper object of focus.
Concentration is one of the fundamentals of meditation. You can think of concentration as falling in love.
Find an object that you can fall in love with so that you enter a state of deep, loving absorption. This can be a visualization of a nature scene, a line of a calming song or the feeling of your own breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.
The art of learning how to meditate properly can greatly depend on the object that you choose.
Concentrate on your object of focus. Sit down and hold your attention on your object of focus. This may be hard at first, but it becomes easier with practice.
Your object is like someone you love. Act accordingly. When the mind wanders, follow the next step. Calmly watch your thoughts in the present moment. Trying to stop all thought is not learning how to meditate properly. You’ll be sadly disappointed if you try to do this.
Instead, take note of the thoughts. Use the word “thinking” to help you become mindful of thought processes as they occur.
Your thoughts are the waves as you learn how to meditate.
They are more vulnerable than you are because you are the deep, vast and still ocean itself. Keep this in mind when thoughts come up. After taking note, gently bring your attention back to the object of focus without judgment.
2. Keep a good posture. If you’re doing a sitting meditation, make sure that your arms are resting comfortably and your back is straight.
If you prefer movement meditation such as Tai Chi, then you will obviously be standing.
3. Follow a consistent schedule. Choose a time that is not within 2-3 hours after a meal. Make that your formal practice time. You can dedicate an hour to this or five minutes.
The amount of time does not matter quite as much as creating a consistent habit of meditation in the same time and place daily. It’s consistency that is most important if you want to meditate properly.
4. Make a magic tools list. You have an amazing arsenal of tools that will help you meditate properly. Dig out your favorite spiritual or inspirational poems. Access those serene childhood memories of the river you frequently visited.
Maybe stretching calms you and anchors you in the present moment. You may also have favorite things to visualize. Some people are recharged by a jog around the block. Keep that list handy for the next step.
5. Work meditation into your day. Everyone has down times at traffic lights, grocery store lines, elevators, etc. Even a series of 30 second meditation sessions can accumulate into a profound sense of peace. This will help you learn how to meditate easier.
6. Take stretch breaks. Shake out tension in your joints. Pray. Read scripture. Give thanks for all of life’s blessings one by one.
All these things will add up below the level of consciousness until you cannot help but meditate properly.
7. Do physical warm ups before meditation. Many people use warm up exercises to learn how to meditate properly. Whip out that magic tools list again.
Are there physical exercises on that list such as self massage, stretching, yoga poses or shaking loose? Before you do your formal meditation, start with these items. The physical body is the grossest level of energy followed by emotions, imaginations and other subtle aspects of mind.
It helps to begin with the gross levels before you access the more subtle ones as you learn how to meditate. Generate feeling in your body and loosen up tension. To meditate properly, you need to be in a calm yet energized state of mind. Physical exercises will help you to properly prepare your mind and body for a meditative state.
8. Do emotional and intellectual warm ups before meditation. I’m sure that you have some of these in your magic tools list.
The act of reading scripture or inspiring literature is a good exercise for the intellect. There is one school of Christian contemplatives who use the Bible as part of their “stepladder to heaven”.
As they read the passages, they accumulate meditative qualities such as joy. This becomes the vehicle they use to meditate properly when it’s time to sit and contemplate.
9. Follow the above warm ups with breathing exercises. Learn the art of diaphragmatic breathing and fill your lungs to capacity. You will oxygenate your whole system and learn how to meditate and quiet your mind and body faster.
This will calm your nerves and prepare you for your formal meditation session while you learn how to meditate.
There are lots of traditions that use breathing exercises to help the practitioner meditate properly.
Western yoga has “pranayama” exercises such as alternate nostril breathing, abdominal breathing, bellows breathing and many other techniques that calm the mind so that learning how to meditate becomes easier.
10. Let go of expectations. Meditation is a long term training process. Many practitioners look for particular feelings of ecstasy as signs that they know how to meditate.
During meditation, you will feel bliss, joy, sadness, anger, boredom and just about every feeling that it’s possible to feel. This is true even when you’re meditating properly. These are like waves on the ocean. They rise and fall.
Waves become disturbed by wind, boats, jumping fish and other factors. The ocean is imperturbable, infinite and still. You are the ocean. Just be present with the waves as they rise and fall.
The more you access and become the still ocean, the more consistently you will discover the underlying bliss behind the waves.
Once you have learned how to meditate, stay consistent in your meditation practice, and you will discover in the long term that you knew how to meditate properly all along.
Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course.
Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized process for busy people and everyone else of all religious backgrounds, temperaments and lifestyles.
He also teaches meditation in human resources environments so that companies can learn how to prevent burnout and boost the bottom line. From doctors to cab drivers, people from all walks of life have discovered how to meditate properly as unique individuals using Tom’s programs. Tom’s website is where you can find more techniques on how to meditate.