Whether you are experienced or new to meditation, let’s talk about meditation in a new light. It has long held a reputation in the west that makes it seem mystical, difficult, culturally different, and not something people routinely add to their day.
If you were to interview 1000 of the ultra-successful people you would find that the vast majority have a practice based on meditation. They will refer to it in different ways. Usually it will be described in a way that is comfortable for their culture, experience or belief system. They may call it mindfulness, meditation, or even prayer.
Here are some benefits in you are new to meditation
- Reducing stress
- Increasing focus
- Increasing self-awareness, happiness, peace, and joy
- Improving healthy living
- It has a significant impact in your life
What they share is the collective belief that time is needed to rest, rejuvenate, and empower the one thing that makes everything else possible. “Presence of Mind” let’s us clearly see what is important and be open to what is possible.
Types of Meditation
Comparing meditation to sports is a great way to understand it. There are many different types of meditation and each is undertaken for different reasons. Just like sports has soccer or swimming, or boxing, meditation has its own categories. They can be grouped by:
- Mantra-based: repetition of a word or phrase over and over again
- Observational: sitting in a calm state and watching the thoughts that come up
- Concentrative: focus on the breath, a gong, or a sound
- Aspirational: cultivate a quality
To simplify things, know that there are many different ways that meditation is practiced but a few meditation habits that make the changes in your life possible. With so many meditation traditions and styles, know that anyone proclaiming that there is only “one way” is way off base. Here are some general meditation tips:
- There are no rules: Don’t get caught up in the way it’s done. You don’t need to buy anything special.
- Start small: Choose just a few minutes.
- No expectations: Don’t expect to have good or great meditations. Have sessions that you don’t feel anything. It is about the process and the eventual momentum.
- Make a commitment: The benefits can be seen after a series of small changes. Meditate for short periods for 30 days.
- Choose the path that feels right to you. There are many types and heritages of meditation. Choose whatever you connect with and seems doable to you.
“Meditation: Because some questions cannot be answered by Google.”Unknown
Steps to Get a Meditation Routine Going
- Find a quiet place to sit: If you are new to meditation, don’t agonize over your posture. You want an erect spine but choose a chair or cushions that are comfortable to you.
- Set your intention: Just think about the type of meditation and set your intention about what you would like to accomplish.
- Set a time if you are beginning: The whole idea of meditation can be daunting. Set and timer so that your mind is willing to work on focusing because it knows there is an end near.
- Focus on your intention: Think about your intention and when your mind interrupts you, just gently return to your intention.
- Focus with the Dot Method: Use the Dot Method described in the Advanced Methods section to accurately focus your mind for a short period of time. It is incredible useful for minds that are difficult to focus and quiet down (e.g. all of ours!).
- Bring your mediation to a close. 5-10 minutes/day is great for beginners. Consistency trumps perfection.
Once you get the hang of meditation, you can dive deeper around a specific thought, incorporate imagination, and even express some gratitude during your session. Structure is not necessary for every day.
Readers of Tai Chi Basics consistently ask for resources to start meditating or improve their practice. I have become a big fan of the Art of Mushin Meditation Study Course because it is accessible to everyone – everywhere and is a good blend of hands-on practice, explanation, and science. Successfully adopting a meditation habit is a lot easier when you some explanation to give you the buy-in needed to keep going and to understand what you are doing. You also benefit from having really good materials to re-reference and to use at what ever pace you choose to go at. The Art of Mushin takes all of this into consideration.
Tai chi practitioners benefit greatly from undertaking meditation. Think of it as isolating one aspect of the art to practice which you then move back inside the tai chi form or qi gong set. This is the program that I suggest to people of all levels. Beginners get off on the right foot with a solid framework and understanding. Practitioners who have dabbled in meditation advance their practice. I wish that I had found something this organized when I begin. I can’t image where I would be today! Here is expert instruction on how to add a powerful meditative practice to your routine. No experience necessary.