Is there a secret to living a satisfying life? There is no one secret. There are several simultaneous practices that lead to having a satisfying life. Almost all counselors and doctors out there are yelling that meditation eliminates or takes the edge off of things that keep us unsatisfied.
Many of us continue to ignore this wise advice about this powerful one-of-a-kind tool. Among them are the folks who say “No thank you, I can make it in life without a crutch; meditation is for wimps.” However…
All the preaching about the benefits of meditation is backed up by science. Meditation is good for us. It’s high-quality mental rest. And when we rest this way daily, the quality of our mental rest keeps improving and better sustains and and relaxes us. This is scientific fact. A daily practice is the goal and is the gold standard.
Why wouldn’t one take advantage of such a valuable tool that’s free? Well, there’s the time it takes, and it’s not easy to establish a daily practice. What? Why?
Here’s some of my own experiences with meditation. My ego or identity is threatened by my meditating because it feels it may loose its captain’s chair and no longer be in charge of my human animal, and it also fears it might disappear completely, so it makes excuses and gives reasons not to meditate today which I’m highly tempted to follow because I’m the one who put forth the suggestion. So, be prepared to deal with this by talking back to yourself by saying something like “Nice try!”
I think of meditation as medicine which gives me a better way for me to exist. An analogy: Should I get rid of the eat-less mindset and replace it with eating only healthy food?
How to meditate:
Sit in a chair (hard-to-do cross-legged positions are not necessary). Start by relaxing—from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet (or vice versa). This takes less than a minute: head, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, back, mid-body, upper legs, lower legs, and feet. Then…
Begin to pay attention to the ins and outs of your breath
or you can start by repeating a mantra like shaaammmm or aaaooommmm. Keep the m sound going until it fades away and then repeat the mantra again. You can go back and forth from attention to the breath to a mantra if you wish.
The goal is to stop our constant use of language, and paying attention to your breath or repeating a mantra are tools for that.
During meditation you will interrupt yourself often by starting to think of various things such as “I need to go to the store for…” or “When am I going to get the chance to…” or “Why was so-in-so so happy this morning…” etc. etc. This is normal even for long-term meditators.
How to deal with it: When you realize you are using language, don’t condemn yourself for not being perfect. Just notice it and go back to noticing your breathing or repeating your mantra. Beginning to think while meditating is part of meditation and happens to all meditators all the time, so live and prosper with the noticing of your language habit.
Twenty minutes twice-a-day or forty minutes once-a-day is recommended. Forty minutes gives a deeper experience. On days when meditation is not possible, even five minutes will keep your daily meditation practice in place.
All meditators miss a day or days, but a daily practice is what to strive for. It’s best to make meditation a habit because then your body will let you know when you miss meditating. I have begun my practice anew many many times over the years. All the best, Marvin