I have yet to meet someone who can empty their mind, and spend an hour in a thoughtless meditative state. I’ve met monks who tell me they still struggle with meditation. Even they have days where they can’t get into it.
The simplicity of the practice – focusing on your breath – does not mean it is easy.
Many people confused meditation
Most people who think they are meditating are just sitting with their eyes closed. And that’s ok, It is a fine place to start. Even experienced meditators find themselves falling into this trap. But to make the most out of your practice you have to go deeper.
Sitting silently, focusing on your breath, can feel like torture if you don’t have the right expectations. I’m a sloppy meditator at best. Over the past few years I’ve started (and quit) meditating dozens of times. This has made me feel like a failure. The main reason I quit was because I expected to be able to sit for hours and to achieve a peaceful state within a matter of breaths.
Meditation is hard. And it should be. If it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing, the struggle causes you to grow. There are times when I sit down to meditate and I cannot quiet my mind for a moment, and that’s okay. The attempt in and of itself will help you to align your thoughts and pays dividends throughout the day. Every attempt to meditate should be viewed as a success, since you are working towards bettering yourself.
Tips on how to meditate.
- Find a quiet place, somewhere that you can sit for a few minutes and won’t be disturbed. Ear plugs might be helpful. As could a darkened room.
- Sit comfortably. You could sit in a chair, on a pillow, or leaning against a wall. It’s probably best not to lay down
- Close your eyes. Take a long inhale through your nose. Exhale deeply.
- Do this a few times and allow your breath to return to a normal cycle. Notice the points of contact between your body and the floor or the chair. Notice the sensations of sitting. Do you feel any pressure, warmth, tingling, or vibrations? Practice the art of noticing.
- Gradually focus your attention on your breath. Do you feel the breath entering and leaving your nose?
- Allow your attention to rest here – focused on your breath entering and leaving through your nose.
- Thoughts are going to pop up. That’s ok. Acknowledge them, and let them to pass. Return your focus to the sensation of breath entering and leaving your nose.
- If you begin to feel new sensations in your body allow your mind to focus on them. But don’t linger too long.