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introduction to meditation

purpose of meditation

rock cairn

Meditation is a process to help us get beyond the concerns of everyday life, the limitations of our mind, our ego in order to experience our essential holistic self and our place in the universe. When we're in a meditative state, we're able to draw on resources we don't ordinarily access and of which we aren't even aware.

 

The expanded level of consciousness we tap into during meditation can get us in touch with pure bliss, a deep feeling of connection to nature and the universe, enhanced well-being and a sense of "knowing." We're likely to come to realizations regarding the purpose and meaning of our lives that elude us when we're bogged down in our daily busy-ness.

caveat: There is no "right" way to meditate. The following are suggestions for meditating that have worked for others including myself. Feel free to experiment.

getting ready to meditate

Decide how long you want to meditate. If you're just starting out, a few minutes may be enough. I suggest setting a timer so you'll know when you're done. This will free you up from thinking about time while you're meditating. You won't need to worry that you'll run over and miss a commitment.


Find a space where you feel comfortable and can be alone without interruptions. This could be a room in your house or even a secluded space outside.

It's best that this space have soft, dim and unobtrusive lighting as well as a consistent comfortable temperature so it's easier for you to relax. Make sure you'll be able to sit or lie comfortably in this space for however long you've chosen to meditate.

lakeside bench

It's helpful to have a sound track available that supports meditation - something relaxing, slow and repetitive such as the samples I've included for you on the resources page. Feel free to use these if you'd like.

meditating

Start your sound track, set your timer, and sit or lie down in your meditation space.

tree roots

Close your eyes to minimize distractions. If your space seems bright, you may find it soothing to cover your eyes with a light-blocking cloth or a sleep mask.

 

Take a few deep, cleansing breaths and imagine any stress you may have being gently released with each of these breaths. 

Imagine your feet and the base of your spine sending "roots" deep into the earth. The purpose is to help you feel grounded and connected to nature.


Scan your body mentally from head to toe focusing on how each part feels. No judgment, no expectations - just an awareness. 

 

Focus on your breathing and stay in the moment. If you find yourself starting to think about everyday concerns (like work, to-do lists, appointments, past issues, future plans), gently brush these aside, re-focus on your breathing and return to being in the present.

It may be helpful for you to imagine you're in a forest, by a lake, on a mountain - whatever location in nature calls to you - and go from there. This may feel like day dreaming. That's OK. Just go with it, feel it, experience it.

 
When the timer goes off, take your time coming back to everyday life. Wiggle your fingers and toes to reconnect with your physical body, take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.

lane through autumn trees

afterward

journal

You may find it useful to record the feelings and experiences you had during meditation in a notebook or journal. This may not seem very worthwhile when you're just beginning your practice of meditation, but going back and reviewing your notes over time may reveal insights not apparent at first.

 

After meditation becomes a habit, you may find it is possible to meditate anywhere and at any time without meditation "tools" such as music and eye coverings. You may even find yourself spontaneously taking mini-meditation breaks throughout the day while at work or play to keep yourself balanced and in touch with universal joy and well-being.

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