Here’s the experience of a guided mindful meditation presented graphically. Intriguing and surprisingly accurate. It’s presented at mindful.org as a quick way to learn meditation.
Nice post on meditationSHIFT (the 9/2 entry in their “daily musings” section) about dealing with discomfort in meditation, and by extension, in life. This is a topic not adequately addressed in most mindfulness material, and can be one of the chief stumbling blocks one encounters while attempting to establish a meditation practice.
Some readers made astute observations about things we tend to be uncomfortable about, including meditating. Many people approach the practice with the belief it will be relaxing. Relaxation can be a side-effect, to be sure, but it’s not the goal.
Start meditating for short periods.
The best way to start a meditation practice is simply to start meditating. You’d be surprised at how difficult this can be. We often procrastinate until we find the perfect time. Don’t wait. Start immediately.
Find a quiet place where you can sit for a few minutes without being disturbed. Close your eyes and begin following your breath. Focus your attention on the sensation of the air passing through the tip of your nose. Count your breaths one through five silently in your mind. When you get to five, simply start over again. When you get distracted, immediately bring your attention back to your breath, and continue counting. The counting helps you stay focused.
After a few minutes, stop counting and begin observing the entire breathing process mindfully. When you get distracted, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
Start with about a 10-minute session, then work your way up to about 20 minutes or more. It may be a challenge to sit still in the beginning, but it will get easier as your mind settles down over time.
“Studies by Andrew Newberg and others have shown that long-term practice of meditation produces significant alterations in cerebral blood flow in parts of the brain related to attention, emotion, and some autonomic functions.”
― Oliver Sacks,
Photo by Moyan Brenn
Just a quick note — here’s a website devoted to meditators sharing their experiences and connecting. OpenSit.com
Here’s some text from their About page:
“This movement reflects a wider cultural change in our understanding of meditation. The practices and doctrines of hundreds of previously esoteric traditions are now available to us, and we are free to verify their practical aspects whilst taking apart the unhelpful myths, superstitions, dogmas and falsehoods that prevent the free discussion and dissemination of authentic meditation.
This shift towards transparency and honesty naturally emphasises practice over belief. Journalling your practice is a great way to reflect on your own journey, and sharing your notes is a great way to get support and feedback. OpenSit is firmly built around the practice journal, with an added social element so that you can follow other peoples journals.
The culture surrounding meditation is evolving. OpenSit is community exploring what modern meditation practice means to us, the ways we can support each other, and the effects of meditation itself, from equanimity, to energetics to enlightenment.”
Just a heads up about a website I really recommend. I first came across it from a link to the 23 Types of Meditation posting from the excellent website Live and Dare: Meditation Blog and Non-Sectarian Spirituality. If you’ve ever been confused about all the different types of meditation, what distinguishes them from one another, or just what defines meditation at all — this is a terrific resource.
Author Giovanni Dienstmann methodically lays out the general types, religious groupings (Buddhist, Hindu, TM, Yoga, Self Inquiry, Chinese meditation, Christian meditation, guided meditations). If you don’t learn something after you’ve read this post, then you’re already an expert on meditation.