There are many frequently asked questions about starting a meditation practice, and what you will encounter once you begin.
Here are a few of the most common, FAQ’s and the answers.
What will I gain if I start to meditate regularly?
There are many benefits to be gained from meditation, including less stress, distancing yourself from seemingly overwhelming feelings, eliminating bad habits and conflict, and fostering harmonious relationships. It helps you to see things clearly, as if from a distance, so you can work through whatever challenges crop up instead of being overwhelmed by them.
When is the best time of the day to meditate?
At sunrise, early in the morning is usually the ideal time to meditate. It is usually quiet in the house and outside your window, so there will be less risk of distraction. If it does arise, don’t give up. Bring your focus back to your breath.
The evening is the second best time if you can find a quiet place to do it. The danger is in seeing it as just a form of relaxation after a busy day. This also increases the danger that you will fall asleep rather than meditate.
Therefore, the best time to meditate depends on our lifestyle, family situation and living conditions, and personal circumstances. Bottom line: a dedicated meditation session once a day is better than no meditation at all.
Generally speaking, it is best to keep your eyes closed so you do not get distracted by the pile of laundry in the corner or the stack of paperwork on your desk. Having said that, if you can create a small, peaceful, clutter-free haven for your meditations,
place uplifting items in that area that can help you focus if you do happen to open your eyes.
For example, mandalas and yantras (free-form and geometric depictions of the universe) taped to a wall in one corner of your room, with you facing the corner, can help focus the mind. A candle with matches handy so you can light the candle at
any time will help if you lose focus. A few minutes of candle meditation can improve your awareness greatly. Just be sure to blow it out when your meditation session is done.
How long do I need to meditate for?
At the start of your practice, 5 minutes is plenty. As you continue, though, you should gradually add a minute per session over the course of several weeks until you get up to 15 and then 20 minutes per session.
Do I have to sit on the floor?
No. Sit wherever you are comfortable. Just make sure your spine is straight. And you can also lie down, stand up, or do moving meditations if you wish.
Do I have to sit in Lotus pose?
No. That is just one way to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Your priority is to get comfortable so you can focus on your mental activity, not how painful your body is twisted like a pretzel.
Do I need to have a guru?
The word guru just means teacher. While it does help to have someone experienced in meditation give you helpful hints and tips, doing the practice is an education in itself.
Are guided meditation recordings helpful?
They can be once you have learned how to quiet your mind so you can focus on deeper meditations.
Does music help with the quality of one’s meditation?
It can, once you have learned how to reduce your distraction and mind chatter. The danger is the music can be so relaxing that it might make you fall asleep, or distract you so that you forget the goal of the meditation.At the same time, chanting, mantras, and music designed for meditation can aid in mental transformation.
Should I read a lot of books on meditation?
Not in the early stages. It will usually just confuse you, especially if you pick up a lot of different books because there are many different kinds of meditation.
My head is so full of thoughts. Am I doing my meditation right?
If you notice a lot of thoughts, then you are doing it right. Most people never pay much attention to their mind chatter. By observing it, you can ignore the thoughts that are not helpful, and focus on the ones that are.
Is meditation connected to living in the moment?
It can be. Living in the moment can also be described as being present, aware, as opposed to absent, not aware. Zen meditation is all about being present in the moment.
Can anyone meditate, even seniors and children?
Yes, everyone can meditate once they learn the basics. And children can actually be the best meditators because they are less set in their ways mentally compared with adults. Seniors tend to be less distracted and possess greater wisdom based on experience.
Do I have to wear special clothes when meditating?
Turbans and so on are NOT required. Just dress comfortably so nothing is too tight when you are sitting.
I’m a Christian. Is it okay to meditate?
Meditation does not belong to any particular religion. It is used by some religions as a path to spiritual progress, but meditation techniques pre-date any organized religion. In the East, it has been a traditional healing method for centuries. In Buddhism, it is viewed as the science of the mind. If you get to know your own mind, you can transform your life.
There are many questions and concerns people have when they first begin to think about meditating. The main thing is not to let those questions get in the way, but rather, just try meditation to see how it goes.
Begin with mindfulness meditation and see how it goes. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying.
CLICK HERE for many more Frequently Asked Questions about meditation that you must know to move your practice forward. These FAQ’s will clear up many concepts and misconceptions on how to meditate.