“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.” – Sogyal Rinpoche
Meditation, like exercise, is often one of those things that, yes, we agree is very beneficial but nevertheless is squished out of the daily to-do’s or completely negated.
Whether you’re an experienced meditator or someone who’s never tried it before in your life, I’m here to remind you (hopefully not annoyingly:-) that the advantages of meditating far outweigh the cost of 10-30 or so minutes a day. For 100 psychological, physiological and spiritual reasons to meditate I invite you to scan through this list benefits of meditation
Personally I’ve had a very sporadic relationship with meditation over the last 9 years. I’ve explored different types of meditation in meditation classes, through yoga, angel therapy and on my own; guided, mindfulness, angel, loving-kindness, yoga nidra, dance meditation, mindfulness walking, eating meditations- all sorts. And I’ve also gone from a disciplined Buddhist-style practice, daily, to not at all to now and then. Now I have a short daily practice, which I vary to suit my dislike of routine and sameness.
I, too, have procrastinated in my practice. Yet due to meditations overwhelming ability to quell my sensitive mind, put me in touch with my spiritual nature (who I really am) and create residual serenity I will not-ever-stop practice permanently.
Today I’ve pooled together the top 5 best meditation tips to boost and inspire your practice, tips I wish I’d known 9 years ago, to motivate you to sojourn your mind from the world of doing and slide it into beautiful beingness.
1) It’s oftentimes recommended that you sit in easy pose with your back erect during your practice. (If this is your preferred method I’d highly recommend perching your bottom on a moon-shaped meditation pillow or yoga block to help keep your spine straight). This was especially impressed on me during my years in mindfulness meditation class. Yes, there is the danger that you could fall asleep lying on your back (if that often happens with you, meditate before bed, or at a time when falling asleep doesn’t matter) but lying down on your back with your arms and legs slightly splayed at your side, palms up, is so much more relaxing and enticing. Think savasana pose…
2) If/when meditating sitting upright, close your eyes, roll your eyeballs upwards to concentrate on your third eye brow chakra which is one inch upwards, just above the intersection of where your brows meet and about 2 inches inwards from your forehead. If you were to look at yourself, you may well see the bottom whites of your eyes rolling through the fluttering curtain of your eyelids. The third eye chakra is an Indigo or Royal Blue spinning energy center which governs our intellect, intuition and increases our spiritual awareness. You may inwardly see this swirling disk of royal blue energy in your minds eye as you do this. Knowing what this chakra governs also indicates why concentrating on it lifts your consciousness out of the world of form and physical and into the splendorous wonder of the spiritual.
This is powerful. I only learnt this technique a few months ago, thanks to my new class in Kundalini yoga, and it has turned my whole practice around.
3) Meditate in company. Just as the power of prayer is multiplied when done with others so too the effects of meditation. Not only this but you will learn so much more having a led practice, usually held by a meditation teacher. Having a class to report back to will motivate your home practice too.
The most sublime experience of my entire life happened during my Angel Practitioner Training in London a few years ago. Our class of 50 was doing an instructor led Archangel Michael meditation. During the meditation my closed eyelids started to impulsively flutter at a rapid speed as this euphoric, energized vibration engulfed me. It was like the purest, most thrilling drug. I recall asking Archangel Michael to increase this exhilarating feeling, a high like I’ve never ever experienced before or since. Big tear blobs began to roll down my hot cheeks, joy provoked.
After class I spoke to my teachers, Tina Marie Daly and Charles Virtue, about my experience. They didn’t seem surprised and told me because the energy of the class was so collaboratively strong- so many willing hearts had pooled together for the same purpose- it had sent the vibration tone skyward to that high energetic plane where ethereal beings such as angels dwell.
Try it. Meditating with others can be a very special thing.
4) Don’t start with mindfulness. In the past I’ve recommended this is a good place to start. Why? Because sitting there with no music, no guiding voice, no imagery allows us to just Be and really get to know the inner workings of our mind. We get a front row seat to observe just how much it swings from one subject to the next.
Once you are aware of this, however, mindfulness meditation may not seem that appealing. At least not for the novice meditator. At this early stage I believe the most important thing is to develop a desire to meditate, not viewing it as a chore. So do meditations that you relish. Try increasing the sublimity of your meditation with ethereal music, a guiding voice to take you on an inner journey, chanting, tools such as burning incense or lavender eye pillows. Maybe try lying down to meditate after a sweaty workout session to marinate in the generated serotonin energy. These really are just gorgeous ways to invite a positive and inspiring space for a meditation practice to flourish from.
5) Many of us still hold onto a lot of tension through our face when we meditate. Consciously drop your jaw, your cheek muscles, unwrinkle your furrowed brow and- if you’re meditating sitting up- tuck your tongue behind the back of your front teeth. Feel the release. Remember how inextricably your body and mind and are connected. We often concentrate on our body during meditation and negate to relax our head; this is the house of our overworked mind so it needs some Ah time just as much.
Meditation is a key to connect you from this world into another. We get to meet our timeless, Source-connected, all-pervasive inner selves. It’s no wonder meditation is a corner stone to so many religions.
Seasoned meditators always seem to have this dewy- eyed calm nature and way of speaking, like they are serenely straddled between this world and our spiritual Home. I’m thinking of the likes of Deepak Chopra, who says he meditates for two hours daily, from 4am, and the Egoless Eckhart Tolle, who never seems the least bit disturbed by this physical world of form and pain and strife.
Again our good old resource You Tube is a wonderful way to get started, its bursting at the seams with all kinds of different meditations. It’s a personal thing though, try some of the meditations I mentioned trying or just sit/lie down and concentrate on that magical third eye area we mentioned in point 2.
As always I love to hear your thoughts. Have a bright and beautiful weekend Bright Siders!
“Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are.” Ani Pema Chodron