Having and maintaining a meditation practice can change your life, something about taking the time for introspection is freeing. Whether you are doing it to find answers to the most meaningful questions of existence or you want a better way to metabolize stress, meditation is a powerful tool to incorporate into your life to either end. Plus you look hella cool doing it (way cooler than Oprah and Deepak just sayin…). One of the cornerstones of practice is the intention to begin. Though it can be done with mere moments at a time it is still necessary to have the intention to practice. We as human beings are capable of great things once we put our mind to them even more so when there is a clear purpose. As you advance throughout your career as a meditator never forget this moment, the moment you decided to begin and why. It will serve you well, both to drive and steer you. Okay intention… engaged, let’s talk preliminaries to practice.
Obviously it’s necessary to pick a time and a place in which you are able to be calm and alert. Meditation is an unusual task as it is, we don’t need undue distractions or to be excessively sleepy, or hungry etc. Try to start in a pretty neutral mode. As you grow in your practice distraction from the task will be less of an issue. Cars, birds, neighbors all that stuff will just be present and you won’t mind. However, in the beginning don’t think you’re just gonna pop a lotus position on the bus and become Enlightened by the next stop. Besides sitting on the floor of the bus you’ll look silly and the floor will most likely be sticky, plus you’ll have to thank the driver when you get off the bus… moving on. Some prefer morning meditation and still others the evening, don’t stress the specific choice and be flexible until something feels most natural, you’ll know. Try to remember that what you’re after is not a natural mode of operation for your brain so remain patient, persistent, and, kind to yourself. Now that we have established our intent to practice and the right time and place, let’s outline what the practice is exactly
Webster’s defines meditation as “…engaging in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”. Now that we have established the definition, you gonna want to forget that crap. Meditation is the most intimate you on you experience you can have shy of those blush inducing explanations of why you take so long in the shower. That being said your own definition of the practice is what matters and it will continue to evolve breath by breath. Some are in such a rush to put names on their practice. To many people want to name drop on their practice, “Oh this is: Insight meditation, loving kindness meditation, or mindfulness meditation”. Obviously the technique has a name but don’t hang on it. You’re practice will be bigger than reddit meditation don’t let them tell you what is either. Even an earnestly practiced guided meditation(which some scoff at) can have tremendous value. Personalizing is not only perfectly okay but that is how it’s supposed to be. As you move in this new found mode things that matter will come into focus and things that don’t matter, will truly slide for the first time in your whole life. The biggest point I want to stress is don’t rush to define and label the thing experience it. Most of the time the labels we put on things are nothing more than our own crosses to bear. Once you start to maintain a practice you’ll begin to see changes in yourself.
Meditation changes a person and these changes are completely natural. In fact the changes will bleed over like the time you accidently left that red shirt in with the whites except this time all will be better for it. As your practice becomes a mainstay in your life you’ll begin to notice things about yourself and the world around you. Meditation will become so natural and effortless you will begin to feel like you’re doing it everyday 24/7. Which is more or less true after a while. When you cultivate Mindfulness more you’ll learn to see things like when you’re anger is coming, when you’ve had enough, why you have certain feelings arise. Practice everyday will allow you to experience your humanity right to it’s very edges. This is the beauty of meditation it is a journey with no tangible goal, no ending. In fact if you think you’ve found and ending or goal, go ahead and start over because you fell off the path.
Regardless of your specific spiritual discipline there is only gain to be had from a meditation practice, sick gains in fact (bruh). Don’t let snooty Christians, sassy Jains, or, salty Zoroastrians keep you from a daily practice that benefits you and, in short order, all those around you. Now is the time for you to take ownership of your being and become as “You” as you want to. Your mind, body, and, spirit will thank you. And remember meditation is a game, like most, you never lose, you win or you learn