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Tue Jun 4, 2019, 11:22 AM

Starting a daily meditation practice.

Are you thinking about starting to meditate? I've been at it for almost a year, and, while by no means an expert, I'm going to pass along a few tips from what I've learned from study and my practice.

When I first started to meditate, I found it very difficult to sit quietly for even 10 minutes. Then I ran across some guided meditations that really helped to condition me to sit for longer periods of time. The ones I used are from Sacred Acoustics. You can find them on the web. I'm in no way affiliated with them. Most of their meditations are 39 minutes, and some of them are longer. I can now sit for that period of time with no problems with the recordings or in silence. My longest meditation session was a little over 2.5 hours. I never thought I'd be able to do something like that when I first started out, but I can now.

It's not necessary to be able to sit in the traditional lotus position or even to sit simply cross-legged. I tried that when I first started out, and I just could not get comfortable with it. It's okay to sit in a chair. The important thing is that you keep your back as straight as possible. I use one of our dining room table, straight-backed, wooden chairs. I sit a little bit away from the back of the chair so that my back is not resting on it and sit up straight. There is a good example of the posture for sitting this way in a short video on www.yogananda.org

A common misconception about meditation is that you have to somehow stop thinking. That might happen naturally over a long period of time in your meditations, but you probably aren't going to be able to force yourself to do it. Try to focus the mind, but don't worry about it if it wanders. When you catch it doing that, gently bring your attention back to the current moment. A good way to do that is to focus on your breath going in and out of your nostrils. You can also use a mantra to help focus the mind.

Be sure to practice every day that you can. I've heard 20 minutes twice a day is good for beginners- once in the morning and once in the evening. As you get more comfortable with it, slowly begin extending your time. Use a timer with an alarm. I've found the one on my cell phone works good for that. When I first started I would sometimes be sitting and start to wonder if I had remembered to start the timer. That can cause agitation. To avoid that, simply check to make sure that your timer is going before you start and make a mental note of it.

Finally, I'd like to tell you that meditation has been totally worthwhile for me. I am happier and more peaceful now than I have been at any point in my life, and I've only been meditating for about 11 months.

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Reply Starting a daily meditation practice. (Original post)
Tobin S. Jun 2019 OP
Shanti Mama Jun 2019 #1
Tobin S. Jun 2019 #2
JudyM Jun 2019 #3
Tobin S. Jun 2019 #4

Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Tue Jun 4, 2019, 11:52 AM

1. Good for you!

Even a couple of minutes once a day is a good start. 2 x 20 would scare off many folks, but 5 minutes feels very doable. Try one of the new apps. They do work.

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Response to Shanti Mama (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 4, 2019, 11:58 AM

2. 10-4

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Tue Jun 4, 2019, 03:06 PM

3. The 5 Hindrances can be a useful reference framework, as well, for keeping the mind clear while

meditating. Being aware of craving, aversion, torpor, restlessness and doubt. It makes awareness/naming of distractions and letting them go quite a bit quicker.

http://insightmeditationcenter.org/articles/FiveHindrances.pdf

Congratulations on finding your meditation groove!

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Response to JudyM (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 9, 2019, 05:50 PM

4. Thank you.

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