A state of unintentional awareness is something we have to work towards, and for this we can use a number of meditation techniques. These are not the actual goal of meditation, but they help to train your attention and keep your spirit awake.
To get ready for your meditation, it is helpful to wander through your body from top to bottom using full attention while consciously relaxing.
Remain at each of these points for a few seconds. Completely feel inside the particular location until it feels warm and soft:
- Relax yourself from head to toes
- Sit upright with your shoulders hanging loose
- Straighten up to your full size
- Breathe in deeply and let all the tension flow out of you while exhaling
- Feel your scalp from your hairline to the back of your head â€“ let go of all tension
- Feel your forehead â€“ all smooth. The corners of your eyes are relaxed
- The area around your nose is soft
- Feel into the area between the tip of your nose and the upper lip
- Feel your lips and the corners of your mouth â€“ maybe thereâ€™s a very gentle smile
- Ease your oral cavity, your tongue is loose
- Relax your cheeks and your jaw
- Feel your neck and let go of all strain
- Your arms lie loosely in your lap
- Sense the heat in your fingers
- Your chest is wide, and your breathing is calm
- Experience how your abdominal wall rises and lowers with every breath you take – Be aware of every sensation that your breathing creates inside your stomach
- The region around your shoulder blades is soft
There are many contents on which you can focus your mind, in order not to be ripped away by your thoughts. You can concentrate on your breathing, the airflow at the tip of your nose or on the resistance that is created by the base on which youâ€™re meditating.
If youâ€™re trying to explain how good an apple tastes, you can find words for it. But these words will give the other person only a faint impression of how an apple really tastes. Meditation is like any other experience in life, much more comprehensive than one could ever explain with flowery terms.
Many of us are constantly pursuing happiness. We put a lot of effort into finding it by hoping and fearing at work, in relationships or other external things. When meditating for a while, we find that this happiness is not to be found in the outside world. It is rather a quality of consciousness that is accessible to everybody, at any time.
We donâ€™t have to go anywhere, know anybody, know anything, nor buy anything â€“ the state of happiness exists within every one of us already. This feeling of the â€śHome of the spiritâ€ť is such a new experience and so reassuring that we start to see things in a different light.
In Buddhist meditation practice, emphasis is placed on not resting until a perfect state of enlightenment has been achieved. An ultimate super-fruit, so to say, that never lessens nor shrivels, and that means the end of all suffering.
But the fruits of meditation are numerous. Often they are subtle, sometimes overwhelming, and they are accessible to all. For those who donâ€™t want to follow the â€śultimate goal,â€ť here are a few medically verifiable effects of meditating:
- Balance and inner peace help you to overcome fears, depression and insomnia.
- Awareness and the ability to concentrate help you to deal with conditions causing chronic pain, diseases and disorders such as tinnitus.
- The deeply relaxed state while meditating relieves psychosomatic problems, like headaches, gastrointestinal disorder or burn-out syndrome.
Overcoming your inner demons isnâ€™t always easy. Meditation is pleasant and satisfying, but it also takes a lot of discipline and determination to concentrate on achieving undivided attention.
And that little man in your head isnâ€™t of any assistance either. As soon as youâ€™re sitting there, ready for your first meditation, he comes up telling you â€ťUh- this meditation thing really bores meâ€ť, and â€śWhy am I actually doing this?â€ť and â€śHey- whatâ€™s on TV tonight!?â€ť.
In short: It is pretty easy to find reasons not to meditate. We need every support that we can get in order to motivate ourselves to practise every day. Sometimes we need a little help to overcome our doubts, master the obstacles and to inspire ourselves to continue.
The â€śMeditation Time Appâ€ť helps you with your first and most important step: To set a fixed time frame for your meditations. In your mind, you promise yourself to devote the whole time, up to the last second, to developing your consciousness, relaxed but with a clearly focused mind.
Under â€śTeachingsâ€ť you can find a short overview of the most important aspects of how to meditate. The website â€śMeditation-Time.orgâ€ť provides you with the possibility to share your experiences and to receive guidance and inspiration from fellow meditators.
I wish you courage, perseverance and relaxed serenity for your future mediations.
As meditation requires you to sit still for a while, it is important that you can sustain your posture without major discomfort. As a beginner, you should not attempt to sit in the full lotus position (with your feet placed on your thighs), because this will make your hips hurt right away.
Generally, it is necessary to sit upright with a straight spine not leaning on a backrest. You can sit on a chair or kneel on a thick cushion. As your body wonâ€™t be used to sitting without movement and even the kneeling position is new to your knees, you have to be patient with your body and extend your meditation sessions gradually.
Especially as a beginner, you will often be distracted by all kinds of pains and aches in your body. In my opinion, it is better to find as comfortable a position as possible (still with your back straight…) rather than trying to be brave. The more you get into meditation, the more you will just notice your sensations without being distracted by them.
Meditation is all about acquiring a state of open, non-judgmental, and non-discursive attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Cultivating this quality of mind has been shown to modulate pain, mitigate anxiety and depression, improve cognitive function, and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness.
Besides all these nice and reasonable but somewhat dry benefits, meditation is the path to finally enjoying a mind that is undisturbed by worry, merely open like the sky, and effortlessly aware of the flow of experience in the present.
Meditation and religion
Meditation has a very long tradition in just about every religion, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism and Christianity. If you feel comfortable with any of these, you can practise meditation in that context – if not, meditation will work equally fine for you because it is also independent of any belief system.
There are many spiritual teachings out there promising everything if you just believe in what someone else tells you. Meditation is the opposite of this. It is not about believing anything, but about finding out for yourself what happens if you stop the bad habit of thinking all the time.
Still sitzen und nichts denken klingt sehr einfach. Doch der Strom der Gedanken scheint nicht stoppen zu wollen. Vielleicht vergisst du wĂ¤hrend der Meditation vor lauter Nachdenken fĂĽr eine ganze Weile, warum du dich eigentlich hingesetzt hast. Oft wird dir wĂ¤hrend des Denkens einfallen, dass du eben das eigentlich nicht wolltest, aber du kannst nicht damit aufhĂ¶ren, weil genau dieser Gedanke jetzt so wichtig ist, dass du dieses nur noch schnell abschlieĂźen musst, bevor du wieder aufhĂ¶rst zu denken.
Und dann wirst du dich ĂĽber dich selber Ă¤rgern, weil es dir anscheinend ganz und gar nicht gelingen will, dabei mĂĽsste es doch eigentlich das einfachste auf der Welt sein.Â
Das wichtigste Gebot von allen ist: bleib entspannt, Ă¤rgere dich nicht. Man kann in der Mediation nichts falsch machen. Wenn du einem Gedanken nachhĂ¤ngst, hast du nicht versagt, sondern es ist das was du seit Jahrzehnten gemacht hast. Gewohnheiten Ă¤ndern sich nicht durch deinen Entschluss, selbst die Kontrolle ĂĽber deine Gedanken zu ĂĽbernehmen. Das Ă„ndern dieser Gewohnheit erfordert sehr viel Geduld, Hingabe und Nachsicht mit sich selbst. Den einzigen Fehler, den du begehen kannst, ist also Ehrgeiz zu entwickeln und dich selbst zu schelten, weil du dich nicht so lange und grĂĽndlich konzentrieren kannst, wie du es wolltest.
Sehe die Gedanken wie Wolken. Sie kommen ganz von selbst, du kannst sie nicht aufhalten. Doch genau wie Wolken ziehen die Gedanken vorĂĽber. Lass sie einfach weiterziehen oder an ihnen festzuhalten. LĂ¤chle ĂĽber die Vielzahl und Vehemenz der Gedanken, die dich mit allen Mitteln immer wieder in Ihren Bann schlagen wollen.Â