Learning How to Meditate Successfully

How to Meditate - 9 Success Factors

Meditate Successfully – 9 Critical Success Factors –  written by Alan Anderson

Make no mistake, learning how to meditate is the most powerful gift you will ever give yourself. Despite the major upside of meditation, very few teachers explain how difficult it can be to meditate successfully. It is frustration that causes many beginners to give up meditation practice well before they reap the wonderful health benefits. I learned the hard way how difficult it is to stay on track. That’s why I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistakes I did.

I had a major health scare over ten years ago. This has led me on the mission to find ways to reduce stress in my life. Through years of research I found out a range of great techniques that helped me to regain my health and well-being.  Meditation has had the most profoundly positive impact on my life. Yet, as a beginner I found it extremely frustrating.

In fact, I nearly gave up in the first year at least a dozen times or more. At my lowest point, I almost convinced myself that I was not capable of learning to meditate deeply. I got very close to pulling the plug completely on meditation practice.

Luckily for me, I did not give up despite many frustrations. Learning to meditate has brought me back my health and allowed me to transform every part of my life. That’s why I have written these tips to help you navigate your way through the likely frustration of meditation.

Long Term Benefits

Meditation has been widely studied in hundreds of University research studies. These studies have measured a wide range of health benefits achieved by long term meditation practitioners. That’s why it’s worth learning to overcome any frustration when learning meditation.

These health benefits include slowing of the aging process, reduced stress levels, lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, improved concentration and mental performance, better sleep, improved memory, increased energy levels and reduced levels of anxiety and depression.

Meditation is a powerful way to transform health and well-being. Unfortunately, reaping the rewards of meditation can take time and regular practice. In fact, meditation can be a bit like going to the gym. We start with lots of enthusiasm until we begin find reasons not to carry on. That’s why I want to help everyone stay on their journey to health and well-being through meditation practice.

So, here are my nine success factors that I hope will help you to stay on track with your meditation practice.

9 Critical Success Factors When Learning How to Meditate

‘Rule Your Mind or It Will Rule You’ …Horace

Meditate - unruly mind

1) Understanding

When I first learned how to meditate my mind was like a very unruly child. I wanted it to be quiet and calm and it jumped around like it was on a sugar rush. This was so frustrating I wanted to scream. The key here is to understand that when you begin your meditation practice an unruly mind is quite normal. Like any unruly child it is best to give them no real attention. Just gently bring your focus back onto your meditation practice.

Accepting and understanding that your mind will wander can really help to reduce your frustration when learning how to meditate.

meditate -mind gym

2) Mind Gym

Learning how to meditate is similar process to becoming fit at the gym. We start off with gusto because we want to form a good habit, making fitness an everyday occurrence and a way of life. Learning how to meditate can be considered exactly like learning to become fit. So, in one we become focused on creating a healthy body and the other on creating a healthy mind. Therefore, remember that the benefits of meditation only come when you commit to regular practice. Just like going to the gym.

meditate -lotus

3) To Lotus or Not to Lotus

I had a knee injury from a motorcycle crash in my twenties. This made it nearly impossible for me to achieve the sitting lotus position which seemed like a vital component of meditation. I got so hung up on trying to become comfortable in the lotus position, I nearly stopped completely due to frustration and pain. Lucky for me, I found a teacher who confirmed that sitting meditation could easily be done without using the lotus position. The key part of meditation is the posture of the spine, not whether our legs are crossed or not.

Therefore, I strongly recommend that you ditch the lotus position if it is a barrier to achieving a comfortable meditation posture. Merely sit comfortably on a cushion or chair that allows you to stay comfortable with your spine straight.

I have now completed over ten years of very successful meditation practice without using the lotus position So, please don’t let it be a barrier to your own meditation practice.

meditate -meditation space

4) Zen Zone

Once you become very experienced with meditation you will find that you can practice almost anywhere. As a beginner, changing the time and place you meditate can be another source of frustration. That’s because some places work and some don’t. It is much easier to treat you practice like going to the gym and set a time that suits your lifestyle. Also, you can find a place that is conducive to meditation practice. So, when you are new to meditation it’s best to have one quiet space that you know is your zen zone. That way, you know you can practice without being interrupted and you feel comfortable.

5) Dozing Off

When I started meditating, I found that I would sometimes doze off to sleep and wake up with my head slumped forward. Not only embarrassing but yet another source of frustration.

However, this problem is easy to overcome. It is a very common misconception that you must close your eyes to meditate successfully. I strongly recommend you keep your eyes partially open when you are new to meditation.  As long as you are in your quiet meditation space there should be little distraction from having your eyes partially open. When you do feel distracted just simply bring your mind back to your single point of focus.

meditate -smile

6) Lighten Up and Smile

Don’t get too serious about your meditation practice. Also, remember it is more about being gentle with your-self and letting go of trying to control everything. So, an important success factor with meditation is to lighten up and put a gentle smile on your face. This can help reduce the stress in your body and mind. Have you ever noticed that you can’t smile and feel bad at the same time?  So go on. Put a small smile on your dial and lighten up. Also, smiling stops you from trying to force things to happen. Successful meditation practice is about letting go and not forcing any results.

meditate -timer

7) Time to Meditate

Any personal trainer at the gym will tell you to start off slowly.  You learn to increase your exercise levels over time as you build your strength and stamina. Meditation practice is very similar. Our brain is a major organ of the body and we can only make it fit and strong if we steadily build up our training time.

As a meditation beginner, it’s important to understand that less is more when it comes to practice time. Becoming an expert at meditation is like becoming an Olympic athlete. You need to steadily improve your skills over a long period of time.

Start off by setting a timer for two minutes.  You can increase this time by one minute every three to five days until you are able to sit in comfortable meditation for up to twenty minutes each day.

Try focusing on your breath for the full two minutes if you can, but if you find this too challenging reduce the time to one minute. The key is to start with a small amount of time and slowly build your ability to stay focused on one single point… your breath. Building up your practice slowly helps you to become stronger and stronger at maintaining your single pointed focus.

meditate -comfort

8) Get Comfortable to Meditate

I had this weird notion that good meditation practice must be a painful endurance process to be successful or effective. Let me kill off that idea right now.

So, one important factor I learned the hard way was the importance of being comfortable. Wear clothing that is loose and comfortable. Find a chair or cushion that allows you to sit comfortably with a straight spine. Develop a meditation space that is quiet and comfortable that you know is your preferred meditation zone.

9) Right or Wrong?

Stop panicking about whether you are doing your meditation right or wrong. Stop trying to control everything. By gently bringing your focus on to a single point of focus like our breathing, we will induce our natural deep relaxation response. Also, do not try to over analyze the process because it is natural. All you have to do is to let go of doing and striving for a specific result.

At first it may not seem normal for your mind to focus on one thing for such a long period. With practice the mind will steadily become more and more able to focus on one thing and allow a natural state of deep calm to prevail.

Every time your mind moves to another thought just smile and gently bring your focus back to your breathing. Remember to smile. It’s difficult to hold onto stress when you smile.

If you would like to learn how to meditate, you may like explore www.makemeditationeasy.com

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