Daily Meditation - How To

I've dabbled in meditation for years.  My first experience was a guided meditation and it was a moving experience.  I experienced a peace and touched a part of myself I had not seen before.

Despite my positive experience, I cannot say that I ever established a regular meditation routine until recently.  I would meditate when the mood struck me and that's a shame because I'm now discovering that like physical exercise, meditation is best when part of a daily practice.

Routine meditation is linked to stress reduction, reduced blood pressure, improved cognitive abilities, and greater happiness and contentment in general.  There are possibilities for many spiritual benefits as well.  I find that I've discovered a lot about myself and my beliefs while in deep meditation.  Both Jesus and Buddha were known to spend hours in silent meditation.

To start a daily meditation practice I recommend:

1.  Starting small.  Commit to just five or ten minutes a day at first. You can extend it after it becomes habit.

2.  Pick a time and place where you will be undisturbed.

3.  Sit  comfortably.  You don't have to meditate in a full lotus position.  Several members of the Zendo that I attend kneel on a cushion.

4.  Focus on your breath.  This is the most widely used form of meditation for beginners.  As you breathe in, concentrate on breathing and follow your breath as it flows through your nostrils into your lungs.  If you loose focus then just start over.  Some find it helpful to count breaths.

5.  Don't try too hard.  Often type A personalities want to "conquer" meditation practice and end up quitting because it is too hard.  Take it easy. You won’t be very good at it at first, most likely, but you’ll get better with practice.

If you find meditation a positive experience then I recommend taking other opportunities to be mindful and experience a meditative state:

Focus intently upon what you are doing when performing menial tasks such as washing dishes, mowing the lawn, or driving.  Try not to think of the future or other things.

Focus upon the taste of your food when eating.  Mindful eating has been linked to weight loss and health.

Be fully present and in the moment when you are visiting with friends and family.

Meditation and mindfulness are learned skills.  Practice patiently.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

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