05 Jun 4 Easy Ways to Learn How to Meditate – Improving Your Intuition
In my line of work meditation is a necessity. In fact, I cannot imagine being psychic without it. This wonderful tool allows me to drop a veil between myself and the outside world, close my eyes and focus inward. I am able to attune to my inner guidance and find the answers I seek from Spirit. It is a powerful skill, but learning to do it wasn’t easy. In the beginning there were so many distractions, thoughts, noises. It was hard to quiet my “monkey mind”, focus on my breath and nothing else. However, over time and regular daily practice I developed fit meditation muscles! I found that experimenting with different meditation strategies and techniques got me over my initial stumbling blocks. Once I ironed out what worked for me and what didn’t, meditation became much easier to achieve. Below is a simple four-step approach to meditation that helped me become a master meditator and may work for you too!
Step One: Find the right place and time.
To begin with you must find the right time of day and the right environment. If you want to commit to a strong meditation practice you will need to do it everyday, so finding the same time/place will help you build it into a daily habit. Select a moment when you will not be interrupted. Usually, a good time is first thing in the morning before the rest of your household is awake. You can simply stay lying in your bed or sit up. If you prefer going into another room, then take a comfortable chair or meditation cushion to settle onto. Give yourself at least 10 minutes of meditation time to start. You can build in more time as you get better at it.
Step Two: Clothing and body position.
Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing such as pajamas or yoga pants. Anything that makes you feel good, comfy and not constricted. Wearing pants that are too tight does not help one stay focused on the task at hand. Eventually all you will be able to think about is how uncomfortable you feel, so your clothing is definitely important to consider. The next step is body position. Most meditative disciplines suggest that you sit with your back straight up, your knees bent and legs crossed. This posture is designed to assist the breath to fill your lungs and stomach to its best capacity. This is a great pose if you are able to keep that posture up during the entire meditative process, however the straight-backed approach is not plausible for everyone. One alternative is to sit in a chair with back support or pillows that can stack behind your spine so it stays aligned. Another option is to simply to lie down with your arms and legs falling gently to the side of your body. You can try all three of these positions until you find the one that works best for you.
Step Three: Try different meditation styles
The actual practice of meditation is what trips up most people. They have too many thoughts, they can’t focus, they fall asleep (especially if in the lying position), etc. The hardest part of meditation is learning to train the mind to focus on…well nothing. How do you calm down the “monkey mind” when it swings from vine to vine looking for new stimuli? There are a few techniques that can help calm down the monkey and help the new meditator achieve success.
•Guided meditation: This is great for a beginner because you simply plug in your headphones and listen to a voice that gives you instructions on exactly what to do. Guided meditation incorporates breathing and visualization to help the “monkey mind” get its needed stimulation fix while allowing you to focus on something other than the breath. You will still receive meditation benefits, such as slowing down and opening up to your intuitive guidance and inner healing. You can go to YouTube and search for “guided meditation”, or try a meditation podcast or app. Guided meditations are everywhere and most of them are free to try.
•Mindfulness meditation: The next step up the meditation ladder is mindfulness meditation. This is when the practitioner simply focuses on the breath. Mindfulness meditation tends to be quite challenging, as it can be difficult to stop the mind chatter. To combat this you can simply let the distracting thoughts go and remind yourself to refocus on the breath. Another technique is to count slowly up to the number four as you inhale and then back down to the number 4 as you exhale. This gives the monkey a little bit more to focus on and can help keep your attention where it is needed-on the breath. Another option is to meditate with a mantra. A mantra is a phrase, sentence or word that you repeat over and over to yourself like “om” or “love.” Another option is to try soft music and focus on the notes, or even a smell or taste. The point is to keep the mind focused on one thing and let everything else go.
•Loving Kindness Meditation: One of my favorites is Loving Kindness meditation. I love this one because you get to practice being in such a high state of vibration! The first part is to focus on the things/people/experiences that make you feel really good. Focus on anything that fills you with feelings of love, respect, warmth, compassion and caring. Then start to think about the things that make you feel good about yourself in particular. Really connect to the love you have for yourself. If you are having trouble then reconnect to the first set of feelings again. Next you will extend this loving kindness to others. Pick a friend and focus on what you love about him/her. Next try an acquaintance and do the same thing. Then try someone you actually dislike and focus on what you do like (there must be at least one thing!) Then focus on how can you feel loving kindness to all of them equally. The point of this exercise is to practice building loving thoughts to not just yourself (keeping your own self esteem healthy) but to even those who challenge your ability to love. It’s a very powerful mediation and can really alter your openness to others and the world!
•Walking Meditation: If none of the above works, you can always try walking meditation. This is the simplest one of all. To practice walking meditation you just have to be aware of your surroundings and the tasks you are completing in the moment. For example, if you are walking through the woods on a brisk autumn day, pay attention. Look at the rust, orange and yellow leaves, feel the cool breeze in your face and the warm sun on your back, listen to the birds chirping to each other, smell the soil and the trees, etc. Take everything in, almost as if you are seeing it for the first time. If you are washing the dishes, think about the warmth of the water, washing the old food away, the feel of the ceramic plates. There is nothing else required, just focus your attention on the present moment. This practice stops the swirling thoughts and keeps you centered, if only for a minute or two.
Step Four: Practice
Of course this bring us to our final step – practice. This is where you truly develop a strong meditative practice. If you dedicate at least 10 minutes everyday to meditate you will see things begin to change. Meditation can reduce anxiety, improve focus, stimulate intuition, build self-trust, lower blood pressure, increase loving thoughts, bolster creativity, temper anger, balance emotions, connect mind, body and spirit, the list goes on and on. Meditation is a gift that makes it possible to manage this crazy world and reconnect to our own unique selves. I feel so blessed to use it in my life. Give it a shot, the only thing you have to lose is….your mind.
So what are your thoughts on meditation? Do you meditate? Why or why not? If you do, what practices work best for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.