Why Meditation is so Important
Meditation has been by far the best thing I have ever started in life, hands down. It has made me less fearful or worrisome, I have become more content, calmer and happier with life’s ups and downs, but the most important thing Meditation has taught me is about my mind.
Before I started meditating, I had hardly noticed that inner dialogue I was having with myself, I had never really thought about what was going on in my head, I thought it all just happened, out of my control, I would just follow the commands almost powerless.
With meditation practice I have been able to notice more and more the interplay between thoughts and their actions (Karma) and how I can choose either to follow the commands or not. I now understand myself better than ever before and Meditation has allowed me to conquer my past childhood traumas, allowing for a freedom that feels so light and fluffy, with little to worry about. This is the beautiful experience that comes from meditation practice.
The Benefits of Meditation having been well publicised across news and social media in recent times, and everywhere you look there is seemingly more and more articles written on this very subject but very little in way in helping us deal with some of the most common meditation problems that arise, this is where this article is different.
Below you will find 15 solutions to the most common meditation problems that will make you meditate like an expert.
15 Tips and Tricks
- Slowly Start
To Begin Meditating start out slowly, we don’t need to spend hours and hours sitting cross legged on a hard floor, find a comfortable position for yourself, a chair, your bed or even the sofa and start with a simple 5 Minute Meditation and slowly build from there. You are far more likely to succeed if you start slowly. Later as we build our concentration levels, we can then think more of our position and posture.
- Make a Meditation Schedule
Making a Meditation Schedule will help you a great deal, and using the latest Apps and technology that’s at our finger tips nowadays will help us stay motivated and inspired. Something that is overlooked is simply setting an alarm on our phone with a reminder that it’s meditation time. We all live busy lives an we can make a promises to ourselves one moment but then get lost in the distractions of the day. A simple alarm jogs our memory.
- Keep Breathing Natural
While focused on your breathing, try to keep the breath as natural as possible, neither too deep or too shallow, just allow your breath to be as natural as possible without your interference. This can be a common problem as we first start to meditate, usually this is the first time we have spent time watching our breathing. Don’t worry you know how to breath you don’t need to interfere, just relax and concentrate on the rise and fall of your abdomen, and slowly the problem will pass.
- Worry about doing it wrong
Try not to worry about doing it wrong, we all have these doubts when we first start to meditate, it’s completely natural. Don’t worry you won’t be doing it wrong, there is no perfect way to be doing it, just be happy that you are meditating.
If you feel this happening, relax with a few deep long breaths and return to the breathing.
- A Wandering Mind
When our minds wander from the breath, as it will from time to time, don’t scold or punish yourself with your inner dialogue, instead always be kind, and gently bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again.
Most people believe meditation practice is about clearing your mind, or stopping their thoughts. It is not, however thoughts can sometimes completely stop for a while, this is not the goal of Meditation. If you do have thoughts, that’s completely normal. We all do. Our brains are thought processors, and we can’t just shut them down. Instead, cultivate a friendly, loving kindness attitude towards them.
Distractions can happen very easily in life, and in meditation this is no exception, wether its a noise disturbance, an itchy leg, feelings of discomfort, or that urgent thought that maybe you have left the oven on. We all have them.
A Noise distraction or Disturbance can be noted as ‘noise, noise, noise’ sharply as with Vipasana Meditation and then we return to the breath, or we could choose to watch the process within our minds and ‘is it our mind thats disturbed by the noise, or is it our minds disturbing the noise?’
Itches as they arise can be noted and then left alone, returning to the breath. If the itch is still there after a few minutes then, gently and mindfully move and scratch. This can be a useful exercise in watching our thought process and the actions that follow (Karma)
- Pains and Aches
Pains and aches in our legs, knees, hips, back and shoulders can be a problem and a serious one. When you first take up your position for Meditation, allow a few moments to check everything feels comfortable. Taking a few deep breaths and allowing ourselves to settle into our position will help elevate some of this issue. However if you especially feel pain in your knees, or hips then it will only make things worse to push yourself through that pain. Always Be kind and gently with yourself and move your position, as an alternative, try Walking Meditation for a little while until you feel able to return to sitting.
- Practice with a group
Meditation is a very personal journey but there are also times when practicing within a group will help overcome lethargy or laziness. Almost every city in almost every corner of the world now has some sort of meditation classes. Joining a group of like minded individuals who practice regularly will help us stay focused and dedicated and is highly recommended.
However some caution must be exercised, while the regularity of the meditation group is of great benefit, the people can become a great distraction. Try not to spend time in idal gossip on your meditation practice, this leads to feelings of grandeur or inferiority and both won’t be good for you or your practice.
- Don’t worry if your mind is not peaceful
A lot of us start to meditate with the idea of silencing our inner dialogue, this is not the idea of meditation practice, although sometimes it can be a side affect while meditating, this is not the goal of meditation. Our minds quite naturally produce thought, it’s there job, Meditation is noticing the inter reaction and interplay our thoughts have and the Karma they produce.
Our minds somedays during meditation are peaceful and content, on other days it will not, remember this too will pass and you will tend to learn far more from these days that seem to be a struggle than the peaceful and easy days.
Tiredness can be a real problem with meditating and if you notice yourself starting to doze off in the middle of a meditation session, first and foremost, don’t scold yourself, be kind and loving towards yourself and try these few things to try an elevate the feeling of tiredness and falling asleep.
Firstly check that your back is nice and straight and your shoulders haven’t slumped forward closing your chest up, If this is the case straighten up and sit comfortably again. Gently close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing again. Now gently give your ear lobes a slight squeeze or a little tug. It will have the effect of giving you an instant surge of energy to your mind. A very neat little trick.
If this is a persistent problem get up mindfully and try Walking Meditation for a short while before returning to Sitting Meditation. If you practice outside the fresh air seems to eliminate this problem entirely.
- Feeling off balance
This problem can arise from time to time especially if your sitting crossed legged on the floor, but equally this happens when on a chair or simple practicing Standing Meditation. It can feel like your swaying with each breath you take, or maybe you think you are tilted slightly to one side, or your head feels at a funny angle. Each time your feeling off balance, simple note the sensation and if necessary correct yourself, generally however, just like itches, it seems to be a mirage of a distraction and will pass on it own accord.
- Mosquitos and other biting insects
Being a monk for a long time in the forests of Thailand, I have had my fair share of mosquitos and little bitting insects, and I even had a bald head, the perfect training target for all newbies or expert mosquitos alike.
The only way I found I didn’t get bitten was when my mind would let go, of that anxious feeling of knowing I’d get bitten. The moment I excepted my situation, it seemed I wouldn’t get bitten. Every meditation where I just couldn’t except this way of thinking, staying attached to a negative emotion, I would get bitten. I kid you not. Try it.
Failing this line of approach, it is always possible to meditate, as we did as Buddhist monks, under a mosquito net. Simple but effective, especially if you live in an area where you know they are around for long periods.
- Kindness to Yourself
The underlying most important tip i can give is Kindness towards yourself and inner dialogue, you will never improve you Meditation if you keep scolding yourself. Be kind, smile, maybe even a little chuckle at your mind that just wandered off again. and always gently bring it back to the breath.
Find out more
We hope you have found this to be of real benefit and now you have that energy and determination to start meditating for the first time or even on a regular basis. I can highly recommend it and the benefits that come from a sustained practice.
If there is anything we hear at 4enlightenment can help you with regarding meditation questions The please Contact Us and will respond with a personal email. If you would like to know our linage Of Meditation, length of time spent meditating, or any thing else then have a look at the About Us page.
Wishing you every success in your meditation practice.