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How to: Meditate

4 Jun

This post is dedicated to Ben Smith.  Only knowing pain can one experience pleasure and only in the wake of hell can one truly experience heaven.

Meditation is said to lower blood pressure, increase testosterone, decrease cortisol (a fat causing enzyme released by stress and the “fight or flight,” instinct) and in general improve your well being.  Stress is a damaging factor for the human condition and many of us, nonetheless allow ourselves to be affected by it, quite possibly because we live in a society that encourages us to constantly seek external stimuli.

 

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”

-Buddha*

 

Step 1:

Remove yourself- Find as quiet a place as you can, if it is not quiet then do not try to ignore the noise, you can’t make that baby stop screaming, you cannot stop your neighbours from having loud sex.  Focus, rather, on one consistent noise, if you have a fan then focus on that, you could try to download a white noise Mp3 and play it loud enough to focus on without being distracted.  In any case, do not let your surroundings close in on you.

 

Step 2:

Now that you are able to close out what you must, create solitude.  If you live with someone who will most likely interrupt, explain that for a period of time, they should not disturb you.  They will hopefully understand.  If you are in a waiting room or surrounded by people who you do not know, take this time to ignore them, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and think.

 

Step 3:

Now that you have mentally prepared, we get to the physical.  The ideal position is cross legged, you may sit other ways, but this is said to be ideal, for a number of reasons.  Men reading this, if you can’t think of any reasons, lie down and see where your focus goes…

 

Put your left palm into your right with your thumbs touching so that they create a circle, place the circle over your naval, with your hands in your lap.  Relax your hands.  Relax your arms but do not drop them.   Posture straight, elbows parallel to torso, chin almost level, but slightly more up than down.  Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth just behind the teeth.

 

Step 4:

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Focus on your breathing but keep it natural, do not change it.

 

While you breathe work on relaxing on your muscles, starting either high or low and working your way to the opposite end.  Make sure you notice all the minor muscles especially the face, you would be shocked how tense it can be.

Close your eyes mostly, but leave them open just a bit, enough to look down your nose, allowing your vision to blur.

 

 

Step 5:

Stay in the now.  How do you feel.  Why?  Describe the sound that you hear.  Who are you?  What is good about you?  What would you like to change?  (Take care not to dwell on change just yet, you can set a separate period to meditate on change and on the future, but for now, stay in the now.)

 

Step 6:

Stop when you feel like it.  It might make sense to set an alarm so that you meditate for a minimum period without having to open your eyes and check.

 

Take it one day at a time, do not get carried away.  If you meditate 5 minutes a week, you are still doing more than most people and it is definitely doing more good than harm.  Try to gradually add time as allowed by your schedule, if you have to make time, then do so (with minimal sacrifice as possible).

 

Step 7:

Be patient, the whole point is to make you calm.  If you get frustrated then you are only defeating yourself.

 

 

*Enlightenment and/or wisdom not guaranteed.  We cannot be held responsible for Buddha’s quotes.

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