By Yoga Kat
aka Katheryn Hoban
When we first beginning to meditate, there are many habits that
we fall into that prevent us from achieving a peaceful, state to
make any real progress. There are habits of worry, restlessness,
judging ourselves or our practice of meditation, excessive movement
which can become distracting, overeating, overindulging in smoking
or drinking, complaining, and finding fault. There also are certain
habits that we can do to assist our mind to get into a place of
meditation, and to begin to make some progress in your practice.
Here are some hints:
Consistency of Time: It is better to meditate at the same
time every day. It is also usually easier to meditate early in the
morning because the Earth is more still, your mind is quieter and
the day-to-day activities have not started yet. But if you canï¿½t
do it early in the morning, be consistence with the time that you
meditate during your day, and do this every day if you are able.
Consistency of Place: It is also beneficial to have the
same place, so that your mind can make recognition of familiar things
that are around and begin to feel secure there. The mind is like
a small child that needs routine. Chose a certain corner of a room
or room of your house that you will consider your meditation space.
If you cannot leave out your props each day, collect them and then
with each time you can display and use them in that space once again.
Consistency of time and place assists the mind with that feeling
of safety and security.
Familiar Props: Having the same things that you use consistently
helps greatly in your meditation process. Again it is a sense of
trust, safety and familiar that aids the mind to become quiet. A
suggestion of some props includes your choice of prayer cloth, which
can be draped over your person. Drape cloth for an alter that you
set up. An alter, or table that will have all of your meditation
items on it, a bell or chime, or Tibetan bowls to announce the beginning
and end of your meditation, prayer beads or mala beads, inspirational
books, or prayer books, candle or small light, incense, a mediation
pillow, mat, or roll, special pictures of landscapes or saints or
spiritual leaders, or special items like a feather, or blessed materials,
shells, small stones etc, small tickless alarm clock.
Creating a Routine of Actions: In creating habits for
meditation, a routine says to your mind that it is time to meditate
and get quiet. The routine might include, first a preparation of
purification. This could include a bath, or simply washing your
face and your hands with cool water, and then patting your face
dry prior to starting your meditation. Next an acknowledgement to
your higher self, or god, is appropriate. You could do this by putting
your hands together in prayer position over your heart, which indicates
you are centering your heart, and opening your heart, then lift
your hands to your forehead, to acknowledge your third eye or center
of perception, and then bring your hands back down to touch your
heart. It is an indication that you are coming back to your center
and that is where you will begin your meditation. It is also an
intention of purification of heart and mind. After purifying yourself
physically and mentally, you might chose to light an incense, set
out your props, and light a candle. You could ring a chime or a
bell and let the sound resonate in your ears and through your body.
If you enjoy meditation with music it is appropriate to turn on
your music softly prior to your beginning. Next you may begin your
breathing to center your mind, and cover yourself with your prayer
shawl or blanket.
Meditation is the stillness of the mind and a reconnection
with your inner spirit. It could be a time of reflection, and a
period of question and answers, or simple a time of less thoughts
to offer you peace. Here are some tools to help you get to that
First for the novice, an appropriate duration of time is 5-10
minutes. Do not overtax yourself when you first begin. As you
progress the duration of time can increase to 10-30 or 40 minutes,
or for an hour or more. When meditating, we try to shut out the
outside stimulus and force the mind inward. This is one reason that
you try to sit as still as possible in the session. You are discarding
all physical distraction and sensations. It is important to sit
in the most comfortable position that you are able so that you will
be able to sit still for a period of time. Prior to beginning your
meditation, you could stretch your neck and move your head up and
down and to either side, stretch your back a little and your shoulders.
When you prepare in this way it is more likely that you will not
be distracted by physical tension.
As you begin to meditate watch and observe your thoughts without
any judgments or condemnation. When you have observed your thoughts
for a while, begin to call the mind back like a little child. ï¿½We
are breathing, we are letting go of these thoughts now.ï¿½ Refocus
on the breath coming in through your nose again, if you become disturbed
or distracted. If you are fearful be assured that nothing here can
hurt you, this is a discovery of your inner self and a return to
your TRUE nature. Once you have become accustomed to meditating
you will be more comfortable with your true nature and realize that
you are created to be naturally peaceful, and joyful, and that is
the natural state of your being.
There are different techniques to get you to that silent and
still place. Breathing is very important for trans- porting
you to that place, a sound mantra like OM i s helpful, a guided
meditation, an open eye meditation that lets you have a focus on
one particular object, point, or picture or candle can immediately
take you to the still place, focusing on music, or particular elements
of the music can accomplish that stillness. You can chose one or
more of these techniques to get you there.
You could also have a meditation of questions and answers.
It is important to write down the questions that you wish to ask
before you begin, so that there is a flow and a direction of the
meditation process. Have a note pad so that you can write down the
answers that come to you. Usually it is the first answer that comes
to you. Write that down, even it you do not understand the reference.
Write down everything until it feels complete and then move on to
the next question. The question and answer period may go on for
a few meditation sessions so do not become discouraged if you donï¿½t
get all of the answers immediately. Also do not judge yourself or
call yourself inadequate if you are not getting the responses that
you want. Mediation takes practice and intention to do it well.
Also one needs to become accustomed to how s/he receives that information
Ring the bell, to signal the conclusion of your meditation
session, or turn off your alarm when it rings. After the time
is up and your meditation has ended, begin to stretch and loosen
your neck and shoulders, and your back and perhaps your arms and
legs. Breathe big breaths in to bring you from that deep place.
Do not force yourself beyond your time that you told yourself would
be the amount of time for that day. There are other days to extend
Meditation takes a lot of practice and time. There are
many mental and physical obstacles to over- come. The mind is always
active and always condemning. It judges you harshly without cause,
it holds you guilty, it keeps you in a fearful place, it believes
that it is under attack, it says empathically that you can never
change, it is full of resistance and self loathing. The mind never
speaks of your true nature, which is joy, love, compassion for all
creatures, kindness, deep wisdom, abundance, and the unlimited free
It is also helpful to keep a journal of your spiritual progress
and your meditations. Which techniques work best for you, how often
do you get to a still place, is there anything that came up that
you did not expect, are you causing yourself stress in a process
that is designed to bring more peace and stillness for you, are
you judging yourself? Can you make a change to comfort yourself,
are you receiving your answers during a Q ... A period.
A Note On Meditation And Breathing.
Breathing can start out big and full and then gradually become
diminished and more silent. It is part of your focus that leads
you to that still place. When you are meditating you are letting
the mind rest on a new focal point other than a million thoughts
of worry, anxiety, fear and what you will do in the next moment
or the evening. Remember a funnel, it has a great capacity coming
into the top but it is coming down through a progressively narrower
opening, until it passes through only a tiny opening. The same actions
are occurring when you are limiting your thoughts to one or more
focal points. Letting go of distracting thoughts, worry, and fear,
and focusing on less and less until you are at a still place.
Focus: Earlier I told you that there are steps to get
you to that still place, the focal points that draw your mind into
a still and quiet place. One focus is the present moment, only this
moment is what you are focusing on at this time. Another focus is
the steady breathing coming into your physical form, or the OM sounds
resonating through your mind and body, still other focuses include
the elements of the music like running water that you are training
your ears to pick out, or the music itself, in a guided meditation
you are letting images form in your mind and that becomes a focal
point, and in an open eye meditation you are letting your eyes become
trained on a physical point that you can see, and gradually you
let your mind come to an internal focal point. All of the focal
points are designed to assist you to get into the resting place
of the mind where the mind becomes secondary. When the mind is resting
and not complaining, condemning or judging then you become aware
of your unlimited nature, of your gentleness, and divine essence.
It is a place of realization of your TRUE SELF and in knowing and
remember that you become so comfortable with your expanding and
unlimited nature that you only wish to rest in that place.
My suggestions to you are practice, get relaxed, get settled,
donï¿½t judge, do not compare yourself to others, allow yourself to
learn and progress at your own pace, encourage yourself, and reassure
yourself when you need to, and keep on practicing and challenging
yourself out of your comfort zone. Do not listen to the mindï¿½s condemnation
of you. It is only false ramblings. Reward yourself for your effort.
Be good to yourself.
Yoga Kat--aka Katheryn Hoban is a yoga teacher and Reiki
Master Teacher with twelve years experience. She teaches children's
yoga ages 3-6, and 7-12 and Adults privately in NJ. She is the
author the book MASTERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS-A GUIDE BOOK FOR THE
COSMIC TRAVELER which is available online at booklocker. and
amazon. She has created a children's affirmation CD (ages 3-6)
and an affirmation CD for adults.