Many people speak about the benefits of meditation. We hear that meditation lowers stress levels as well as improving the clarity of our thinking, our sleep and our relationships. But how does it happen and what do we need to do to make sure our meditation is effective?
For a long time, I struggled with meditation because I couldn’t let go. My attention would wander, I became caught up in how my body felt, the discomfort of my sitting position, and then, of course, the world of my thoughts.
Getting caught up in all these things while I was meditating was simply the body rebelling against becoming still. And when I realized this, I was able to focus more on the technique of meditation. By giving myself to the method, over time, I experienced more significant benefits of this wonderful practice, including the ones I spoke about earlier.
So here are five tips I found helped me to let go and become absorbed in the experience of meditation.
Each meditation session builds upon the last, and the less time there is between sessions, the more we experience the benefits. We have an improved or more profound experience because we remember what worked the last time. And this means we are more likely to put it into practice. So I recommend creating some regularity with your meditation routine in whatever way that works for you. It could be three 10 minute sessions every week. You might set a regular time like 5 am before your shower, for example. And then when you become comfortable with that, you can add a more extended session or increase the number of times you practice and put them into your calendar.
2) Let go of expectations.
We often go into meditative practice, expecting to relax immediately or for our mind to stop. Still, when we can let go of the hope, we allow ourselves to fully practice because meditation is all about bringing our awareness into the present moment.
3) Let go of the analytical mind.
The nature of the mind is to think. We tend to want to predict what will happen in our meditation. We want to think about it as opposed to becoming absorbed in it. The meditative technique helps us let go of this need. When we can let go of the need to control, we can truly be in the present moment. And this letting go can only come when taking hold of the next two points.
4) Take your attention away from external stimuli.
There are many ways our attention can be focused elsewhere when we are in meditation. We might be focusing on meditation, but unconsciously our body wants to be somewhere else. Or we may be worried be about what we need to do after our meditation. That’s why having a timer for our meditation is so effective because we can allow ourselves to let go for that allotted time knowing we can attend to things once the practice is over.
So for our meditation to be successful, we need to become aware of where we are placing our attention. Then we can consciously direct our attention to where it needs to be, which takes us to the next point.
There are many methods of meditation, but all of them contain a focusing technique. Some traditions ask you to focus on a mantra; some meditations are guided, while others ask you to focus on your breathing or the space in your heart. The main thing to know is that the purpose of this focusing technique is to calm the body, quiet the mind and bring all your energies to one point.
Give yourself to the technique and the meditative process, and you will create the space for new and beautiful experiences to occur. These five steps will allow you to let go, so that you can receive the benefits that this wonderful practice has to offer.