I want to meditate however I keep getting distracted. Meditation does not work for me, I can’t control my thoughts. How to meditate? How long should I meditate? These are some of the questions and concerns my friends and people I teach have when it comes to meditation.
Meditation is an approach that helps train our mind to stay calm and in order to train our mind to stay calm we have to sit in silence and stillness that most of us find challenging.
So, is it not for us? Well, remember a skill that you wanted to learn but you felt that you may not be able to learn however now you are perfectly equipped with it, it can be driving, cooking, dancing or anything else.
Believe it or not, we all have been given a power to do things that we really want to do and to harness that power, the first thing we need to do is to believe that we have it.
A very simple example to prove the point above is people learning to drive. I am not talking about good or bad driving but when people want to learn to drive they do because it helps them in their daily life.
We may not put so much of effort in learning a skill that does not help us in our daily life but we do put an effort in skills that do. Now if this skill would have been reserved for certain people, many of us would not have been able to drive.
Meditation is a practice that I would call as important as sleeping and more important than driving, if you keep neglecting it, you may go insane and believe me this is one of those practices that does not require an effort and on the other hand practicing meditation regularly can reduce your mental effort in day to day life and may help you learn other skills as well.
We see our life and its situations through our perspective and this perceptive starts to fall in place when we start meditating regularly.
How to meditate?
I would like to share some teachings from a Buddhist Monk that I listened to on YouTube, this works quite well for me.
Think of your mind as a Monkey. A monkey that keeps chattering, now when you sit to meditate, you may ask this monkey to stop chattering but it won’t because that’s his job, he has to do something or the other, it can’t stop.
So, what do you do then? You try harder? No!
This monkey belongs to you and you can give it a job.
And what would be that job? A simple job of watching your breath.
The monkey wants to keep doing something, just keep reminding him of his job, no matter what thoughts are running in the background as long as you keep bringing your focus back to your breath, you are doing great.
With time, you would observe that the monkey has learnt this new job and is becoming a master of it. Remember joining your first job or any new job? You were not master when you started and then few months later you could do it with your eyes closed (that may be an exaggeration but you got the point?)
How longs should you do it? There no minimum or no maximum time limit, few seconds, one minute, 5 mins, a day, months, years, as long as you can be in that zone, keep going.
How should I sit? Sit in a comfortable position, on a chair or on a mat/bed with legs crossed, its okay to lie down as well, keep your hands in a comfortable position, on your knees or just a hand above hand or hands besides your body if you are lying on the mat, any position that you can hold for a while comfortably is good to start with.
There might be days when you are less distracted and there might be days when the distraction level is high, embrace both, a simple act of sitting to meditate and observing your breath can take your perspective to a whole new level, it would drive your mind away from stress, giving you an ability to deal with life in a much better and calmer way.
I did a simple search on YouTube and found the video I was talking about as well… you may want to hear it once. It’s a short one. 😃
How do I meditate?
I mostly meditate in a sitting position with my legs crossed. I keep my hands on my knees, mostly in Chinmaya mudra, “the gesture of awareness.”
As I start focusing on my breath, I feel a sense of relaxation in my mind and my body, specially in the spine.
And like most of us, the thoughts come and distract me. I do not entertain them or may be sometimes I do 😜 however as soon as I realize it, I switch back to focusing on my breath, telling my mind to focus on breath works wonder for me, I literally say it in my mind to my mind 😉 to focus on the breath.
Meditation gives me a very strong feel of connection with The Universe. A feeling that there’s always someone there to listen to you and take care of you.
After doing it for a while (mostly 5-7 mins) I take my awareness to the things I am grateful for and I thank the Universe for the same.
At times, I affirm my goals and aspirations in life as well before opening my eyes.
Using music also helps, I do it occasionally though. A light music or powerful mantras with earphones works best for me, blocks the outside noise as well.
My favourite music that I use for meditation:
- Calm meditating music,
- Shiva Tandava Stotram,
- Hiranyagarbh Sukta (from Rigved) fast version,
- Hiranyagarbh Sukta (from Rigved) normal version