Meditation Methods, Part Two: Meditation
- LOOK INSIDE. Keep your eyes closed or rest them gently downcast – the point here is to reduce visual stimulus. If you have a hard time staying grounded or if you suffer from things like PTSD or anxiety, keeping your eyes slightly open may be beneficial for keeping you in the present.
- 10 MINUTES. Start with 10 minutes. That’s it. Don’t force yourself to do more than that until you’re familiar with the sensations of meditation, and don’t expect it to be easy right away. Ten minutes is enough to get some of the benefits of meditation (although if you do any less time, bets are off according to recent studies).
- BODY SCAN. This is the simplest form of meditation, since instead of trying to clear your mind entirely, you fill it with each body part, one at a time. Lying down on your back (with your feet on the ground and your knees up if you have lower back issues), start at your toes and slowly make your way up to your head and face. You do not have to move each body part as you focus on it, though you may if you like. Some people find that visualizing their body as empty and then mentally filling each body part in with color as they focus on them is helpful.
- KOSHAS. This is the next method of meditation before accessing full mind-clearing. The koshas are the five levels of your being: body, breath, thoughts and feelings, inner witness, and true bliss. We will have a longer article on these soon, but start with body and see what you can sense about each level – what physical or emotional or mental sensations arise when you focus on each one, without trying to change or judge any of it. The inner witness is the neutral observation of the world that surrounds and lives inside us, judgment-free and perfectly honest. See if you can access it! And the true bliss kosha is the clear mind we strive for in meditation, the one that lets you just BE, here and now, in your essence. You’ll feel it if you get there; there is a beautiful freedom in the bliss of a profoundly clear mind and self.
- REMEMBER SELF-LOVE. Do not beat yourself up! Be patient and kind to yourself; your mind will calm more easily as you get more practice, and some days are going to be better or worse than others no matter how skilled you become. Just hang in there, have patience and kindness with yourself, and remember that you are doing something healthy and mindful for yourself that may improve your life dramatically in the long run.