Hey interwebz, I’ve gotten a lot of messages asking about meditation and any tips/techniques/forms I use personally, so I decided to write this up for anyone who may be interested. I think through taking classes with a great instructor and a lot of trial and error I found a lot of good tips and pieces of info (that goes beyond the basic crap) that may help people who are interested to learn or know more. Here we go!:
There are so many different forms of meditation. What I personally use and what I feel anyone can learn in about five minutes is the technique of mantra meditation. I’m sure you heard of mantras, like the most popular “ohm” one that many like to use. I was taught by another instructor who has been meditating her entire life, and she gave me a personal mantra to use for myself, which is common. It’s sometimes said that your mantra is very sacred and shouldn’t ever be shared with anyone, and you shouldn’t even say it aloud. From what I have learned, the reason is for the word to be heard only inward, and can trigger the meditative state quicker once you have been using it in that way for a while. This whole technique is generally for words that have been used for a long, long time in history and have sacred meanings, however I believe anyone can use a powerful common word or statement that can do the same thing.
Actually, through experimenting with this, I’ve found that a particular phrase I use is actually much more powerful and faster at bringing me into a higher dimension/meditative state than the mantra that was given to me, so now I use it too! This mantra is: “God is Love.” I’ve experimented with various mantras and this phrase is what brings the most powerful vibrations and wonderful meditations for me. The point of the mantra is not to JUST repeat it in your head as if you were speaking to yourself, but using every part of your brain to focus on the phrase. That means picture it mentally, think of its meaning (each word, even), and make it your entire world in that very moment. What I think is helpful for beginners is to time your mantra repetition to something like your breathing. For example, when breathing in, think, “God is”, and when exhaling, finish “Love.” This or any other use of some sort of personal pattern is really helpful because your mind easily falls into this repetitive state and brings your mind to a place we usually don’t ever use daily.
The whole thing with meditation is to feel absolutely unconscious (in the way that we are so incredibly relaxed that we forget we even have a body) but still mentally being very alert by the use of mantra. That way, your body doesn’t fall asleep and you are in a state of pure “being”. I just have had a lot of trial-and-error with meditation, and my instructor has helped me a lot so I just like to pass this all down. It makes learning so much easier. So another very important tip: do not do anything you don’t feel like doing. That’s something that really helped me. As my instructor said, if you are in an uncomfortable position, don’t hesitate to quickly change to a comfortable position and get back to your meditation. A few seconds of changing something that is bothering you or making you unable to relax is not anything that will push you out of the meditative state. If you have an itch, scratch it. Get rid of annoyances that stop your comfortable state. Then easily transition back. I meditate on the bus a lot (something that is pretty easy to do after some experience), and I’ve even had to get up from my meditation to let someone get off the bus sitting next to me, and still easily could sit back down afterwards and instantly be back where I was.
Anyway - my point is: do not force yourself to do anything. I’ve taught my friends meditation before and they complained afterwards how uncomfortable their position was and how badly they wanted to change their seating. Just do whatever you feel will bring you more comfort and relaxation. This also means STOPPING the mantra. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that using a mantra is NOT what the meditation centers around, but is just the vehicle we use to bring us to that deep unconscious state of mind. Once we are in that state, we might be too relaxed to even think of the mantra anymore, and that’s wonderful and what should happen. Then, stop the mantra whenever you feel like you don’t wanna say it anymore. When you realize suddenly, “oh crap, I’m thinking of stuff (since our thoughts kind of creep up on us and we don’t realize instantly)” is when you should gently bring your thoughts back to the mantra to once again bring you down to the unconscious state again (in the same gentle “creeping” way our thoughts always come to us - a slow transition). Thinking of things is NOT a failure and is actually very good and a part of meditation. We go through endless ups-and-downs in meditation (periods of pure unconsciousness and periods of being distracted/thinking). When we practice 20 minutes a day twice a day, and keep going consistently, the period of thinking decreases and the period of unconscious transcendence will grow more and more.
Basically, don’t get annoyed if you catch yourself being distracted or feel like you might have had a shitty meditation with a lot of distracted thoughts. When the mind is in thinking mode during meditation, it’s purposeful and very important, because it gives our minds distraction while the body is renewing and healing itself physically. When you actually realize you are thinking again, don’t think for a second that this is some sort of failure or wrong. When you realize you are thinking and away from transcendence again, simply move your mind gently back to the mantra to bring you down to the unconscious state once more. Like I said again, meditation is a consistent up and down cycle between these two states of mind.
There’s actually been studies of brain scans done on people who are meditating, and even when the person feels as if they had a terrible meditation with 20 minutes of non-stop distraction and thinking, the brain scans still show that they had the same positive reactions that take place with someone who may have a very deep unconscious meditation. Their brain scans match any other person who has been meditating. Some meditation sessions may be you barely being unconscious and being distracted in your thoughts 90% of the time, and other days you may have a session of 90% unconscious transcendence. Both are fine. The days where you may have a lot of distracted thoughts simply show your mind and body need to release mental and physical stress that you have built up in your life. I notice that in the mornings, my meditation sessions are almost completely unconscious with barely any thoughts. However, at night time, it is the complete opposite. That’s just because I have added all of the stuff that happened in my day (stress, anxiety, work, fatigue, etc) and am processing this out at night time.
Lastly, I’ve gotten some questions regarding being very tired after meditating. A lot of people tell me they have started to learn meditation but find themselves to be extremely sleepy after they finish their session. Don’t worry, that is completely normal! Same thing happened to me and thousands of others who begin meditation. In the first week or so, you will most likely feel tired after wards because we hold a lot of fatigue and stress that does not regularly get released since we do not meditate. When we begin meditating, your body goes through a period of “detox”, where this tension and fatigue releases and slowly lessens within your body. During this phase, don’t hesitate to take a nap afterwards. If you are incredibly tired, then that is what your body needs.
After this detox period, you’re going to notice how much energy meditation gives you. I used to sleep for over 12 hours a day, EASILY. Even more unless I set up an alarm. After meditation, I wake up BY MYSELF, after only 5-7 hours a day. That was like unbelievable to me. I remember the first few days, I’d wake up this early and be confused as to why and try to force myself to sleep again because it didn’t feel natural to even be awake at such an early time to me, lol. It’s all meditation. You can’t even imagine how much rest the body and mind gets through meditating 20 minutes a day, twice a day. A word of advice: do NOT meditate just before you go to bed. Meditate around 3-4 hours before sleep, because the session will give you a burst of energy and you will find it very difficult to go to sleep right afterwards.
I know this was A LOT of writing, but I hope this has helped people interested in meditating or even improving their own technique. I think everyone should meditate. It’d make people healthier body, mind, and soul. Meditation is like exercise and health for your mind. Cherish and nourish your spiritual side!