I was never a meditation person. I am way too jittery for that. I admired those who told me they can meditate for hours without losing patience. I figured it must be some kind of talent until I met a Yogi who told me meditation is PRACTICE. If you are a jittery, emotional, easily upset person it basically means that you have a lot of passion inside. He told me this was a good thing because it will make the practice more powerful and the development faster. I had never thought of this before. I always considered it as a flaw and not a potential. He said the same about anger. Anger is not a bad thing in fact it can be a very transformative force if you always combine it with compassion. This motivated me a lot to start to “tame my mind” and learn to control my powers.
The first and most important thing is the seat. There is no need to knot yourself into the lotus posture. Sitting with crossed legs is perfectly sufficient. Make sure your bottom is a little elevated because that will relieve your back a lot and make it possible to stay seated for a while without tensions in your lower back. You can either use a firm cushion or a thick book wrapped into a towel. Find out which is the right height you need.
The next point is your spine. It should be straight like a “roll of coins” so the vertebras can all rest onto one another. Pull your chin a little backwards to make sure the neck spine is straightened, too. Little rotation movements can help to find the right point of balance for your head.
The hands should rest in your lap. Palms up, right hand into left hand and the thumbs gently touch each other. It may sound weird but this is really important. During meditating you will notice that you sometimes loose the contact of your thumbs or that you press them together too hard. It is actually a great helper to keep the concentration.
When you start to meditate it may be helpful to close your eyes for a few seconds in the beginning but then you open them again so they are only half open, your head is slightly bend down and you focus on a spot around 20 inches before your nose.
I learned two important meditation techniques.
1. Meditation by counting breaths
You concentrate on the feeling the air creates at the wings of your nose and you count the phases between the breaths.
breathe out – 1 – breathe in – breathe out – 2 – breathe in – breathe out – 3 – breath in…
and so on
You do NOT count
breathe in – 1 – breathe out – breathe in – 2 – breathe out – breathe in – 3 – breathe out…
You count until you reach 21. If you lose count you start again with 1. If you reach 21 you start with 1 again. It sounds very easy but it isn’t. It will probably take you a few times until you manage to get to 21.
2. Meditation with an object
You place an object about 20inches and before your eyes (little lower than that). It can be anything you like to look at. Like a stone, a flower, a picture. You start to meditate and your eyes should rest on the object. You “tie your mind to the object like you tie a horse to a post”. Whatever happens, when you get overwhelmed by emotions or thoughts you do not lose contact with your object. If emotions and thoughts come you do not avoid them. You look at them “with a friendly smile”, acknowledge them but you also do not try to cling to them and let them go again. Any trance-like states are not wanted. Make sure you stay fully conscious and concentrated during the meditations
How often and how long
When you start with these techniques it is recommended to do it 5 minutes at the max. but more times a day. Set an alarm clock to make sure you don’t meditate longer than 5 minutes and try to meditate as often as you can.