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How to Meditate

Do your thoughts races through your mind a mile a minute?  Do your racing thoughts distract you and limit your focus?  It’s hard to focus because the mind is constantly thinking of a million different things instead of focusing on what is going on.  

Meditation can help teach you how to control your mind’s thought; and consequently how to improve your focus. Our mind decides if we’re happy or sad; however, if we can learn to control our mind, we can balance our emotions instead of experiencing the emotional rollercoaster ride most of us feel we’re riding each day.

One minute we’re up, the next were down.  By learning to control our mind and balance our emotions, we give ourselves the ability to choose to be happy, regardless of external circumstances.

With the ability to choose happiness despite our outer surroundings, we gain control of ourselves and the ability to limit our stresses and frustrations which could greatly improve our relationships with other people.  Meditation helps you get in touch with your inner self which provides clarity to the otherwise cluttered mind.  Getting in touch with your inner self can provide you insights to yourself you never knew before.

Below is a basic outline for beginners to learn the art of meditation. 
"Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance.
Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back,
and choose the path that leads to wisdom." -Buddha
How to Meditate
Tme to Meditate

First, you must dedicate enough time in your daily routine to meditate.  Most people choose to meditate right when they wake up or before going to bed.  The choice is each person’s preference but should be a time when you can find a place that’s totally quiet. 

Place to Meditate

The place you meditate must be quiet and relaxing.  It is really important that you do not have any distractions, especially when you’re first learning to meditate.  It’s hard enough to clear all your thoughts from your mind and focus your attention on one thing, so you definitely want to prevent any external distractions.  Turning off noisy appliances and phones is suggested.  Some people meditate outside which is fine, but make sure you find a place away from any loud noises or heavy traffic. 

Position to Meditate

The most important part of your position is keeping your back straight.  The traditional pose is sitting on the ground indian style, but if you’re a beginner you could sit against a wall or in a chair for more comfort.  You don’t want to be uncomfortable during your session because that’ll distract you during meditation. 

If you’re sitting on the ground, you may want to sit on a pillow for added comfort.  The trick to getting your back straight with little discomfort is to sit toward the front of the pillow, leaving more coushin in the back which will naturally raise you to the correct position.

Once you’re in a comfortable position, relax your arms either folded in front of you or at your sides (slightly away from your body).  Make sure every part of your body is relaxed.  If you feel a part of you is not relaxed, then try adjusting yourself to a more comfortable position. 

Meditation Breathing

Once you’ve settled into a position, you can close your eyes, partially or completely, and put your chin in toward your chest so you are looking down.  If you choose to partially close your eyes, stare at your nose (My preference is eyes shut; I get too distracted otherwise).

Now slowly start breathing in through you nose and out through your mouth (some say you should breathe in and out through your nose but I prefer to exhale from my mouth – your preference!).  Let your breath flow naturally but try exhaling deeper than you inhale.  Keep focusing on the flow of your breath and nothing else.  You may start off with smaller breathes and as you become more and more relaxed, your breath may deepen.  Ultimately the level of breathing is not as important as staying focused on your breathing.
What is Meditation?

Meditation can do wanders for your energy level, ability to focus, health, and overall well-being.  The practice of meditation is an essential piece to any spiritual development pursuit and personal improvement.
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Jordan Canon meditating

How to Meditate

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by Jordan Canon, Spiritual Advisor
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At first, it’ll probably be very hard to focus your mind away from your thoughts.  In fact, you may think mediation is making your mind fill with even more thoughts, but that is simply because you are more aware of how active your mind actually is during mediation. 

Focusing your mind on one thing for an extended period of time is hard work, but if you commit to learning the art of meditation, eventually  you’ll master it.  As different thoughts pop into your head, don’t pay them mind.  Focus again on your breathing and the thoughts will fade.  As another one pops in, do the same.  If you discover your mind did wander, that is OK; simply return your attention back to your breath.  Gradually (with practice and consistency!) distracting thoughts will subside and you’ll experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. 

You’ll experience a calm, spacious feeling in your mind, and many of your usual problems will simply fade away.  Difficult situations become easier to deal with, and you’ll naturally feel kindhearted towards other people.  After all, you are erasing all of the stress and worry from your mind simply by learning how to control your mind, instead of letting your mind be controlled by your reactions to external factors (people and events).

Meditation can do wanders for your energy level, ability to focus, health, and overall well-being.  The practice of meditation is an essential piece to any spiritual development pursuit. 

The effects of meditation are most noticeable when you practice regularly and consistently.  Also, don’t be discouraged if in the beginning you can’t gain complete focus of your mind.  That’s the hardest part of learning to meditate and can take considerable time before your able to completely clear your mind. 

The trick is to stick with it and not get discouraged because before you know it, you’ll be successful and the benefits you’ll experience will be life-long (assuming you implement mediation as a life-long practice!).  When you experience the inner peace of mastering meditation, only then will you fully realize your how much your persistence and dedication were worth.