You can meditate anywhere, indoors or outdoors. To help you concentrate, it’s better to remove any potential distractions. Change what can be changed and accept what can’t be changed.
Turn off all phones. Ask people not to interrupt you. Turn off the TV, radio and computer.
You don’t need to sit in any particular position. However, meditation will be more focused if you sit up and keep your back straight. Some people like to sit in lotus (or half-lotus) posture, but the main thing is to be comfortable; whatever posture you need is fine.
How long to meditate?
When you first start daily meditation, begin with 5 minutes at a time. As your meditation experience deepens, you can lengthen the time to 10–15 minutes. It’s more about the quality of your experience, not the length of time. Gradually increase your sitting time to 20 minutes or half an hour.
Always set an intention or Meditation Theme
Inner Space Meditation is not about trying to blank your mind, stopping all thinking. Meditation is about directing your mind into positive and uplifting thoughts, leading you into experience.
Inner Space Meditation is about directing your thoughts, so you need to set an intention before starting each meditation.
If you are going to meditate using one of the guided commentaries, selecting a commentary is like setting the intention. If you do not wish to use an audio commentary, select a theme, goal or purpose for your meditation. Otherwise your thoughts will wander here and there, and habitual thought patterns will dominate your mind, making it difficult to meditate.
Image: Dave / Unsplash
If you walk into the kitchen and have no plan of what you will cook, there will be no meal. If you leave your home and don’t know where you are going, you will come to a standstill or just wander aimlessly. It’s the same with meditation - if you commence your meditation without an intention, an aim or a purpose, then your mind will quickly wander wherever it’s used to wandering.
Here are a few examples of setting an intention for your meditation. Your meditation could explore one of these themes:
Letting go of old attitudes
Connecting with your highest self
Sending peace to the world
Exploring a quality of the inner self, such as generosity, patience or courage.
Image: Jared Rice / Unsplash
No matter how many times your mind wanders, don’t worry, just refocus and you will soon feel the benefit. Sometimes finding peace of mind may be challenging, other times you’ll get it briefly and then lose it again. Accept and enjoy the process. You are definitely building up the ‘muscles’ of your mind each time you meditate, just as it takes time to build up muscles when you first start to exercise. Even if you experience only a few seconds of peace in each meditation, peace will accumulate over time. Many drops make an ocean.
Observing your thoughts
A TIME Magazine research some years ago found we have somewhere between 30,000 – 50,000 thoughts each day. More recently other research has found very ‘stressed minds’ can produce up to 80,000 thoughts each day. Each thought has a corresponding vibration. Yet you are consciously aware of perhaps 200 of those thoughts. 95 per cent of your thoughts are the same ones you had yesterday.
Be the observer
The most powerful tool that anyone can have and use in life is that of being the observer.
To observe yourself in action.
To observe your thoughts, your feelings, your impulses and motivations. As an observer, you can realise that behaviour patterns, such as being needy and pathetic or aggressive and manipulative or nervous and shrinking, are not you; they are patterns or habits that have been conditioned into you. If you are observing these patterns, then who is the 'I' that is observing? The observer is you, the inner self.
Image: Kylo / Unsplash
As the observer, you naturally gain more distance from the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. As the observer, you are not affected so strongly by your emotions. You gain more perspective - just as if you were watching an actor on a stage. You realise that, as powerful as your emotions may seem, they are not you. You are not your emotions.
What is Visualisation?
Visualisation is the means by which you create scenes or images in your mind through your imagination. Most people think in pictures. Do you?
Visualisation can be a tool for creating a powerful frame of mind in trying to achieve personal goals and targets. Athletes in a 100m race will practise only seeing their lane, running with power and breaking the line first.
Visualising failure and weakness can also have the reverse effect. By putting negative images of yourself into your mind, the result is that you begin to see yourself with that vision. Whatever you are picturing in your mind will create that immediate experience.
Visualisation takes you into experience
When using visualisation to take you into a meditation experience, you need concentration. Trust will deepen the more you practise positive visualising. The more you create positive and pleasant images, it is only natural that you will want that experience to last longer.
Visualisation can be enhanced if you plan a beginning, middle and end. This process will help you keep the mind on track, because the mind prefers an organised process as it is easier to follow.
Let’s try a visualisation for becoming friendlier.
Beginning: See a recent event in your mind where you behaved negatively to someone.
Middle: Now withdraw your attention within yourself… feel the positive quality you would like to express in there situation with that person… now picture yourself in that same situation expressing that quality such as friendly, smiling, happy person, and being in control. No matter what happens, this is how you are. Instead of annoyance and irritation, you feel calm and content. Others see you this way too and, as a result, they also start to smile and reflect the
End: Experience yourself as this friendly, positive and happy person, who feels this way often and has the same feeling for others. See and accept yourself as this person. Start slowly, just for a minute, and gradually build up the time spent seeing yourself in this way. Visualisation can take you into an experience, but it is a practice that helps the feeling stay with you.