something for everybody
judge a person by their questions rather than their answers – voltaire
What if I can’t sit cross legged for the whole meditation?
You don’t need to sit cross legged if that is not comfortable for you. You feeling comfortable is most important. Whichever position feels right for you that is the position to choose. You should be able to sit comfortably and breathe unhindered for the time of the meditation. Best if you sit upright (for most meditations) your spine being straight, but still in a natural position, so that your energy can flow from head to toes and from toes back to your head.
Should I meditate with my eyes open or closed?
I personally prefer to meditate with my eyes closed, as it feels much more relaxed to me. If you feel more comfortable when you still see the light, then feel free to do so. Have a gaze on an object or on a point in front of you on the ground. Some meditation techniques work completely and only with that gaze. Completely up to you how you can relax better. Ultimately that is paramount.
I always have thoughts coming in. I find it hard to have no thoughts.
That is probably one of the greatest misconceptions of modern meditation. Especially for a beginner it is not important to have no thoughts to start with. It is more important to not attach to your thoughts. Thoughts may come, but they also go. Just like your breath comes and goes and you don’t hold on to it. When a thought comes, just acknowledge it … and then let it go … like a cloud in the sky … bring your attention back to the next breath or whatever it is you are exercising with. The more you exercise this letting go, the sooner the stillness will come to you.
Can my children meditate?
Absolutely yes. Most children enjoy the meditations. It seems to come more natural to them. Even if they have problems sitting still for a certain time, they get used to it more and more every week.
How do I learn to meditate?
Well, the best way to learn it is to do it. Meditation is one of those things, you can read thousand books about it, but all that is nothing compared to actually experiencing it. And to master it you have to go through the motions. Just like an athlete, you will exercise and enjoy every single time more and more, because it becomes more and more effortless. It becomes your second nature.
When, how long and how often should I meditate?
When? That depends on your time schedule and your nature. Sometimes I meditate in the morning, sometimes in the evening. If you are a beginner it probably is helpful to start a daily routine at the same time. Maybe your lunch break? Your commute home or to work? Whenever you can integrate it naturally into your life, that is the way to do it. It shouldn’t feel coerced, that would be against it’s nature.
How often? Well, how often would you like to meditate? I recommend to meditate on a daily basis, just because it then can be integrated into your daily routine. If you don’t have a daily routine or your days vary too much, than look how you can integrate it into that. Again, it should come naturally and with joy.
How long? Most books recommend 1 hour per day. If you are able to do that, congratulations, you are on a fabulous way. For most people 20 min per day is more realistic. You can find 20 min per day. And if you have a really hectic day, then you should even more find 20 min (maybe in the bathroom?) somewhere. If you manage to find 20 min every day, you are fast ahead of most other people. Even if on some days you only find 5 min is ok. But aim for 20 min, that is more effective. You will feel the difference. And again, if it comes natural and with joy, you will automatically begin to meditate a bit longer from time to time.
What is the best meditation?
Well, the best meditation is the one that works for you. We are all different and we have different preferences, different routines and different lives. We live differently and have different backgrounds. This is why there are so many different types of meditation. Find the style that works for you, this is the best for you.
How do I get started? Do I need my own room?
If you have your own room to meditate in, how wonderful, that of course is great. If not, then find a routine, a place, a surrounding that calms you down naturally and nourishes you. You can work with incense, with music, with symbols, to get you into a meditative mood. But ultimately, you can also just sit down, close your eyes, and … start meditating … and enjoy the whole process … with candles or without them.
What do I do when the body posture feels wrong in the meditation or I have some itching or some flies in the room?
When you have a distraction, there are always two ways to deal with them. First, accept them as they are and surrender to them. If you feel you can’t (yet) do that, then change the posture or wipe the fly away and then just carry on. It is a bit like the thought coming in. Don’t cling to it … accept it or change it … and then go back to your original task. You can choose wether to re-act to the distraction or not … that can become a meditation on it’s own.
I always fall asleep when I meditate.
Check your posture. The more you slouch, the more likely you will loose concentration and fall asleep.
Check your sleep as such. Are you sleep deprived? Then maybe practise some meditation first that get you into a better sleep mode.
What sometimes happens in the first sessions is that at some point your head will start nodding, because your mind can’t grasp what you are doing. It thinks ‘oh, silence, we are sleeping’, head nodding, ‘oh, no, we are not. What are we doing here?’ Your whole body has to get used to this ‘new’ state of mind. And also, our postures are not very good most of the day, so that the muscles are tight in the neck and around. We are not used to holding a straight posture anymore and the more you relax, the more likely your head will develop a ‘mind of it’s own’. That will disappear in most cases after just a few session.