Meditation is an antidote to modern life. More and more people are beginning to understand this. Most of the world is now either planning to shift or has already shifted to this divine and magical world of meditation. However, there are some don’ts of meditation. Here are a few rules of meditation that are good to keep in mind before beginning.
How Not to Meditate
Many people ask me if there’s a wrong way to meditate. I always have to laugh just a little bit, but then I always answer the same: meditating is like going to the gym. A little is better than none, some types are more beneficial than others, but as long as you don’t overexert yourself, you’re going to get some benefits.
That said, different kinds of meditation will generate different kinds of results. There are pros and cons to everything we do and meditation is no different. In this blog, I’ll share the pluses and minuses to the who, what, where, when, and why’s of meditation.
When Not to Meditate
Warning: Do not meditate while operating heavy machinery. But, do be very present, focused, and alert while operating machinery. Meditation can help with that.
A lot of people ask me when is the best time to meditate. The answer is whenever you can squeeze it into your life and make it a permanent habit. I prefer doing an hour first thing in the morning and an hour the last thing in the evening.
For me, that’s when I can squeeze it in without distractions. I find first thing in the morning sets me up for a great day and the last thing at night ensures a solid night’s sleep.
I know many people who like to do first thing in the morning for 20 minutes and right before dinner for 20 minutes. Having tried it myself, I find that schedule is really great at keeping a peaceful state of mind throughout the day and into the late evening.
Scientists who’ve studied neuroimaging and brain scans have found that doing at least 20 minutes a day is shown to have positive and lasting effects on our mental and physical health and well-being.
Moreover, Harvard researchers have found that mindfulness meditation has positive effects on depressed patients. It lowers our stress and makes us measurably happier too.
Is There a Best Time of the Day To Meditate?
As for the best time of day, many people in the far east say that there is a special energy in the atmosphere that makes 4 am the best time to meditate before the world has awoken and started stirring things up.
The important thing to remember is, meditation is all about how you feel throughout the rest of the day and in your life, not just about the experience you have while you’re sitting down meditating with your eyes closed.
So try different times and see what works best for you. Don’t push yourself too hard and don’t go too easy on yourself. Like the Buddha said, take the middle path.
Where Not to Meditate
Do not meditate on a tightrope above an alligator pit. However, everywhere else is pretty much fair game. It’s certainly easiest and most pleasant to meditate in a quiet, dimly lit room.
Sitting on a few pillows on the floor or with your head propped up in bed are very comfortable ways to do it. Some people prefer a chair or couch. Whatever is best for you is best for you.
Some meditation instructors will tell you that it’s best to sit cross-legged on the floor with a straight back, neck, and head, leaning slightly forward as if we’re giving our full attention and focus.
For some people, this will feel too arduous and be more distracting than it is useful. Your own personal physicality and ambitions will determine your seating arrangement. As long as you don’t fall asleep (unless you’re meditating in the evening with the intention of falling asleep), you’re good to go.
I know some people who are so busy that they can only meditate on the bus or subway to and from work. This is also totally fine (as long as you’re not driving!). For some of these people, they find tuning out the noises and distractions actually heightens their meditation practice.
For others, they like to hang a do not disturb sign on the door of their meditation room so their family knows not to come in or be too loud. In short, wherever you are able to meditate consistently is the best place for you.
Who Should Not Meditate
If you’re always happy, peaceful, blissful, fully alert and aware, one with everything, pure love, and gratitude, without stress or a care or fear in the world, congratulations. You may just be the Dalai Lama or the second coming of Jesus.
If you’re like the rest of us though, meditation is probably for you. I have never met anyone who couldn’t benefit from being happier, more patient, more relaxed, more present or more focused in their lives. These days, it seems everyone is addicted to something, whether it’s caffeine, food, alcohol, tobacco, work, TV, the news, smartphones or even social media.
Becoming more mindful through meditation helps us break the unconscious habitual thought patterns and helps us live more consciously and thoughtfully.
In case you do suffer from any kind of mental health issues, or if meditation brings up disturbing thoughts or emotions, it is best to talk with an experienced meditation teacher or healthcare professional.
However, for many people suffering from mental afflictions, meditation has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment. From OCD to ADD/ADHD and depression to anxiety, meditation addresses the root of the problem by heightening our awareness and improving our concentration.
The more we observe the nature of the mind, the more conscious we become. The more conscious we are of our own mind, the less we unconsciously create mental suffering.
Through meditation we can all become less stressed, more relaxed, more present, and more fulfilled in our daily lives.
What Kind of Meditation You Shouldn’t Do
Don’t meditate in a way that feels like such an enormous challenge that you give up on meditation after 2 minutes. Learn a few different types, try them out, and do the one that is best suited for you. An experienced meditation instructor can help you find the right type for you.
Some people like to listen to music or use meditation apps. Others like to be guided. Some people like to stare at a candle or a crystal. Some folks like to use a blindfold. While no type is bad, some are more beneficial than others.
These kinds of meditation that rely on some external factor such as sounds or objects can become a crutch that we become dependent on after a while.
How to Walk Your Meditation Path?
For some people when starting out, they need a guided meditation or music in order to relax at all. But the most beneficial types of meditation make you the guru of your own mind.
They allow you to do all the work so that you get all the benefits. This journey is all about you and only you can take yourself where you need to go.
You are your own guide. You don’t need to give your power over to anyone else. Not only this, You are whole and complete and your time for meditation is merely about you connecting with yourself.
It may be a little less entertaining than a guided meditation, but that is the point. In meditation, we want to remove all distractions and get rid of all material necessities so that you can do it anytime, anywhere.
For many beginners, and even experts occasionally, using sounds and objects can be very beneficial. But to get the most benefits, simply sitting with your eyes closed in silence is the best way to raise your level of awareness, concentration, and consciousness.
The more we simply observe our own thoughts and emotions, the more we understand the nature of our mind. The more we understand, the wiser we become, the more blissful we become, and the less we unconsciously create needless stress and suffering.
Why Not Meditate
Exactly, why not! Meditation makes us happier, healthier, and wiser. It gives us more energy, better focus and greater awareness. You don’t need to be suffering from a midlife crisis to start a meditation practice.
Meditation is the key to preventing a mental crisis in the first place. We all, kids and adults alike, need these spiritual tools in our spiritual toolbelt for whenever illness or loss does occur.
Meditation helps us process our thoughts and emotions in a positive way so that no matter what is going on in our lives, we feel a deep and abiding peace and joy that emanates from within regardless of whatever is happening in our personal lives.
Just like it’s important that we get our body checked out by a doctor, checking out your own mind is even more important and there is really only one person able to do it—you!
It’s absolutely essential that everyday we put aside all our gadgets and gizmos for just a few moments and check in with ourselves, center ourselves in the present moment, relax and slow down. It’s essential to let the body heal and repair.
How Not to Find the Right Type of Meditation for You
Do not join a cult! Do talk to an experienced meditation instructor. They can answer all of your questions and guide you in the right direction.
There are a lot of huge corporations out there right now that want to sell you a meditation experience, but they might have nothing to do with actual meditation.
Many companies have co-opted the word meditation and instead of giving people what they need, they give people what they want—a very pleasant experience but not a very beneficial one.
There’s no quick fix or easy pill to take for the benefits of meditation. Some types of meditation are easier than others, but you get out what you put in just like everything else.
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