There are so many myths, legends, misnomers and just plain nonsense out there about meditation - what it is, how to practice, and of course, what exactly are the many purported benefits of this ancient discipline leading us towards liberation, health and happiness.
I’ve helped hundreds of people develop their own meditation practice and when I teach, it’s from my own experiences as a consistent, daily meditator for many years. I also have a very specific training in how to encourage people to the practice as becoming a meditator can’t be forced. Meditation is an experiential process; it’s like trying to articulate a dream. I keep my teaching to what I know to be true – for myself and via my teachers before me. I also keep well versed in the developing neuroscience and research taking place, delving into the mysteries of the ancient practice.
Here are a few things I believe are important when starting to develop a meditation practice:
Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact it’s one of the most straightforward things you can do to improve your mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. All you need is to be able to sit comfortably and safely with your eyes closed. You don’t need any bells and whistles, apps or paraphernalia, just you and that beautiful body and mind.
Experiencing any of the benefits of a meditation practice requires you to commit to it daily. Just like if you want to improve your physical fitness, you have to go to the gym regularly. Meditation requires you to make it a priority, each day. I also recommend practicing a similar style and technique for at least a year before you try something else. You’ll notice that your practice takes on an evolution of it’s own.
You may have to work up to this but the research (and my own experience has validated this for me) shows that to experience the optimal chemical and hormonal shifts and un-stressing of your nervous system, we need a full meditative cycle of 20 minutes. Meditate for longer whenever you can.
Perhaps you’ve started exploring meditation, you might have done a bit of yoga or have been listening to guided meditations. Maybe you need some guidance with the three points above – especially if 20 minutes seems impossible (it’s not and there are ways we dissolve the blocks to this). Whatever your gateway into this practice, if you’d like to take the next step in becoming a fully-fledged daily meditator, it’s advisable to get training from an experienced teacher. You will need support and help as the practice unravels old conditioning and un-stresses your nervous system. I still work with my teachers as they walk this path, steps ahead of me, and there are still times when I find my practice confronting or it brings things up that I need objective help with.
If you feel your being called to this practice. Listen. Ignore the loud voice with the excuses (not enough time, money, support) and make a commitment to yourself. When we become meditators we stop abandoning ourselves and have the potential to remember exactly who we really are.
Article supplied by Claire Robbie
Claire Robbie is a meditation teacher who moonlights as a TV news presenter and is also the founder of social change initiative No Beers? Who Cares!
Claire has taught hundreds of people how to develop a daily meditation practice, as this has been the foundation of some incredible shifts in her life over the past decade. She’s devoted to exploring consciousness and teaching from her own meditation experiences over the years. Claire teaches from her meditation space in Grey Lynn, Auckland, and runs retreats and workshops around the world. You can contact Claire about learning to meditate here.