Meditation is one of those things that I’ve always put in the too-hard basket, alongside learning to sew a button and use my pressure cooker. But it turns out meditation is really not that difficult at all. Actually neither is the pressure cooker… but I’m still not great on the sewing a button front.
As you may have seen in this post about getting a better night’s sleep, a little while back I attended a meditation morning at Andrew Boy Charlton Pool, hosted by Rajesh Ramani, Meditation and Life Enhancement Mentor at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary. Rajesh took us through a short guided meditation and for the first time in my life, I felt like I got it: meditation is not about pushing all thoughts out of your mind, it’s about allowing thoughts to creep in, acknowledging them, and then letting them go. I can’t tell you how much this simple tip has changed my feelings towards meditation – it’s opened up a whole new world!
So it got me to thinking; if Rajesh could do so much for me during a single guided meditation, imagine all the other gems he must have for us! Well, imagine no longer, ‘cos I had a quick chat to the man himself, picking his brain on meditation techniques, hints and tips… and now I’m sharing them with you.
Welcome to Meditation 101… or Meditation for Beginners.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The immediate benefit of meditation is calmness and clarity. It reduces the chatter of the mind and improves attention and focus. As we do a sustained practice, meditation will help us respond to life situations from a place of balance; a much more centered approach to life.
Why do we give up on it so easily?
Restlessness and lethargy are common barriers to meditation. Often we enter a meditation practice with a ‘violent’ approach. As though it is something to be achieved and tamed. We strive to get it right and spend a lot of energy on that. This approach doesn’t work with meditation. Meditation practices need patience and gentleness. When we realize the nature of our effort is one of violence, restlessness and lethargy reduce.
Rajesh’s top five tips for getting started
1. Choose a comfortable posture with your back erect.
2. Be relaxed; be still; be watchful of what is happening in and around you.
3. Bring your focus to the object of attention for 3-4 minutes (breath, body sensations, sound, image, mantra etc). Then rest your mind for a couple of minutes. Repeat this cycle of ‘focus and rest’ a few times.
4. Do not try to control or empty your mind. If your mind wanders about, get back to the object with a gentle smile.
5. Appreciate yourself with a smile when you find yourself focused even for a short period of time. Take a mental selfie of yourself meditating.
Rajesh Ramani is a life enhancement mentor and teacher who has trained and worked in spiritual philosophy for the past 18 years. He has traveled widely and has addressed diverse audiences across the globe, helping to bring a balance in the philosophy and perception of the individual as well as organisations.
An excellent motivational speaker, Rajesh believes in ‘Finding balance through Awareness’. Through powerful processes of reflection and insights he helps you become free of conflicting repetitive responses; heal unresolved emotions; establish greater connection in relationships and rediscover core strengths and values.