15 Meditation Tips
When I started meditating I wish I had known some things. 25 years later I figured I’d share them with you.
1. You’re allowed to do anything that you need to.
It’s OK to move
It’s OK scratch an itch
It’s OK to adjust if you’re uncomfortable
The position you’re in can be a bonus, but it is not a necessity
This is about you, not about the technique.
2. Consistency over time is more important than how much you meditate.
Every day for 5 minutes is better than 20 minutes twice a day every other day.
3. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
Best meditation I ever had in my life was when I was able to do is 20 minutes a day two times a day, but never let that goal keep you from meditating every day.
4. Some days you’re going to daydream.
Don’t let that get you down. You put your time in and it may not have been perfect, but you’ll to do it again later or tomorrow; no worries.
5. Shutting down your thoughts completely is neither a goal nor a normal outcome of meditation.
The more important thing is how much energy you give to the thoughts and how much or how long you grasp onto them. The less energy you give them the more easily you will relax and go deeply into your own consciousness.
6. Comfortable is better than painful no matter what.
There’s no way for a normal person to be in pain by choice of position and still meditate.
7. Outside noises aren’t great, but they can be overcome or even used.
For a decade of my meditating career I lived in a flight path of an airport that was probably 2 miles away. I used the plane sounds as a reminder to go back to my focus and to let everything else go. It’s not ideal, but it definitely does help to build up your mental muscles.
8. At some point you fall asleep or nod off and wake up as you head drops.
It will disappoint you or scare the crap out of you depending on which happens. Don’t worry about it. Keep meditating if there’s still time left or get up and go about your day if there isn’t and don’t let it bother you.
10. Instead of using alarms use a consistent sound that ends.
I need a cue to stop because time tends to get funny when you’re deep in meditation. A minute can end up feeling like 15 or 20 minutes can feel like five and you’ll start wondering, “how long has it been?” instead of meditating, which is no good. Also, it can be very jarring to have a sound occur while you’re deep in meditation as a signal to stop. Great, 20 minutes of peace and now I have a bunch of adrenaline dumped in my body by a fight or flight reaction caused by a low gong noise. So go with a consistent noise and let it fade so that silence is your signal to stop.
11. Eyes open meditation is a valid way to meditative.
Personally I only meditate with my eyes open when a light is just perfect and then only partially open. I simply like to meditate more with my eyes closed, but eyes open meditation can be very powerful as well. It blurs the lines between your meditative and fully conscious states.
12. Complete darkness, not only is it not needed it isn’t best.
You want some indirect light and if possible light levels that remain consistent during the meditation. Partly cloudy days with the shades open can actually make meditation more difficult. Complete darkness on the other hand, can lead to either sleep or difficult transitions back to full consciousness.
13. The sense of smell can be used to your benefit.
I know just about nothing when it comes to aromatherapy, but I do know that a consistent smell is a wonderful way to let yourself know ‘Ahh! I’m here again, that place where I meditate. Especially helpful if you happen to be somewhere other than where you normally meditate and can produce that smell.
14. Find ways to remember during the day that you meditate.
It helps you to recall that peaceful feeling from deep within the meditation and bring it into your waking life. Meditating can be like a tool that you create in the morning and bring with you each day, to be used when needed.
15. When I’m tired I use guided meditations.
And sometimes when you’ve created time to meditate you are exhausted in that moment. That’s when I use a guided meditation. It’s simply easier for me to stay awake following someone else’s voice.
I hope that these 15 pointers help you understand more quickly than I did that meditating is about you and your relationship with yourself not about some sort of perfection in technique or some sort of fight against your conscious mind. If one person can find a little more peace a little more quickly that would be wonderful thing for me