Guide to Starting Meditation

If you are a beginner in meditation there are a few things to consider which will make meditation more successful.

  1. Don’t meditate on a full stomach. Before meditating it is best to leave a gap of 2-3 hours before meditating. If you try to meditate after eating a heavy meal, you will feel lethargic because your body is digesting the meal. This makes meditation more difficult. At the same time, if you meditate when you are very hungry, you are quite likely to find yourself thinking about food in your meditation.
  2. Don’t meditate whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Meditation involves bringing into our system peace and a calm mind. Certain drugs which make our nerves restless will make our task more difficult.
  3. Meditate with a straight back. When meditating it is important to keep the spine straight. This is because in meditation there is a flow of subtle spiritual energies from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. A straight back makes these energies flow more naturally. It does not matter whether you meditate in a chair or on the floor. The most important thing is to make the body comfortable so it does not distract you during meditation. However it is not advised to meditate whilst lying down. This is because you may easily slip into the sleep world which is contrary to the ideals of meditation.
  4. Wear clean light clothes. Before meditation it is helpful to shower and wear, clean and light clothes. Washing and changing clothes helps you to get away from the consciousness of work and enter into a different frame of mind for meditation.
  5. Set aside a corner of your room for meditation. If you can reserve a small corner of your room for meditation it will help build up a meditative vibration. After a few weeks you will start to notice a difference. When you are very advanced you will be able to meditate anywhere. But as a beginner you will be sensitive to the vibrations of a room or building. It can also help to decorate this shrine or part of your room with objects that inspire you. You could choose flowers and candles and a picture of a spiritual master if you have one. Some people may feel these objects are not necessary but they can give inspiration for meditation. Sri Chinmoy says:
‘The physical flower on your shrine will remind you of the inner flower.. The flame from a candle will not in itself give you aspiration, but when you see the outer flame immediately you feel that the flame of aspiration in your inner being is also climbing high, higher, highest.’

These objects will also be useful for certain meditation exercises.

  1. Regularity and punctuality. To be most effective meditation should be made an integral part of your everyday life. If you meditate at sporadic intervals it will be difficult to make any progress. Regularity in meditation enables you to build up a daily routine which makes your meditation more powerful. If you meditate at the same time each day, your inner being will spontaneously be ready to meditate, meditation will become easier.
  2. Eyes Open. Some people prefer to meditate with eyes close, but if you find that you are in anyway drifting off into the world of sleep meditate with eyes half open. This keeps you both in the physical world but not totally. This type of meditation is known as the ‘lions meditation’
‘Even while you are going deep within, you are focusing your conscious attention both on the physical plane and on the subconscious plane.’
  • Sri Chinmoy

This enables you to avoid the distractions of the outer world and the possibility of sleep. To follow these seven preliminary steps enables you to make the best preparation for real meditation in which we quieten the mind and dive deep within.

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