The aim of effective meditation is to arrest our conscious thoughts and to gain a spiritual perspective of the moment. The real activity of meditation is to block activity. The meditative state comes naturally when obstacles to it are removed. The key is elimination of distractions, and here are 10 tips that have helped me accomplish this:
10 Tips For Effective Meditation
- Repeat a short mantra over and over. It could be a single word or a short phrase that brings you peace. This will keep your conscious mind occupied, thus preventing your mind from drifting.
- Surround yourself with a droning sound such as crickets, ocean waves, wind, rain, drums, etc. and focus only on that sound.
- Recite a prayer, mantra, poem, etc. that brings you peace. Allow your mind to stop in between words or phrases. Focus on the space between the words or phrases for as long as you can. When you find yourself getting distracted, move on to the next word or phrase.
- Focus on each or your senses, one at a time, and gradually tune them out.
- Focus on each part of your body. Relax each muscle group one at a time.
- Recognize that you are not your body. Imagine your consciousness expanding beyond your body.
- Try meditating while performing repetitive physical activity such as walking, running, stretching, Yoga, etc. Focus solely on the movements of your body or the environment moving around it.
- In practicing meditation, remember the meaning of the word practice. As with all spiritual endeavors, we aim to practice and progress, not to perfect. This life is a physical experience and our thoughts and behaviors are influenced by the physical world. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to achieve perfection in any spiritual practice.
- Do not be concerned about failure. There is no failure. A few years ago, I encountered a problem when meditating. Whenever I would get to a point where I felt as if I was about to achieve nearly perfect peace and clarity, I would get excited and stressed, thus drifting out of my meditative state. I began to anticipate this excitement and would sabotage my meditative state before it happened. Eventually, I learned to accept the excitement and it eventually stopped happening. The fact is, thoughts and feelings, including those that give rise to stress, both positive and negative, will occur. The trick is to acknowledge them and let them go without following them, trying to control them or judging them.
- Do not be concerned about falling asleep. If you find yourself drifting off to sleep during meditation, it is probably the case that you are successfully quieting your mind and are in need of sleep. Meditation induced sleep is restful and rejuvenating.
When the moment feels eternal, time has no relevance and you feel as if you are peering into heaven, you have found success in meditation.
For a general guide to mediation see How to Meditate Effectively.