8 Tips for a Terrific Meditation

1.  Avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good.  If you only have a short time to meditate, then meditate for a short time.  If you are not a very good meditator, then be a poor meditator.

2.  Short meditation is better than none at all.

3.  If your ability to meditate on your breath is very limited, if you experience constant distractions, use the breathing technique of counting your breaths. (See Modified Breathing Meditation for instructions on this form of meditation.) This will help you to keep your focus on your breath, at the price of increasing your “work” on the meditation.  Don’t let this stop  you.  See Tip number one.

4.  Be respectful of yourself.  Be erect, good posture, (lying down is acceptable and desirable, although you may be more likely to fall asleep), but also give yourself the physical support that you need.

A Calm Image

A Calm Image

5.  When you get distracted, do not pay close attention to that distraction.  However, you may notice what was distracting you, the thoughts, or scenes.  Tuck them away for reflection later on.  These distractions can give you some good information about yourself:  where does your mind go when you are not directing it socially or at work?

6.  While you are meditating you might notice changes in how your body feels:  tuck this information away also for reflection later on.  You may learn how your body feels while you are anxious, or when you  are sad, when you are angry and especially when you are relaxed.  None of these feelings are good or bad,  these are just experiences, and you can increase your knowledge about yourself as you reflect on them.

7.  If a sitting or lying meditation makes you too restless, consider some meditation with movement: walking meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, or QiGong.

8.  When thoughts go through your mind, whether you are doing a breathing meditation, an imagery meditation, or a mindfulness meditation, it is important to allow them to come and then go.  Remember:  these are just thoughts, they are not reality.  Your reality (here and now) is that you are meditating.

In a mindfulness meditation you want to welcome your thoughts, and in other types of meditation you want to accept the thoughts, but allow them to move on.  You don’t need to grab the thought and invite it to lunch, or solve the problems that it presents.  You don’t have to help it feel better, or celebrate with it.  Allow it to come and go.

This is wonderful practice in letting go of things that are not in the here and now.  Attention to the here and now is the first principle of anxiety reduction and calming.  This is also very good practice in letting go of things that are out of your control.