Saturday, December 7, 2013

4 Commonly Asked Questions About Starting a Meditation Practice

Are you whole-heartedly contemplating adding the practice of stillness and awareness into your life? If so, let me express how thrilled I am for you. To assist you in this complex and astounding journey into mind, body and soul, here are four questions that generally spring up from my meditation/mindfulness newbies.

1. When I start to meditate, what can I expect?
Do you already have outcomes or plans listed in your head or maybe even on paper about what you are going to achieve via your practice? Maybe you are hoping for more happiness/peace, to ease physical pain, to enhance your memory or to increase your social/emotional skills.
My big advice: Let it go. In reality, all of the items listed above can be achieved plus gobs and gobs more. I can't even begin to describe the monumental blessings that meditation has fostered in my life. But, especially in the beginning, I would invite you to erase any and all probabilities. If you start with a checklist, you are setting yourself up for challenges, for the inability to relax into what is and to then open yourself to the unexpected. Simply put... expect nothing and gain everything.

2. What is the appropriate duration: five minutes, 20 minutes, once a day, twice a day?
Meditation isn't a one-size-fits-all kinda thing. I always recommend that you start somewhat loose. Commit without overcommitting or feeling like to you have to force it.
For the first week I would suggest sitting for 5-10 minutes per day ideally at the same time. Then, build upon your practice as you get more confident (e.g., increase to 15 minutes per day or maintain your practice three days per week). Confidence comes when you realize there are no bad or good meditations. I believe that some level of struggle is part of the process as our thoughts are so commanding and demanding. However, the more you watch what you are struggling against in calm, the more peaceful it will all become. Meditation is an awesome teacher of patience. Patience in yourself, patience in learning how the practice fits into your schedule, patience in possibly changing your schedule, patience in being frustrated, patience even as you find more peace, etc. (MORE)

Source: Huffington Post

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