I know this sounds silly, but how do you meditate? I know some what about it, but not a lot. I’m looking into the Buddhism religion and thats one of the main parts of it so I want to make sure I’m doing it correctly. c:
Hey sis 🙂 It’s wonderful that you’re looking into these things.
Your question is similar to asking how to exercise. There are many different ways to exercise. The “correct” way isn’t the emphasis but rather the most effective and safe way. You don’t want to injure yourself while exercising and you don’t want to use your energy inefficiently.
This is also the way with meditation. A technique is given to the beginner so as to provide an efficient vehicle for attention and practice. While you cannot “injure” yourself through meditation, there are a good deal of obstacles that may arise and cause confusion within you. Fortunately the teachings of meditation and dharma are more available now than ever before and you can find solid insight and guidance for a beginner.
There are many different forms of meditation. The most simple forms are best for a daily practice while the more complex forms make for good augmentation and exploration. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the techniques and teachings. Some meditation schools emphasize awareness, emptiness, and being, while other schools emphasize energy, chakras, and channels.
My advice is to begin with a simple meditation practice, like sitting and resting your attention on the space between your eyebrows or on the feeling of your breath flowing. I have written a lot about meditation, which you can find on the meditation page of my blog or the meditation tag.
A beginner who sits for meditation may initially experience any of the following:
The mind’s voice constantly commenting on and adjusting the meditation technique, trying to “do” the meditation. Meditation is a process, not a state or activity in the conventional sense of the word. When you sit for meditation, it is already effecting you, even if that effect isn’t on a conscious level. Don’t get hung up on whether you are meditating the right way. Sit and be still. As obstacles arise, you meet them and grow as a result. Therefore your meditation evolves from experience and practice, not from policing technique.
An intense release of emotion. This can result in tears, fear, peace, joy, or anything really. Sometimes we don’t realize what we’ve been holding onto and suppressing. Those who are new to meditation may experience a wide array of vivid emotional experiences in the first few months.
Weird sensations. Feeling hot, cold, tingly, or experiencing an assortment of sensory phenomena is common. Don’t worry about it, just allow it to be however it is.
Restlessness and lack of focus. We typically conceive of focus as something added, as if your natural state is a wandering mind and you must force it to be still. This is not real focus. Real focus means not mentally leaving where you are. It is the restlessness that is added. Until you are still and at ease, you wont realize how much energy we waste with our compulsive mental activities. The mind calms down not through force but by relaxing and being attentive. In meditation, your attention may wander down trains of thought and that is okay. Don’t scold yourself. When you catch yourself being inattentive during the meditation, just come back to the focal point of the meditation, such as your breath.
Anyone can meditate. You do not need to be a buddhist, a yogi, or whatever. If you start meditating today, your research on buddhism will be more effective, as you will be able to feel out which particular teaching school is most relevant and helpful to where you are now.
A few Buddhist books I highly recommend are: Rebel Buddha by Ponlop Rinpoche, The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron, The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Trungpa Rinpoche, and Becoming Enlightened by the Dalai Lama.
Another book I think is quite excellent is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Namaste! Much love.