01 Dec 4: How to Begin Meditation
The question is, how do you begin meditation? Imagine you know nothing about meditation and want to inculcate it in your life. To bring it into your present life, commit to its practice. That is the first key thing. Begin with short sessions. Make sure you meditate for a few minutes every single day and most importantly, before you go to bed at night. After watching TV, after having your dinner, after reading, the last activity you do ideally, for a meditator, is always meditation.
Sit down in your bed. You don’t have to sit at a special place; just snuggle up inside your bed, and meditate for five minutes.
Simply listen to your inhalation and exhalation. That is what meditation really is. Do not sit for long sessions in the beginning. Don’t sit for half an hour, an hour, two hours, or forty-five minutes. That is pretty much pointless because after a few minutes, most people, most beginners, are unable to concentrate. If you are not able to maintain your mindfulness, your alertness, if you are not able to be in the present moment, then such meditation is pretty much a waste of time. You would be better off sleeping or doing something you enjoy!
If you meditate correctly, you will feel great silence and peace in your mind, which is the beginning of good meditation. Most people have a misconception about meditation. They say they meditate to feel calm. That’s wrong. You can’t meditate if you are not calm. You can meditate only if you are calm already. So, do not meditate to be calm.
When you are calm and practice meditation, the next time your mind is agitated, you will feel that calmness naturally. It is a Catch-22 situation. You meditate when you are calm and then, when resistance hits you, or when you feel agitated, the meditation that you did in the past helps you to be calm. That is how you grow. It is like somebody working in a gym. You take some supplements, you temporarily grow your muscles, and you are able to lift more weight. Then, as you lift more weight, your muscles grow naturally. That is what meditation does.
So, begin by holding short sessions of meditation. You can meditate for about 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night. If time permits, meditate for 5 minutes in the afternoon before lunch, as well. Gradually, you will have to build your practice, but the extent depends on which path you wish to undertake in meditation. There is an ordinary path and an extraordinary path. The amount of effort you put in will depend on which path you wish to take, and what you actually hope to gain from your meditation.
This article is part 4 of Learn to Meditate series, and is transcribed from the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34GL4VCqBIY
Part 3: Alertness in Good Meditation, Part 5: The Six Principles Of Meditation – Black Lotus