Meditation is the most misunderstood concept in spirituality.
Many still believe meditation to be something like sitting cross-legged, closing your eyes, and getting kind of high. Actually, this isn’t totally wrong, but it’s just one part of meditation or rather a way of meditating.
Keeping it simple is always good, so let’s start like that.
Do you remember last summer or the one before that? Let’s say you were lying on a beach somewhere and sunbathing. The only thing you could hear was the sound of the waves. You didn’t want to think about anything—you just wanted to relax. Things like work and finances could wait until you had relaxed for a few days. This is perfect, so here we go. Meditation is not so different to this. It is just a way to clear your mind and relax. You focus on existence, just like how you focused on the waves.
When I talk to some of my friends, they often tell me they have never meditated. Do you see how ridiculous this is? It’s because people assume meditation to be something very spiritual. They think that when someone meditates, they are going to levitate. Meditation is not so awkward, though. It is basically just a way to get relaxed in mind and body.
Now, if it’s so simple, why do I keep meditating so much?
The answer is also very simple. I do it to get relaxed and stay that way. This is not something I do much, and many people do it even less. Now, when you’ve walked a long distance, you sit and rest for a while. You do it because your body and muscles are tired, so you let them rest. You care for your body. So, what about your mind? How often do you rest it? When you walk for an hour, you get tired and rest, but don’t you get tired when you’ve worked all day in the office? Don’t you need to rest your mind as well? Yes, you do, and meditation is the remedy for an exhausted mind.
As I said, meditation is little more than resting the mind, but even something this simple is not so easy. Being simple doesn’t mean it will be easy. You need to start meditating and practice it.
Think of it like this. Imagine a basketball player being coached on how to shoot. Teaching the player the technique of how to shoot probably takes five minutes max, but becoming a truly good shot could take five years or more. This also depends on how much the player practices his shooting.
This is the first part of meditation, but what about the mental experiences? As you learn to silence your mind, your feelings start to manifest more. What does this mean? How do they appear? Do they sit next to you on the couch? No. You realize your feelings starting to appear more through feeling. It’s strange, isn’t it? There is no magic formula, and it cannot be formulated. Everyone’s experience is unique to them, so if you wonder what it will be for you, I suggest you start meditating.
As you silence your mind, you face the truth from some power beyond your mind, beyond you. The mental experience starts here. You may feel, see, hear, or taste things that you cannot normally perceive. You may hear voices, even though the room is quiet. You may smell cinnamon even though there is no food in the room. You may feel like somebody is right next you, even when you’re the only one in the room.
We’ve talked enough now, so let’s meditate.
I will teach you how to meditate in five minutes, but be prepared to practice for five years to get good at it. Okay, maybe five years is excessive. If you meditate for five months, you will become a good meditator. Five months is about 150 days, and doing something 150 times will bring you to a decent level.
Go to a quiet place and close your eyes. Why do we close our eyes? There’s no mystery to this. Our goal is to silence the mind, but thoughts will come to your mind as you see things. You will see your shoes and remember you need to buy some new ones. Closing the eyes just stops this flow of information. Now for the most important part: the breathing. How should you breathe? Your breathing should be as it is when you feel most relaxed. Should you breathe through the nose or mouth? I don’t know, so try both for five minutes and see which you prefer. If you started with the mouth, after 15 minutes, you find you don’t like it, switch to the nose. The next step is to focus the mind on something. If you were on a beach, you would be able to focus on the waves, but most of the time, this isn’t possible. Therefore, it’s best to focus on your breath. By focusing I mean listening—listen to your breath. After a while, you will become relaxed and almost get lost. I won’t say much more about this— just try it and experience it.
This is a decent starting point for meditation. Naturally, there are many more details if you really want to get into it, but this is enough for beginners. If you want more information, you should practice this for a while first. Have fun!