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How to meditate.

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Chris Maragkakis. Blog author and Life Coach

There are SO many misconceptions surrounding meditation and unfortunately cause so many people to think they can't meditate or aren't doing it properly.Let's debunk a few of them and learn how to meditate.

1.You have to sit cross legged on the floor and chant to meditate. WRONG!

You can sit on a chair, against a wall, you can lie down or stand up. You can meditate while you walk or wash the dishes. Comfort is key. If you are fidgeting about, you're not meditating. So take the time to get comfortable, make sure your back and knees are supported. If you are planning on meditating for more than a few minutes , you may ant a blanket to help you stay warm.

Chanting OM or repeating a mantra can help to focus the mind and send healing vibrations out into the world but is only one form of meditation and doesn't need to be part of your practice. You probably don't want to be chanting anything that you don't know the meaning of or can't relate to and you should only do what you are comfortable with.

2. You let your mind go blank and stop thinking. WRONG!

It is impossible to stop thinking. The brain is a giant computer that is constantly processing information and produces thoughts that are aimed at keeping us in the familiar routines and belief systems that we have so that we keep “safe” The aim of mediation is to become aware of our thoughts so that we become aware of what we think about and how we think about things. When we are meditating, we are absolutely aware of our thoughts but we are trying not to engage with them so that we can observe what comes up. We cannot control our thoughts but with practice, we can stop them from controlling us.

3. I can't do it because I get distracted. WRONG!

As mentioned above, the brain is a giant computer. It is also a muscle and needs to be trained to meditate. As soon as we start to meditate ,we become aware of the myriad of thoughts going on in our heads. According to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California, the average person has 48.6 thoughts per minute – that's a lot of thinking!Everyone gets distracted,the trick is too not get frustrated by this and just see it as part of the training and then without any negative feelings bring our attention back to the focus. The more we do it, the easier it gets. They call it a meditation practice for good reason

4.We meditate to relax. WRONG!

We meditate to understand what we believe, how that effects our thoughts and behaviours and how they are impacting on our life. This knowledge and understanding then helps us to examine where our beliefs come from and if they are helpful in creating the life and the relationships that we want. Once we have identified what beliefs and thoughts are holding us back, we can work on changing them. Relaxation and improved health and wellbeing are the wonderful result of meditation, not why we do it.

Guided visualisations on the other hand are to help us relax and it's by focusing on the voice or visualisation of another person that enables us to quieten our minds and let go of tension and therefore relax. They may also help us to programme our thoughts through repetition or suggestion.

5. I don't have time to meditate WRONG!

Meditating for just 2 minutes a day can have a HUGE impact on your health and wellbeing. Starting with a small and realistic goal of meditating for 2 minutes every day will help you to stick with it and as you begin to see the benefits and it gets easier, you will want to extend your practice,. Ideally building up over time to 20 minutes a day will have the most benefit. There is an old Zen saying that you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day unless you're too busy and then you should sit for an hour. It's all about priorities and taking care of ourselves and the impact that has on others. We can all find 2 minutes a day, it comes down to whether we really want to.

So there we are, mediation is free, can be done anywhere, fitted in around our busy lives and can help us to be happier, have less stress, have better relationships and improved health.

* The only proviso I would make is that if you are currently suffering with serious mental health issues, then sitting with the breath is probably not the best style of meditation for you as focusing in on what is causing you to suffer could be detrimental to your wellbeing if not supported by professionals. Instead try a guided relaxation or chanting / repeating a mantra or maybe spending time in nature and becoming aware of the colours, smells and sights that are around you.*

Want to start?

Find somewhere quiet to sit comfortably.

Set a timer for 2 minutes.

Watch what happens when you breathe in and when you breathe out.

Is the breath warm or cold, does your tummy contact or expand, can you feel tension leaving your body?

Don't try and change it, don't try and control it. Just observe.

Each time you notice that you've gone off on a tangent, don't get annoyed, you're learning.

Just bring your attention back to your breath and there you go.. you have started your meditation journey.

If you would like to know more, you can check out my podcast and blog. If you would like me to teach you how to meditate, I run 1:1 sessions so please get in touch.

Speak soon.

Chris x

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