The following is a collaboration piece that was sent to me that highlights a couple tips about the beautiful practice of meditation.
Meditation provides a wonderful practice for many to follow. In some cases, it can change lives. Dealing with the basis of our fear, anxiety, lack of concentration and ego (although these come in time) can have revolutionary changes on a person’s mental capacity, and can also help them process emotions, build focus, and generally live happier lives. There are hundreds of benefits to keeping a solid meditation practice, and you can found those using other resources. However, for the newcomer starting out, this can sometimes seem a little worrying. How on earth are you supposed to make the most of your meditation practice when your monkey mind seems to jump up and down, reminding you of anything and everything around you as you try to focus?
Newcomers to meditation often feel a sense of duty and obligation to get things perfect. However, this isn’t nearly what meditation is all about. Consider the following for the healthiest approach to this excellent, time-honored practice:
Grist For The Mill
When first starting our meditation practice, it can be easy to only hear all of noises that we often forget about during the progress of our normal life. When silent in a room, the drilling at a construction site perhaps a few blocks away comes into focus. Cars beeping, children shouting when coming home from school, and perhaps even your dog barking at strangers all comes into place. Of course, there are some noises that you can cancel through your actions, and sometimes heading to a quieter room of the house is an important idea. But often, meditating through this can actually provide you with a benefit.
Ram Dass, ex-Harvard lecturer turned spiritual guru once referred to this ambient noise as ‘grist for the mill.’ He stated that if you could learn to meditate with this in the background, and to experience the noises but not to be pushed around by them, your meditation could help you develop into someone with serenity with much more rapidity. Of course, this can be different for everyone, and sometimes it is best to play meditation music to cover these issues. However, grist for the mill can sometimes work out for the best, even if making slow progress, so be sure you don’t discount it.
It’s Okay To Use Helpers
Many people feel that if they don’t follow the most ascetic practice available to them, they are doing it wrong. These are the people who sit on a pillow with zero back support to begin with, wear robes, and try to meditate for one solid hour session each and every day. No. This is the fastest way to burning out, although the robes are fine. You should only take perhaps ten minutes a day in the early stages, and progress that as you move forward. It might also be that the use of a meditation machine, read meditation guides online, and the ability to join a group of meditators can all contribute to your mindset extremely well, and give you the tools to make progress and learn about the art of meditation with much more depth.
With these tips, your meditation practice could prove a wonderful life decision.