Updated: Jan 13, 2020
Rather like practicing a new musical instrument, regular practice is essential if one is to progress in meditation.
All that is needed to begin with is a practice of twenty minutes a day. Most practitioners find huge benefit to this. Then the practice will evolve organically as progress is made.
To start with breath meditation is the simplest and the safest technique. Later more advanced techniques using sound, light, body and open meditation can be used.
Meditation techniques are more likely to be successful if a with a few golden rules are followed. These have been written down in Sanskrit meditation texts and tried and tested over many thousands of years.
The golden rules are:
1. Find a comfortable and peaceful place to sit and allow the back and neck to straighten. This will help you stay awake through the practice.
2. No effort-if you struggle with any part of the practice, stop!
3. Start following breath at the bridge of nose where it meets the upper lip-this is the easier point to contact breath and avoid confusion later in the practice.
4. Don't change anything-if the mind wants to interfere, let it, simply allow the mind to return to following the breath.
It is very useful to contact a guide who will take you through these golden rules. This will save confusion later and having to un-learn bad practice.
The benefits to the beginner are a felt increase in clarity of mind and stability (not being pulled around by the stresses and strains of everyday life) as well as a deep feeling of joy in the heart. Often practitioners note an increase in creativity with less time spent on useless activities.
As one progress, one may want to add other techniques to the 'meditative toolbox' as some are found more useful than others depending on the challenges that life presents.
As the practice deepens most practitioners develop an interest in the philosophy behind meditation from the rich traditions of both East and West. This practical philosophy is best taught in an open and accessible way with an emphasis on how this philosophy can help meet the challenges of everyday life. The philosophy gives a direction to life and provides a context for the meditation techniques to be practiced within.
With commitment meditation can be totally life changing. Meditation becomes part of the day as life becomes more joyful and the mind clearer. Over time the practitioner learns to value staying connected all the time. The practice becomes integrated to life as it is lived, rather as an external practice that has to be learned.