Acceptance is peace. It washes away the tension of what we think should be and wraps us in the ease of what is.
~ Quiet Lotus
How should I sit to meditate?
Sit whatever way feels comfortable and correct for you – and
that may not necessarily mean sitting, either. Most people prefer to sit in a
chair, with their back upright and feet on the floor, or cross-legged on a cushion when they meditate, but you may find the best way for you to meditate is
lying down, standing, or walking. Time spent meditating is something to enjoy,
not endure, so be comfortable.
How long should I meditate for?
Each person’s experience with meditation is personal to her
or him and there is no length of time that is correct for everyone. The best
length of time to meditate is for however long it is, for you, before it stops
feeling comfortable and starts feeling like an act of endurance. That may be 5
minutes or it may be an hour. As a guideline I would suggest starting with a few minutes and building up to 30
minutes once or twice a day. If that feels too long, shorten the time until it
feels right for you. If it feels too short, lengthen the time until it feels
right for you. And if you let meditation spill over into the
activities of your day, bringing awareness to your thoughts and movements, it
becomes impossible to keep track of how much time you have spent in meditation. There is
nowhere to reach on the journey of meditation, so however long you meditate, it
won’t change the speed at which you get there.
I find myself falling asleep when I meditate. What can I do to stop this happening?
If you find yourself
becoming drowsy during meditation, the easiest way of increasing alertness is just to open your eyes a little, but don’t
underestimate the value of sleep, either. If you find you are regularly nodding
off when you meditate, it may just be that your body is doing what it can to
keep you healthy by grabbing the extra sleep it needs that it’s not getting at
night. We can go much longer without
meditating than we can without sleeping, so listen to your body, be kind to
yourself, and sleep if you need to sleep, then meditate when you are well rested.
Every time I sit down to meditate there are so many things that distract me, like sounds, an itch I want to scratch, or sometimes I can't stop myself swallowing. How do I stop myself from being distracted?
Let everything that you experience during your time
meditating be a part of the meditation and then nothing can distract you from
meditating. If a sound captures your attention, notice it. See if you can notice
it just as sound, neither good nor bad, and let it wash over you like the waves
in the air it is. Notice if the sound brings up any feelings in you, like
irritation. If it does, notice that, too, and then gently let it go. If an itch captures your attention, pause for a moment and notice the itch. If you need to
scratch it, let your attention follow your movement, scratch it, and move on. If
you need to swallow, swallow with awareness and move on. All these things are
just part of the flow of life and meditation is simply watching that flow; watching the sounds, the itches, and the swallowing, come and go, and watching
whatever feelings and sensations they give rise to, come and go, from one
moment to the next.