It’s not easy to learn how to meditate. For that you need both patience and perseverance. Whatever has true value requires hard work to achieve. Yet the reward meditation offers in the form of peace, joy, love, wisdom and self-confidence is truly worth the effort and the search.
Frequently asked questions about meditation:
We’re convinced anyone can learn how to meditate. For meditation you don’t need any special talent. The only things you need is sincere motivation and regular, daily practice. If you can meditate for a few minutes every day, you will quickly experience your mind becoming much quieter and clearer. The most important thing to remember if you want to learn how to meditate well is: never give up!
There are a number of ways to calm your mind and thoughts, allowing you to meditate better. One of the most effective methods is to concentrate on a candle flame. Sit down on a chair or meditation pillow and put a candle or a tea light in front of you. Breathe calmy and gently and direct all of your attention to the candle flame in front of you. When thoughts come, try not to follow them but to keep your focus on the flame. Try to feel you are completely one with the candle flame. Concentrating like this a few minutes every day allows you to discipline and calm down your mind to a great extent.
You can recognize a good, deep meditation by the feeling it gives you about yourself and the world. If after your meditation you have a positive feeling about the world, that despite all its imperfections the world is a beautiful place full of hope and promise, than you can know that you meditated well. You’ll also feel much better and more positive about yourself. After a good meditation you feel that you are here on earth for a purpose. You have a special mission to make the world a little better and more fulfilling, and this mission only you can fulfil.
Both individual meditation and group meditation are important. Your daily individual meditation will add a new and fruitful spiritual dimension to your life. You see yourself making gradual progress and becoming a more positive, balanced and loving person. In group meditation you get a boost from all the people meditating together with you. You can compare meditation to a tug-of-war with your own mind. If you meditate in a group, all the members in the group help to pull the mind into the realm of silence. Because you pool your collective meditation strength, group meditation is often a powerful and successful meditation experience.
The best thing is to meditate early in the morning, just after getting up. Take a shower to brush off sleepiness from your body and try to sit quietly for 10-15 minutes in front of your meditation shrine. In case you don’t have a shrine, just create a quiet spot in a corner of your room which you reserve specially for meditation. If you meditate in the morning you bring the positive energy from your meditation into your day. After a while you’ll notice that the days where you meditated in the morning have a different quality than the days where you skip your morning meditation – they’re just so much better! If you are inspired you can meditate twice a day. If you meditate twice a day you can make progress twice as fast. After your morning meditation you can do your second meditation in the evening. A good time is just before dinner (it is best to meditate on an empty stomach) or just before going to bed. Then you take the peace of your meditation with you into your sleep.
10-15 minutes of meditation per day is a good start in the beginning. We recommend meditating early in the morning, because the benefits last the entire day. If you become a little more advanced you can gradually lengthen your meditation time to twenty minutes or half an hour. It’s also really good to do one longer meditation once a week, on Sunday morning for instance. Perhaps lasting 45 minutes to an hour. But do this only when you feel you are inwardly ready and have developed enough meditation power to last that long.
It’s not good to meditate on the clock. But in order to keep track of time you can place a (digital) clock off to one side and glance at it from time to time. Another option is to put a (friendly) alarm on your phone that starts chiming when your time is up. After some time you develop a natural feling for your meditation time and you will know when it is time to end your meditation.
It is wise to reserve a special set of clothes for your meditation. Just like running feels a lot better in running shoes and tights and you would wear a special dress or suit for a gala dinner, even so meditation should be seen as a special occasion that warrants a special dress code. The moment you wear your meditation ‘costume’, you send a signal to your mind that you’re about to do something special. This helps to increase your focus and inspiration, so you can start your meditation with enthusiasm.
In the spiritual world each colour has a special significance of its own. Blue represents infinity, green symbolises new life, red stands for love or divine power. In our own meditations at the Sri Chinmoy Centre we wear white clothes. White is the colour for purity and divinity – qualities that inspire and help you in your meditation.