Let’s be honest, meditation is not easy!
A new routine is always a challenge, even if it is a healthy one and it can still be difficult to transform it into a habit. In the case of starting a regular meditation practice, from my years of experience both personally and as a teacher, I can anticipate some of the challenges you will initially face.
In this article, I will provide you with some guidance to introduce meditation as a part of your daily routine.
These five tips will assist you in dealing with the challenges that may appear on the way!
The first tip is to Be persistent.
Don't be delusional, you won't necessarily enjoy meditation at the beginning, you will in fact probably say "that it is not for me". Remember, you are putting your brain in a situation that it is not used to, it is a new challenge. And sometimes when we face something new, we may not like it.
You must persist a bit. But I guarantee that even after your first practice of meditation, you will feel better than before. You need to try for a while, let your body absorb the results of a few sessions and you can then observe what will be the beginning of a transformation in your life.
Second tip: Avoid trying too many techniques, from different lineages.
In the world of mediation, when it comes to techniques, more is less. You don't need to change the techniques every day. Stick to one technique, from one accredited methodology, and pursue it for a while. Gopi Krishna's book, 'The Evolutionary Energy in Man', mentions how he did the same technique for about 25 years until he got his highest experience. He used a very basic technique, but his discipline was impressive.
Every serious method has a period of "fermentation", and if you mix the "ingredients", you will mess up the recipe. In the West, we tend to think that if we mix the systems we will go faster, but unfortunately, that is not the case. This is because different methods use different ways to bring you to a higher state of consciousness. And many times they achieve this by working in opposing ways. For example, some methods encourage you to explore and express your sensoriality, whereas other approaches tell you to repress your feelings and senses, some styles suggest that you maintain your mind fixed on one point, whilst others suggest that you don't guide your mind at all. These examples may all work in their own way, but you must choose one methodology for it to be effective. Otherwise, it is as if you have each foot in a different boat, and you end up in the water.
Third Tip. Use supportive techniques alongside your practice.
Every traditional method of meditation also incorporates other associated techniques, examples of which include breathing exercises and vocalisation of sounds and ultra-sound. If you practise only meditation without the supportive techniques, you will limit your progress, and you may get stagnated. Depending on the situation, I usually encourage my students to focus on breathing exercises before trying any meditation, as I know for a fact that it will be more effective. A while ago, I did an experiment, where I meditated without doing any prior supportive techniques and then did the same meditation after a specific breathing exercise for meditation. After measuring my brain wave activity, you can see the results on the graphic provided, with breathing exercise and without breathing exercise. The outcome is impressive and can be clearly spotted!
Tip 4. Make sure to have an experienced teacher to guide you.
If you really want to progress, you will need a teacher. Someone that has been taught how to overcome the natural obstacles of the mind. You don't need a "guru", who dresses in orange and looks like they came from a faraway land. You just need someone with more experience than you, who can give practical tips that will allow you to overcome the challenges you'll face on the way. I have my teacher, who also guides me during those moments that I need a small push. Trust me, having a more experienced teacher is fundamental if you want to evolve in the realm of traditional meditation!
Tip 5. Maintain a routine.
Discipline and constancy are crucial for your development. Not only in meditation but in any field of self-knowledge. The great Aristotle called it "dynamis", he believed that for one to be virtuous, he also needs to have discipline and that no virtuous comes naturally. If what you want through meditation is to expand your consciousness and explore the potentiality of your brain, you must practise it daily. But of course, don't feel guilty if you fail one day or another.
The first book strictly about meditation, written by Pátañjali even gave a name for this discipline and consistency, it's called "abhyasa", which is translated as diligent practice. You must develop a routine, every day, at the same time, without missing a single day. However, accept that you are human and sometimes we blunder, just don't punish yourself for that.
"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength" - Marcus Aurelius.