How to Meditate properly

How to meditate properly is a question most beginners interested in the practice might wonder. I used to wonder this myself, and I got neck deep in apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer, or guided meditation videos, and audio files. Although these might help in the beginning to get into the rhythm of the practice, ultimately I landed on practicing meditation in silence, whenever I can. I found that the less pressure I put on it, the more I kept it as part of my morning and evening routine. 

How to properly meditate is up to you. From sitting, to lying down, repeating a mantra like Transcendental meditation teaches, to simply focusing on your breath, your practice can be as unique as you. 

How do I stop the chatter? All I do is think.

Some people argue you need to meditate for at least half an hour since we waste the first ten minutes with mind chatter and the stresses of the daily life, and it is not until you get those things out of the way that you can truly focus.

What I like to do, and what I find works, is to write all your thoughts on a  journal  before you meditate. A simple notebook will suffice, but you can use ajournal with prompts if you find it hard to write, or if writing is not your favorite thing. 

Once all the little open loops in your head are on paper, it is a lot easier to move past them when you close your eyes in silence.

Sit or lie down?

I usually meditate sitting down, because if I lay down, chances are I will fall asleep. Sleeping is a very important part of healing, but meditation has benefits of its own, which is why I try to separate the two, unless I am doing Yoga Nidra (Sleep Yoga, or NSDR) during the day, but in that case what I am trying to do is training my brain to fall asleep on command.

For how long should I meditate?

I used to set up a timer when I meditated. I experimented with 20 minutes, 12 minutes, 5 minutes, you name it. In all instances, I broke the meditation to gaze over my phone and look at how much time I had left. Every time I do this, it was like having to start over again from zero. So now I have done away with any and all distractions, I just sit there in silence and focus on my breath.

I become hyper focused on my breath, and it becomes harder to breathe.

How to breathe properly during meditation

It used to happen to me, too. I started breathing deeply, and then I never let go. It is an important part of the practice to settle your breath into a regular pattern. You never notice you are breathing during the day, consider that when meditating. What works is trying to not force it. When you exhale, do not immediately force yourself to inhale. But let your body do what it’s supposed to do. Periodically check on yourself. Loosen your stomach and chest. Let it go. Not all breaths need to be deep, that’s when your chest and back hurt, because you are forcing it. When you’re doing it right, it does not feel uncomfortable at all, and I get lost in a sort of trance.

What is the use to learn how to properly meditate?

Once you get the hang of it, it is a tool you can summon anywhere and at any time. It will help you react better to things you will encounter in your daily life. You will remember the practice when you find a new ding in your car door, or your dog poops on the carpet, or no one buys your Etsy products. Like stoicism, meditation offers an aid to a good, collected life. One where you live well by doing less, better.

Once you get the hang of it, it is a tool you can summon anywhere and it will help you react better to things you will encounter in your daily life. You will remember the practice when you find a new ding in your car door, or your dog poops on the carpet, or no one buys your Etsy products. Like stoicism, meditation offers an aid to a good, collected life. One where you live well by doing less, better.