Why You Should Practice Meditation & 5 Must Follow Guidelines

I have a feeling that since you are reading this, you are one of the x percent of the world population who have managed to secure their meals for the week and a roof to sleep under. Also, I'm assuming that your concentration is not shattered with worries about your house getting shelled by an opposing army in the near future and that your domestic world and internet connection are stable enough for a few minutes of reading.

That, dear reader, is the basic form and requirements of meditation – a simple accounting of the present moment.

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It is true that we each have our paths to walk, and that enlightenment cannot be forced when the time is not yet ripe. Meditation, like any other lifelong practices, is a calling. And callings do not arrive until all other matters are settled, such as food and bills and where the children are sleeping. So meditation might not work for everyone, but since you have gotten this far, it might work for you some day soon. No pressure.

No matter how big a hype it has gathered, how many benefits the scientific researches have concluded, nobody could be called into switching what is comfortable in their lives with “sitting still for minutes, letting the world go by”, until something goes wrong enough (and something usually does), to make meditation seem like the only possibility left to try.

And here you are, on a website about brainwaves and meditation. Whatever the keywords that have brought you here, something has gone wrong enough to make you want to read about meditation, even if you can't put a finger on it yet.

Whatever you have heard, whether you have never tried it before or just feeling experimental, here are the few guidelines that I do follow.

1. Meditation is a private experience. These guidelines might work for you, or it might not. We might compare notes with fellow meditators, but it is still a private matter.

2. Meditate with discretion. The point to meditation is to improve awareness, not obliterate our ability to judge and think. We are not suppose to feel so comfortable that we might fall asleep during meditation, nor are we supposed to ignore excruciating pain that might actually be signs of injury, either.

3. Meditation techniques come in different forms and mantras and durations, but one thing is common in all types, that is, to be present. Whether ordained monks or average laymen, sufis or theatre performers, being present is the first base of any meditation session, any spiritual practice. It is that simple.

4. Do not worry about what happens during meditation. Thirteen thousand thoughts might come to pass, and that is okay. Let them come and go, but stay still. The yardstick of a successful meditation is actually being able to feel okay with whatever experiences meditation brings.

5. Practice regularly. Meditation is like food for the soul, you do not feel satiated and full just from one bite, or once a week. You need to eat regularly to reap the most benefits, even if only a few bites at a time. Likewise, meditation's benefits can deepen with regular practice.

If you are curious about how it usually feels when meditation is going really well, you might try our binaural beats meditations. It creates the same sensations people experience in deep sammadhi or deep concentration.

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I'm like you, by the way. That I got to write this means that I have had the majority of my basic needs for survival covered and secured, that I have the time to write about what I love, and actually be graced with your attention. As far as I can see, things are going well with us this present moment.

And this, dear reader, is how it feels to be in group meditation – a sense of grateful harmony being amplified with comradeship.

One of the loveliest effects of mediation is that, even though it is a very solitary practice, it always feels like we are on this big boat together. Emotions are contagious; our brains are built with mirror and emphatic nerves that allow us to connect us emotionally with each other. Since meditation or concentration of thoughts generates powerful forces, so too can emotions be radiated and incepted between loved ones. And this is what we call metta meditation, of conscious radiation of loving-kindness to all beings.

The big meditation boat trip does not even have to go all the way to Nibbana or heaven or Seychelles. Sometimes a better perception of the present, or finding a moment filled with gratitude and forgiveness is all it takes to fix an entire day.

Sometimes, that one moment is followed with another. And a chain of others. And sometimes, when things are going really well (and they often do), it might infect others around us with the same.

Only recently had I seen this in practice. An old friend, who is usually the robust party animal in our society, hung out at my place and – out of sheer curiosity, asked me to read aloud the article I was studying. It was an article about the business and health benefits of meditation.

After putting up with my droning reader's voice about the statistics surrounding meditation, he said, “Can we try that?” I instructed him with the basic breathing technique, and then we set the timer.

When the timer went off, he shone. “Holy Bleep! That was bleeping awesome! Why do I feel so light? Can we do another five?”

Took me three years of practising meditation to finally convince my oldest friend to try it for 10 minutes. Every sitting during those three years were well worth the 600 seconds he spent with me in dhamma.

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