Originally posted on Kamal Shah’s blog
I have been meditating for a few years now. I started off with a ten minute session every morning. After a few years, I increased it up to 45 minutes twice a day but found it too much and finally settled down to ten minutes twice a day.
Meditation is, very simply put, mindfulness. Being aware of what the mind is thinking. Here are the simple steps you can use to get started:
1. Find a clean, calm, quiet place to sit.
2. Close your eyes and cup your hands in your lap or one on each knee.
3. Focus on your breath. Just notice your breath. Notice the air entering and leaving your nostrils.
4. Your mind will invariably wander. The moment you realise it has wandered, bring back the focus on your breath.
5. Continue this for the amount of time you would like to meditate. You can put a timer on your phone or just continue till you would like to.
6. Open your eyes slowly at the end.
That's it. The important thing to know is Step 4 above. We tend to feel guilty when the mind wanders. Even the world's most experienced meditators have their minds wander. Never feel bad about it or think that the meditation session wasn't good. Every session is good. However much your mind wanders. Just remember to bring your focus back once you realise it has wandered.
Within a few years, the period of wandering will gradually reduce and the time spent focusing will increase. I find these silent gaps between periods of distracted thinking very blissful. People say eventually, there is no wandering and only bliss. I would love to reach that state but I realise I am far, far away.
What are the benefits of meditation?
There are quite a few. You get to know your mind better. You realise it is yet another organ, much like your hands and legs. You learn not to identify with it. You start recognising the thought patterns and find ways to distance yourself from these patterns. This gives you a huge advantage as you dwell lesser and lesser in negativity.
Mindfulness meditation is a non-religious activity which everyone can do. If ten minutes sounds unnerving, start with two minutes. Slowly increase the duration. Keep at it for a few months regularly. Try to make it part of a morning ritual say, before or after your shower or your morning tea/coffee. You will see the benefits in a few months and then nothing will stop you.