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10 Surprising Secrets About Meditation
Humans around that world have been practicing meditation in one form or another for untold thousands of years.
If you are fairly new to this ancient practice, you might find that you feel incompetent, or that the whole practice just seems strange. Don’t worry. In time, this mysterious and seemingly difficult practice will actually become second nature to you.
If you have been practicing this for a while, you might still find some new and previously unknown aspects about it.
How does meditation work and how should it be done?
We are going to tell you 10 surprising secrets about meditation that even some old-timers might not be aware of.
Keep reading and learn more about this ancient, super beneficial practice.
1. There is No Single Way to Do It
Regardless of what you might have been told, there really is no one “perfect” way to meditate, only the method that works best for you. In fact, the ancient Hindu text, the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra states that there are at least 112 different ways to meditate! Some methods have you focus on a mantra: others have you focus on your breathing. There is Transcendental Meditation, Zen, mantra meditation, and on and on and on! Feel free to experiment with different practices, then do the one that feels right to you.
2. Your Mind Will Quiet Down On Its Own
Most people spend a great deal of effort trying to quiet their mind but once you start meditating, you will find your mind will quiet down all by itself. Whether you decide to focus on your breathing or chanting or what have you, you will find that your mind quiets down and you start to simply “be”. For most people, when you try to control you mind, it only seems to slip away from you even more so. Rather than force your mind to do something, why not simply focus on one thing and watch how your mind will obey your command. Be more present and the mind will follow.
3. It Doesn’t Have to Be Lengthy
Some people make it sound as if you don’t spend at least 30 minutes meditating, you aren’t doing it right or you aren’t going to benefit from it. This is simply not true. Even if all you have is 5 minutes to be present and watch the sunset, what is wrong with that? Incorporate meditation into your life anytime and anyplace you like.
4. Anyone Can Practice Meditation
Although most people think that meditation is only for adults, the truth is that there are no real age restrictions. If your 5-year-old wants to try it, let them go for it! There is no age limit, no gender restriction, and no physical limits either! Unlike marathons, anyone can meditate! Even if you think that meditation is only for those who are “spiritual” and you are not, you can still meditate. This practice is more about controlling thoughts and being present, not about religion. Jews, Christians, Muslims and atheists can all benefit from meditation.
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5. Meditation Can Be Done in Any Position
You don’t have to sit in the lotus position to meditate. Most people find that sitting crossed legged on the floor is comfortable and allows them to stay focused, but if you cannot, for whatever reason, plop down on the floor, do it in a chair, lying on the bed, sitting in your car, or propped up with your back against a tree. Anywhere that you are comfortable is the right position for you.
6. Meditation is Very Simple
For those who have never tried it, meditation sounds mystical and obscure. The truth is, meditation can be very simple. For example, in Zen meditation, all you do is focus on your own breathing. You simply count and watch yourself breathing in and out. That’s about it. Of course, your mind might start to wander, but when you realize it, you simply bring it back to focus on breathing. It is very, very simple, but not quite as easy as it is simple!
7. Your Mind Will Wander
One of the most frustrating things for beginners is that your mind will naturally wander. You’ve been paying attention to your breathing and suddenly you discover you were making out a grocery list in your head! This is very frustrating but don’t beat yourself up about it! This only stresses you out even more, and you want to relieve stress. Realize that, like riding a bicycle, it takes practice. When you find that your mind has wandered, simply bring it back to where you want it. Be patient. You can do this with a bit of practice.
8. You Can Do This Anywhere, Anytime
Although it might not be a good idea to meditate in traffic or in the middle of a rock concert, you actually can do this just about anywhere and anytime. In fact, in Zen meditation, there is a very beautiful walking style of mediation where you are focusing on each and every step. You can meditate just about anywhere you go. For those who have been practicing this for a while, why not give it a try? Choose a different location for a change of pace.
9. Think More Like Your Dog
Being present is our natural state, and it is easy to achieve once you bring your attention to what it feels like inside the body. Even if you don’t feel anything special at that moment, you can notice how “alive” you feel, the sensations in your arms or feet. As you become more present, you will notice how all those racing thoughts just seem to fall by the wayside. Believe it or not, this is how your dog lives. He doesn’t think about dinner tomorrow, he doesn’t think about where he might sleep this afternoon, he is only thinking about how he feels and what he is doing right now.
WATCH ALSO: Meditation Tips For Beginners Video
10. You’ve Always Known How
Next time you are holding a baby in your arms or are playing with your infant, look into their eyes for a moment. They aren’t worrying about their next meal, they aren’t disappointed or feeling judgmental, they have no regrets. Babies are present and are enjoying the moment. Unlike most adults, they are not yet absorbed by their own thoughts. We have always known how to be present, we’ve just forgotten. Once you start practicing meditation again, you will find that it not only comes naturally to you, but that it feels natural and you will want to do it more and more.