How to Practice Meditation at Home Successfully
Meditation at home can be easy if one is capable of limiting or removing all distractions. One must also take the proper steps in order to be in the right frame of mind. The practice of meditation takes a regular and rigorous effort if one is to get to a place where it becomes natural and less taxing.
Practicing meditation at home is likely the easiest place to do it because one can control all the distractions and be alone with one’s own thoughts and feelings. The process can be quite beneficial if one commits to doing it a few times a week or everyday if possible. Sticking to a regular schedule will be tough but will eventually make things easier. Strict focus is required and a mind free of wandering and distraction is mandatory.
This article digs into how to start a successful meditation practice at home.
The Process of Meditation
Meditation is beneficial to many people. It alleviates stress. Centers you. And calms you. There are a slew of benefits.
However, in Western culture, people are more focused on juggling a hundred different things at once, accumulating vast amounts of wealth and material things, and stressing over other people, places, and things instead of themselves. A restructuring of one’s mindset can take place through a dedicated meditation practice if one is willing to commit to it.
You do have time for meditation. There is enough time in the day. You have to put yourself first so you can improve your outlook on life. Here are five tips for beginners on how to make the practice less intimidating.
1) Start with five minutes or less.
Don’t try to start off with a thirty minute meditation. It won’t happen. Start small and work your way up. I would suggest beginning with three minutes, then four, then five and so on and so forth as you get more comfortable in silence and being in your own head. Focus on deep and natural breathing. Inhale for five seconds, hold for one second, exhale for six seconds.
2) Comprehend the benefits meditation
Meditating is a proven way to deal with massive amounts of stress and anxiety. Life will inevitably throw stress at you. But by focusing inward and reflecting on why you are so anxious and down on yourself, you can instead become calm and stoic in the face of any fear that comes your way. Low self-esteem can be counterbalanced with positive affirmations through mantras recited during meditation (i.e. “May I be happy,” “May I be peaceful,” “May I be filled with compassion,” “May I be free from suffering,” “May I forgive myself so I may love myself,” “I am grateful for all that is unfolding in my life and all that is yet to come”). Meditating by focusing on the breath or the body helps one bring attention to remaining present and mindful, which vastly helps those who are tripping out about the future or beating themselves up over the past.
3) Understand the basics of meditation.
Beginners to meditation believe that the practice is aimed at allowing one to become focused without being easily distracted. While this is partly true, a more complete way to look at it is to become aware of the mind’s wandering. By realizing how easily the mind can flutter from thought to thought, from past to present to future to fantasy, one can learn to stay centered by identifying one’s thoughts and learning how to bring them back to the here and now. Once you are aware of your thought process, you can then proceed to restructuring how you think and therefore change how you act in the future. Do not criticize yourself. Be kind to yourself as you are kind to others. Compassion is key.
4) Do it your own way.
I suggest downloading the Insight Timer app on iTunes. Others say YouTube guided meditations or musical meditations work for them. Some like walking. Others like sitting in a park. Whatever works for you, do it. Psychology Today blogger, Dr. Kelly McGonigal says that taking a 10 minute walking meditation while paying attention to the sensations of your body walking, the breaths you are taking, the sun or wind on your face, what you hear and see, followed by a 5 minute session of being openly aware of your senses and thoughts, allowing what comes naturally to your mind in that present moment is a great place to start while getting some fresh air.
However, meditation at home works for many because they can control everything under their own roof. Whatever you find most comfortable or beneficial, make the practice your own. This is your life. This is your meditation practice.
5) “Decatastrophize” your thinking.
Don’t think you have to become a master of meditation within the first week of trying it. Meditation is no simple task. An easy suggestion is to work meditation into a part of your day that you know you will be able to set aside for five minutes to start so that you can get acclimated to the practice.
For example, after your morning cup of coffee, sit down for a five minute meditation in your backyard. Or right before going to bed, close your eyes and complete a deep breathing meditation while examining your day.
Getting to the point where it becomes a daily practice will take commitment and dedication. But when you get there, you will feel at peace trying different types of meditation, developing your own meditations, and dealing with life on life’s terms by reducing stress through your meditation practice. It’s progress. Not perfection.
What to focus on (and not focus on)
When meditating, one should focus on the breath, the sensations of the body, and positive or self-affirming thoughts. Meditation can be an extremely calming practice if done properly and has been used for centuries to help humans cope with destructive and deprecating feelings brought on by life’s many troubles.
Meditation can keep negative emotions such as fear, anger or envy at bay. Feelings of love (especially self-love) and compassion can be promoted to take a larger role in one’s life, changing one’s outlook and ultimately bringing them closer to lasting happiness.
We can build character by looking inward via meditation and meditating at home can be a fulfilling way to bring peace to one’s life. Goodness and compassion exists within us all if one simply has the capacity and the willingness to look deep inside one’s soul and find it.
It is imperative to live in the present moment rather than dwell on the impermanent feelings that come and go. Dwelling on the past or becoming anxious about the future are self-defeating ways to bring about additional suffering. Through meditation at home, one can concentrate on breathing and celebrate being alive each and everyday. Appreciating things we usually take for granted, the meditator can become more conscious of their thoughts and feelings and get closer to finding out who they really are.
Remember, quality, not quantity, of the meditation is more important. So again, start small and work your way up. One of the best ways to find peaceful meditation at home is to find a quiet place in your house or apartment away from all the noise and distractions. Turn the TV off. Close the windows if it’s noisy outside.
Calm your mind and bring attention to the present moment. Pick a time you can stick to. Early in the morning seems to work for many people. Sit in a comfortable position with an upright posture and close your eyes (you can leave them open though if you want). Relax the shoulders and neck and put your body at ease.
Guided meditations are a great place to start, especially for beginners. Download an app or play a YouTube video to help guide you through the meditation. One can learn the basics of meditation by listening to a trained guide to aide your budding practice.
Concentrating on your breathing (stress relief breathing) is the easiest and most calming thing one should focus on. This should be the center of attention for every meditation session you do. By avoiding distractions and fleeting thoughts, focusing on the breath is the best way to keep yourself centered in the present moment.
Becoming aware of each inhale and exhale acts as an anchor for your mind to remain focused on getting the most out of each meditation session. Through this kind of focus, one get get closer to attaining spiritual enlightenment that can bring about peace and content.
This will be a struggle at first, but with consistency and regular practice, you will become better at it each and every time. Meditating at home is quite doable and can be tackled by anyone open and willing to take it seriously.
Where to meditate
Meditate in a quiet part of your house. The backyard. Your study. Your bedroom. Wherever you feel most comfortable. Close the door and tell anyone else in the house that you do not want to be disturbed for a period of time to ensure complete concentration. Listen to quiet and soothing music if that helps. I like either nature sounds like running water or the waves on a beach or light music such as relaxing piano keys. Do whatever you need to do to get into a peaceful state of mind so you can get the most out of your meditation.
Your mind will wander. You will amaze yourself at how often and erratically your mind will jump from topic to topic. Like, “Oh, I have to get groceries today,” or “I need to get a workout in today,” or even “What am I doing this stupid meditation for anyway?” Be patient. Recognize your restless mind and realize how much it wanders and strays from the present moment.
This is important.
Once your mind wanders, bring attention back to the breath or the body or the mantra. Do whatever it takes to bring your focus of attention back to the present moment. The here and now. This will become more natural the more you practice. Counting deep breaths can help sustain focus on the present, keeping the mind free from wandering to superfluous matters.
How do you know when it’s “working?”
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Whatever brings one closer to spiritual enlightenment and lasting peace and happiness through whatever meditative means works. One should expect a struggle at first, especially if they have never tried meditation before.
It will begin to work when one feels rejuvenated after a session and feels themself changing due to this new rehabilitating practice. One should not think too much about whether their meditation is “working.” Simply trust the process and let whatever happens happen.
It is not so much about the destination. It is about the journey. The pursuit of happiness is the road we are all travelling on. There is no right or wrong way to get there. But many have found that through meditation, peace and tranquility can be attained and happiness can be found.
Expect to run into roadblocks. Expect to be frustrated. Expect to feel downtrodden at times. Expect to not stick to your schedule all of the time. This is life. We are not perfect. We are human. And because we are human, we must look within ourselves for happiness that can be found through meditation and discovering our loving-kindness and compassion.
Techniques and practices of meditation
Find whatever works for you. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. There are suggestions and guidelines. But make sure to cater your meditation practice to yourself, your own needs, and goals. Just don’t fall asleep!
Here are some additional methods and techniques to try if you are still struggling to find out what kind of meditation is best for you…
1) Guided meditations: find them on the iTunes app store, YouTube, SoundCloud, or Google.
2) Candle staring: light a candle and stare at it to hold your attention. If your mind wanders, recognize that it is and dig into why it is going where it is going.
3) Mantras: repeating words or phrases over and over can help one stay focused and find peace. Make up your own or find one online. Whatever you choose, pick one that works for you and fills you with positive energy.
4) Visualize: picture a calming image or setting in your mind. Focus on that picture and let yourself dwell on that and only that for some time.
5) Mindful meditation: close your eyes and take deep natural breaths. Allow yourself to focus on your belly filling with air and slowly releasing the air. Pay attention to the sensations of your body, scanning it from head to toe and releasing any tension that is present.
Observe: become the observer of your mind. Close your eyes and focus attention just above your eyes. Watch what the mind and body are thinking and feeling and focus solely on that. Become a third party to your mind-body experience.
Practicing meditation at home is accessible to anyone. I hope the above information has helped you take the first step on your path to spiritual enlightenment through meditation. Remember to live in the moment and love yourself. Everything else will work itself out.
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