No doubt, you’ve seen images of people meditating, sitting in what look like uncomfortable positions. Indeed, stretching into a full lotus pose, with your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot resting on your right thigh, might be difficult initially. However, you don’t have to sit in a position that’s difficult for you. You can sit cross-legged on a cushion, or in a supportive chair with your feet touching the ground. It’s also possible to meditate when lying down if you want, although, you may fall asleep. You might have health difficulties, or simply have a stiff body, which prevents you happily sitting in specific poses. Experiment, and discover a pose in which meditating feels physically comfortable, and you’ll be better able to relax. Additionally, bear in mind that sitting with your back straight, as though you are solid and strong like a tree, will help you feel physically secure and grounded.
Managing the experience of doing nothing
Most people have trouble doing nothing; even when they are relaxing at home they watch the television or engage with another form of mental stimulation. Doing nothing is what happens when they climb in bed and turn out the light, and even then there is the intention to engage with the act of sleeping. When you meditate, there is less input from the outside world to occupy your mind and body. At the same time, you are alone with your thoughts, which you learn to acknowledge and allow to pass by, but, until then, you have to become comfortable with them arising without the need to control them, which can be difficult.
People often experience discomfort when they greet their minds, perhaps for the first time, without becoming involved with inner chatter. They have dialogues going on in their heads that consume them. Letting the voice within cease to be important is like letting go of the ego, and this isn’t commonplace. Any new behavior takes time to become a comfortable habit, and meditation is no different.
The best way to begin relaxing into your mind is to accept any thoughts that flow, imagining they are like birds flying away from your field of vision. When you see them as separate from you, you dissociate, cutting the link between them and you. At such a time, you start to experience peace in the gap, or space created by not doing anything much with your mind. You might use that space to connect with your breath, noticing what the sensation of breathing slowly and deeply is like. As you rest in the present moment, the past fades and the future is not important. Your senses become acute, as whatever you focus on, the ticking of a clock or your breath, seems sharper and more intense. Just accepting whatever you experience, while maintaining a feeling of detachment will lead you into a meditative state of oneness with your body, mind and surroundings.
Finding a place of comfort in your body and mind is one of the challenges of meditating. However, once comfort has been experienced, your system will find it easier to access that state another time. Soon, you’ll automatically feel contented, relaxed, and peaceful when you meditate.