Psychology + Self-Development

Meditation Practice Do’s And Don’ts

woman meditating in the mountains
There are amazing short and long term benefits of meditation. After regular practice we can gain a higher sense of ourselves. We find we’re more patient, more able to deal with our thoughts and feelings, we may even discover a newfound energy which we can apply to our everyday lives. If you’re new or experienced with meditating, here are some tips that that can help you with your meditation practice.

DO: Establish a daily practice.

Meditation is something which requires an extent of dedication in order to truly reap the benefits we may be looking for out of it. If we’re new to our practice we may immediately be confronted by incredible mental hurdles which can be demotivating. But these hurdles are part of the experience of meditation. If we stick to our daily practice we will become more familiar with our mental tendencies which will soften the hurdles and allow for a much smoother and relaxing meditation.

A big part of it is also allowing our thoughts to rise and fall. When we try to force thoughts out of our minds, this creates lots of tension which makes it harder to meditate. When we sit with ourselves every day, we must have compassion for our mind. That’s where we’ll find peace with it.

DON’T: Expect yourself to be able to meditate peacefully at the beginning.

As previously mentioned, we are guaranteed to experience mental hurdles during our daily practice, such as constant thoughts. We may be told many times by certain people that if this is what we experience, we are meditating incorrectly. However, from my own experience, the thoughts rarely completely stop in our minds, because that’s the nature of the mind. It’s not up to us to stop the thoughts, but rather see the thoughts objectively and allow them to be, and not act upon them during our practice. Allow the thoughts to form, and allow them to leave.

What is even more powerful is if you become able to witness this happen objectively. When we get used to this practice, you will soften the mind and peaceful meditation practice becomes much easier overtime. Remember, meditation is not a sprint.

DO: Be realistic with meditation and recognize that it is a tool, not a solution

Every single one of us deals with varying degrees of mental and emotional hardships and challenges. Some people out there may believe that meditation is the answer to every single problem that we deal with, and our failure to solve our problems through meditation can be seen by some as our own fault. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

We all have the right to a calm and peaceful mind, and if we dive too deep into our practice too quickly, it can exacerbate whatever problems it is we’re dealing with. There is never anything wrong with seeking assistance from our friends, family, or professionals. Make sure to be realistic with your meditation practice and realize that it is simply a tool that can help one acknowledge and cope with the uncertainties of life, but it is not the cure to life’s problems and stresses.

If you ever find yourself struggling for weeks and months, that’s when you know that your everyday grief or troubles might be a sign of something more, and you need to get help.

DON’T: Stress too much about how you sit

While there is an important aspect to our posture during meditation, it should not be fixated on to the point where we become distracted or lose motivation. Meditation is used for stress relief but it is an activity that also requires focus, so we should sit in a posture that helps support our focus, but also allows relaxation. Whether we meditate on a chair, a mat or a cushion, our backs should be naturally straight without too much rigidness.

If we’re too straight we become tense, if we slouch too much we lose focus, so our posture should be relaxed – yet supported. Also be sure to scan your body for any tightness and allow it to lose tension. This will all help us have a much more enjoyable experience.
Ideal sitting position that is focused and relaxed.
Image Source

DO: Find other meditators

Meditation is a very independent activity, but we may find that we want to find a person or a place that encourages our practice. At these times its always handy to have someone to reach out to who has been meditating for a while and can share their experiences, as well as listen to yours and answer each other’s questions.

Many cities also have meditation centres where you can collectively meditate with others. I always find my practice becomes much richer when I’m in an environment with others meditating. Something about it makes it much easier and enjoyable. If you’re living in Toronto, here are some local meditation centres that you can visit.

DON’T: Get carried away!​

At the end of the day, it really isn’t that serious. We all have a right to feel peaceful in life, and for many of us meditation is a way to experience desired quiet and peace. But we must realize we’re all different and must find our own way to a peaceful mind.

We should not become egoistic or self-righteous as a result of our practice. A sense of peace can be found during any of our favourite activities, whether that’s sports, fitness, art, reading, meditation, etc. The end goal is always to help others. If we’re able to enrich our lives with our practice, whatever it is, we will also have the power to teach others and help enrich their lives also.

Pierce Holmes
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