For the beginner - overcoming early difficulties

Beginning your meditation practice, you will be aware of the body's restlessness and the mind's disruptive thoughts. Please be assured, the power of your determination and patience will soon overcome these initial obstacles.

Meditating at home -

After attending meditation classes you may have caught a glimpse of the possibilities of meditation; a new inner realm, a silence and stillness within. And now you want to continue the exercises and commence your regular practice at home.

For the beginner this is where your determination is important. Using your imagination, return to the exercises you were given. Have faith in yourself and continue. Because of the mind's expectations and impatience, you may feel that you are not progressing as fast as you would like. Please discard this notion, as most of our initial progress is unseen and unnoticed.

Persist with the basics. Continue with the breathing exercises to develop the power of your concentration, and use the visualisation exercises that were the most inspiring for you. Use them again and again. Slowly over the days and weeks your capacity to concentrate shall increase. Be grateful for seemingly small gains. Gradually you will find yourself meditating for longer and deeper.

Nature's magnificence

Full meditative awareness is far more than just the formal practice of sitting quietly for a few minutes each day.

The ongoing benefits of meditation bring a growing spontaneity, clarity, enthusiasm and new outlook to your life. Surround yourself with new and positive inspirations that lift your spirits. Put aside old uninspiring habits. New inspirations bring higher levels of discernment, satisfaction and happiness.

Morning meditation -

Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier in the morning, freshen yourself by bathing or washing your face and feet before you sit to meditate. To assist in your practice - wear loose, comfortable and light coloured clothing. Do you have some fresh flowers for your dedicated meditation area? Light a candle and incense. Traditionally incense is used for purification, and its continued use can become a trigger for the mind to calm. Make yourself comfortable on a chair or sit on a cushion on the floor. Sit on the leading edge, not in the middle of a folded cushion, so that the pelvis is tilted forward, straightening your back.

If there is no
Inner harmony,
There can be no
Outer joy.

-Sri Chinmoy-

You can start your practice by reading some inspiring text or by gazing at an inspiring picture. Choose an image or photo of a great spiritual Master, or a scene from Nature. Quietly go within, focus on your spiritual heart while following the path of your breath. Play some uplifting music, follow its peaceful melody. Gaze at a candle flame, or admire the beauty and fragrance of flowers. Don’t be disheartened if you have difficulty in calming the mind - everything takes time! Concentrate on what inspires you, don’t be rigid in your practice. Treating meditation as an art, be creative and flexible.

Golden river Most importantly meditation is naturally simple. Learn to appreciate the peace, silence and stillness within. Remaining alert for your mind's distractions, keep bringing yourself back to the focus of your inspiration.

As a guide, 10-15 minutes of visualisations and meditative practice is sufficient in the beginning. To conclude each session contemplate your experiences, draw on your inner experiences holding them within your heart. Then silently as a mantra offer gratitude for the moments of tranquillity and stillness you felt, no matter how fleeting.

In the beginning your meditations can be a combination of different inspirations. Use those that expand your awareness and keep you in the spiritual heart. The most important thing is to start your practice, remain sincere and try not to have any expectations. After some time you shall be inwardly guided to the best type of meditation that suits you.

The power of the mind
Is no match for
The silence of the heart.

-Sri Chinmoy-

In the evening -

At day's end for a peaceful and deeper sleep, meditate for 10-15 minutes before going to bed. Meditating before going to bed also helps you to awaken with a bright, confident and positive attitude. The renewed vitality, happiness and sense of personal wellbeing you are experiencing are all part of leading a meditative lifestyle, built around your regular practice. The formalities of sitting quietly in the mornings shall quickly become second nature to you, as shall your renewed enthusiasm for life.

Mother Nature's meditative beauty


Next - Exercise 1- The Spritual Heart