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One of the good things about social distancing and lockdown is that everyone is trying to come out of this healthier, more grounded, saner, more connected and more empathetic.
One of the key ways to do that is to meditate, and it is something most of us know the benefits, but it is practiced by few and mastered by only a handful.
Meditation requires no equipment, can be done indoors, and is extremely beneficial to cultivate calm, balance, focus, and emotional resilience in these times of uncertainty.
It helps us live, work and sleep better. It is an immediate remedy to lessen your anxiety and provide clarity of mind.
The main stumbling block for most people is the mastery of the skill of meditation. Meditation cannot be compared to any form of exercise or hobby as it is an internal skill.
Most people get some benefits out of meditation, but it is not transformative. We have to learn it by ourselves, without having images or ideas in our minds, of what it is, how it is done by others and how it would feel.
It represents a time period filled with uncertainty as there is no immediate feedback to measure one’s progress, as in any other activity like basketball, for instance. Every novice practitioner of meditation goes through this.
For meditation to get a hold the only way to cross this window of uncertainty is to continue to meditate, even if one is not sure of doing it right.
But even the initial success of increased awareness feels like failure to most novice meditators. It’s best to just do the practice to the best of your understanding, choosing a method that is okay with you and get any lingering questions answered, to decrease the ambiguity and feeling of being lost.
Choose a method: There are hundreds of ways to meditate, starting with focusing on your breath. Choose one that works best for you.
Practice with the best of your current understanding: Most beginners leave as they get uncomfortable with this practice or try to get calm or focused by themselves, not realizing that their effort is only the act of meditation and nothing else.
Meditation becomes a far more relaxed and comfortable experience, an effortless effort when you ask the questions and be at ease.
The instructions of meditation are only to guide you towards what you have to discover. Like a finger pointing towards the moon, you have to stop looking at the finger and see where it is pointing. It is good to ask questions like how to stop thinking, or worrying about an itch, or not liking what we feel during meditation.
For the first few weeks, practice your chosen method every day. After a while, you can also branch out towards some other method, like a guided meditation or some guidance from a book or article you see.
This exploration expands your repertoire of methods, expanding your understanding and making you realize that all these techniques have a core which is the same.
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