Sometimes the hardest part of meditation is knowing where to start. Ben Decker, meditation expert and author of Practical Meditation for Beginners, answered some of the common questions people have about meditation.
What is meditation and mindfulness?
Meditation is the exercise of mindfulness.
“Mindfulness is total awareness. It’s allowing the conscious mind to saturate and fill the present moment. You allow in all the sensory thing around you, if a car alarm goes off or a dog is barking, you let it in. We’re aware of it, we’re allowing it to be how it is and we come back to the breath. We don’t allow ourselves to be concerned, we accept things as they are, and know that they’re temporary.
Every good or bad moment we have is temporary. If you’re going through something challenging good news, it’s only temporary. If you’re going through something wonderful or beautiful cherish it, because it’s temporary.”
Practicing meditation and mindfulness allows you to be in the moment and focus on what’s important in life rather than minor annoyances.
Why do we need to meditate?
Meditation leads to healing.
“Just as the physical body has an immune system, the psyche also has an immune system. The way that the physical body’s immune system works is: it’s highly intelligent. It’s programmed with its own purpose. It’s their natural purpose to function well and to heal. So our role in healing is to facilitate the conditions for healing. When we get a cut...We need to clean it close it cover it and leave it alone.
That same idea works with the psyche, the mind, the emotional body. You have to facilitate the conditions for emotional healing. You have to clean it, cover it, leave it alone...In meditation we allow the body to go into a very deep, relaxed state. You want to access stillness but not rigidity. The stillness opens up tension and the tension, and the tension is extra energy, and it’s intelligent it moves naturally where it’s needed most.”
Meditation reframes our way of thinking to be more positive and uplifting.
“What we want to do is become so aware of the thoughts that arrive in our minds that we don’t allow our inner critic to cut us down. That we don’t allow our own, harsh, negative thinking habits to prevent us from being kind and loving and generous, not only to ourselves but to other people.”
What are the benefits of meditation?
“So much of meditation is about disengaging from the delusional thinking patterns of our minds and opening ourselves up to a more compassionate connected way of seeing things."
How often should you meditate?
“You can start with five minutes a day. Five minutes a day is more beneficial than a once-a-year ten day retreat. If you really want to experience all the benefits, I recommend 20 minutes twice a day.”
Don’t do it as you’re falling asleep because, while you want to be relaxed, you also want to be awake and mindful.
What if I can’t find a quiet place to meditate?
“Anytime you eat is a great time to eat in a meditative way. Anytime you’re walking somewhere...I think those are some of the best ways to incorporate meditation into your life. Walking and eating slowly, mindfully, aware of what you’re doing, deliberately. Moving with deliberate intent and total awareness.”
How do I find time to meditate?
There is always time if you look for it.
“Everyone’s got an extra five minutes. Whether you’re waiting in the elevator. Walking somewhere, like we said, eating. Mindful driving is something you can practice.”
You can find chapters about mindful eating and walking in Ben Decker’s book.
What should I listen to as I meditate?
“Well, in meditation you’re aware of all the different sounds and movement happening in all directions around you. You’re allowing everything to be as it is, so you’re going to be listening to what’s happening in your environment.
There’s also vibrational healing frequencies...there’s a lot of different meditation music and nature sounds is also one of my favorite things to listen to.”
Where do I start?
Start with this guided meditation from Ben Decker. It is a Mettā Meditation session that focuses on being kind to ourselves and others.
At Lakanto we are committed to helping people improve their emotional, physical, and spiritual health. To learn more about how to discover your chi click here.