Guidelines for Establishing a Meditation Practice
by Marilyn Buehler, M.Div.
1. Commit to your meditation practice. The benefits are felt when meditation is done every day.
2. Establish a regular time and sit comfortably to meditate. Sit upright, with the neck and spine aligned. An early morning practice, sets the day.
3. Use the same location for daily meditation.
4. Minimize disturbances. Remain still.
5. The stomach should be light.
6. Choose your focus. When you observe your mind wandering, gently bring your awareness to the focus of your meditation.
7. When thoughts come to mind, let them come and go. Don’t be concerned with the content of the thoughts. Gently bring your awareness back to the focus of your meditation.
8. If you are too tired to meditate, give yourself the rest you need. When you feel rested, finish with a few minutes of meditation.
9. Once a day, practice for only 5 minutes of "passive" meditation* -- to calm the body and quiet the mind.
10. After meditation enjoy the sense of inner peace and balance. The benefits of meditation are felt in daily life.
* Suggested Focus for "Passive" Meditation
i) The breath. Gently bring your attention to your breath. Observe the outward and inward movement of the breath. Observe, the natural breath, and notice the exhale is warm, and the inhale is cool.
ii) A word, phrase, or name of God. Synchronize the word, syllables, or phrase silently with the inhale and exhale. If you chose a name of God, think the first syllable with the exhale, and the second syllable with the inhale.
iii) If you are unable to find a suitable word, try thinking "So" on the inhale, and "Hum" on the exhale. The phrase So Hum is 2 Sanskrit words, So meaning "That" and "Hum" meaning "I". This could be interpreted as "I am one with the Universe".
This little beginning of a mere five minutes will also be your first step on the spiritual Path. Once you get interested in and attuned to the thought of God, you will have a constant urge to think of him for a certain period every day.
No amount of prayer and chanting would be of any value if done as a ritual. These five minutes of thought, meditation or concentration on God or the Master are a thousand times better than any prayer. God wants love, pure sincere love.
Take one name sincerely, lovingly, devotedly for a few minutes without the thought of anything else, and that is worth more than hours of mechanical prayers... Instead of wasting your time on religious discussions, reading and listening to doctrines and dogmas of different religions, love God and think of God. Meditation, concentration, and the creation of a feeling of love in the heart are the essence and substance of all religions.
To learn about the "active" style of meditation, see this page:
Meditation: Touching Spirit
Books that explore meditation:
1. Discourses by Meher Baba, Volume II, pages 111 through 175.
2. Meditation for a New Humanity by Meher Baba.
3. Adventures in Meditation by Carol E. Parrish-Harrah, PhD, Three Volumes I, II, and III.
4. Science of Meditation by Torkum Saraydarian.