Tuesday, 10 January 2017

How long do I need to Meditate for each day?

Meditation has been a part of my sadhana (spiritual) practices for many, many years now and I am still learning about the art of meditation and me. The relationship between the two us, the relating between the two of us, the relation between myself and meditation. It is important to remember this, that the art of meditation is something that becomes real and becomes valid and important when it is related to from a personal level rather than something generic that can be applied be everyone in the same way. Because if you do that, it won’t work. If you have trouble with meditation practise, if you resist it because it seems ‘too hard’ if you feel that no matter how long, how many years you search for positive results from your practise they just don’t seem to be there… you’ll find what I am about to share with you useful.

I can’t remember when I personally began to meditate. How could I possibly know that? Was I a child walking through the bush looking at ants? Was I much older sitting in a room being guided by a teacher? I am often asked… when did you actively begin your sadhana? The answer is, I don’t know. Meditation and the performing of sadhana, for me, is in much more a state of flux than that, there are no, in my experience, any delineation lines.

For those people who know when they made up their mind to choose to make meditation a part of their life, and for those of us who just seemed to drift into it all how long to meditate each day and when to meditate is often a question we ask.

How long do I need to do asana, how long do I need to meditate, how long do I need to perform pranayama for in order to see some positive results? The answer is not clear cut, there are many answers. There are also more questions… what type of meditation suits you best? What is your dosha, what is your age, what environment do you live in, how experienced with meditation are you?
When most of us think of meditation we think of sitting down quietly and turning our focus inwards. We think of candles and mandalas and yoga asana. Yes, this is one method of meditation though it does not suit everyone, just as one type of church does not suit everyone. Some people like cathedrals and others an ancient rainforest. 

We can move into a meditative state whilst sitting in lotus position on a beautiful rug in a special spot for such things, we can also move into the same state whilst walking or drawing or dancing or cooking or cleaning or gardening.

What activity assists you most to move into a meditative state? Today I was talking with someone who is a massage therapist and for them it is when they massage someone.

Before we can enter into a deeper meditative stage we need to be able to still the mind, to sit still, to turn what Yogananda called the sense telephones, inwardly. For some people this is very difficult because they simply cannot calm their mind. Why force things? Why not go with the flow?
So the answer to the question ‘how long do I need to meditate for each day?’ is… enough to be able to find and feel peace within and more and more time the deeper you wish you go. Begin by choosing an activity that naturally brings you to that state as quickly as possible and go from there.

If going for a ten minute walk each day brings you there, start there. If playing an instrument for ten minutes brings you there, start there. Do not fight the mind, because it will fight back. Spend time each day doing something that disengages your mind. Do not worry about time limits… start with spending some time doing something that disengages your mind and go from there.

Commit to regular practise of disengaging the mind rather than setting strict time limits for yourself. Regular practise will train the mind and eventually it will become more peaceful, as will all aspects of your life.

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