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The two big questions for meditation beginners.

One of the MIndsprings members asked a very pertinent question today about starting out on her meditation journey:

Where am I going to do this and, more importantly, when am I going to do this?

Tackling the last one first, it's important to do a cost-benefit analysis of meditation. It's going to cost you time, so the benefits better be worth it.

This is why we often set an intention before practising. Rather than just plonking down on the floor and wasting 20 minutes in a grumble, better to say to yourself:

  • "I'm doing this for my mental health"

  • "My stress is causing damage to my body, so I'm tackling it"

  • "I'm doing this to a better Mom/Teacher/Husband"

  • "I'm going to get enlightened in this session for the benefit of the Universe".

(That last one is a specifically turbo-charged Buddhist one.)

As we practice more, the benefits become clearer and clearer and so it becomes easier to carve out cast-iron time for your practice. And people around you will welcome the time you take because you flourish afterward.

In terms of where you meditate, this is much simpler after we've set our intention and started to value the why of our meditation.

Essentially you can practice anywhere where you won't be disturbed.

For parents or people living in a busy house with siblings or roommates then it might be best to practice outside. If you have a garden or a park nearby this is ideal. But you can also find churches nearby that are open or libraries or museums!

If you can close a door in your own home, then you might like to make a "Do Not Disturb" sign. And then in the space, make it delightful to your senses: flowers, candles, incense. Keep it clean and tidy - even if it's a little corner in a bedroom.

Basically, you need space to lie down and a comfortable chair or meditation cushion. (The flowers, bells and buddhas are optional).

Then hang up your Do Not Disturb sign, turn off your telephone, download a guided meditation and - hey presto! - you're on the way to doing something good for yourself (and for the world).

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My son (who's been a practicing Buddhist for quite some time) and I were talking about this yesterday. I told him that on the days I meditate, I always get more done. It was not a benefit I had anticipated. He said his teacher told him "Meditating 20 minutes a day is best, but if you're busy, you should meditate for an hour".

I always love me some crazy Buddhist humor!

Alistair Appleton
Alistair Appleton
May 23, 2022
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That's very true. Sometimes the craziest wisdom is the sanest!

If you're too busy to be with your mind, chances are that you mind is not running as it should be. So slow down and attend...

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