Meditation step by step (Transcript)
Today we’ll be looking into meditation step by step. This is a complete guide on how to meditate from start to finish. I’ve been talking about the illusory nature of reality and the stages of the spiritual journey.
But some of you out there are probably thinking, “hold on a minute — let’s slow down. I need to know how to meditate before we start talking about the world being a dream and these big ideas.”
So let’s get back to basics today. But I do want you to know that this podcast is going to contain simple meditation instructions. But we’re also going to dig into some bigger questions about life and reality.
You know, the majority of meditation practitioners sit down to meditate without preparing? They focus on the breath, and then they stop.
But we’re going to be talking about a much more powerful system which breaks your practice down into simple steps.
These teachings come from the great spiritual teacher Paramahansa Yogananda. He is one of the most revered Yogi’s of the 20th century. And if you haven’t read his Autobiography of a Yogi, it’s an amazing, life changing book, so check it out.
The system we’re going to talk about today, which I’ve adapted from Yogananda’s work is called the four P’s. The P’s stand for preparation, practice, peace, and post practice.
But if you want to get the complete guide to meditation, you can download the mini e-book. It’s called How to meditate: The Ultimate Guide. And that’s part of the meditation starter pack.
Meditation Step by step: Setting up
All right, so let’s begin with our guide to meditation step by step. But before we even start with the meditation practice, we need to make sure that you are set up.
To do that, make sure that you have set aside a meditation space for yourself. It’s a good idea to have a separate meditation space in a corner of the room. Or even a separate room for meditation if you can. And then we can just head over there for our meditation practice. Add flowers, candles, or incense to create that spiritual energy and peaceful vibe.
Reduce distractions, so turn off your phone, turn off your email notifications. And let people know that you are practicing meditation.
It’s helpful to set a timer, especially at the beginning. Time can get a little bit messy in meditation. So if you can set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes, it’s going to be a lot easier. And you’ll have a greater sense of reward when you finish practicing.
Finally, decide on a position that you’re going to sit in. Are you going to sit on a cushion on the ground? Are you going to sit on a kneeling bench? Or are you going to sit on a chair?
Make sure that if you do sit on a chair, you’re not sitting on an arm chair or a sofa. Sit on a dining chair, or another chair that has a flat base so that you’re not reclining. But make sure you’re comfortable and that you can keep a straight spine. That goes for any of the positions that you’re sitting in.
Meditation step by step#1: Preparation
This is the stage that is missing from most people’s meditation practice. Because most people sit down to meditate without relaxing the body and mind. And that’s a mistake, because they’ll find that tension lingers into their practice.
I know that people think that meditation is the relaxation technique. And while that is true, if we’re not already relaxed, meditation can be a struggle; it can be difficult. But if we’re relaxed, meditation is going to intensify that relaxation. And it’s going to take us deeper into that still state.
So here are a few things that we can do to relax the mind and body before we go into our meditation practice.
The first thing is doing a few simple stretches or yoga poses. Yoga is the perfect preparation for meditation. It releases physical tension and helps us to internalize the mind. So if you can do a few simple poses, that’s going to help. If you have an idea of yoga already, if you know some basic poses, then go ahead and do a simple 5 to 10 minute routine.
Moreover, I recommend forward fold, backward bend, downward dog, cobra, child’s pose, and cat cow. – a very simple routine. And this is going to help relax your body and mind, which is going to deepen your meditation practice.
We can also do the body scan where we scan the attention through the body. Notice any tension and relax each body part as you go.
So that’s the physical preparation.
For mental relaxation, we can do a few breathing techniques. Practice deep breathing, diaphragm breathing, measured breathing, double breathing. There are many breathing techniques out there. We’re not going to explore how to do these today. But do a simple breathing technique before your practice. Again, that’s going to help you to go much deeper.
Next, try to get into the right mindset by saying a simple prayer. Or you can express gratitude by saying thank you for some of the things that you appreciate in your life.
It’s important that we start with a positive mindset. Otherwise, we can spiral into negativity. We start worrying; we start thinking about the fact that we’re doing it wrong. So if we can get ourselves into a positive mindset, it’s going to help reduce frustration and take us deeper.
Finally, be sure to relax and smile. Enjoy the practice and try not to be so serious. We’re supposed to enjoy this. So bring joy, bring peace and allow yourself to enjoy your meditation.
Meditation step by step #2: Practice
So this is the heart, the main part of your meditation practice.
After we’ve finished doing the relaxation exercises, we focus on the breath. Feel the breath in the nose flowing in and out. We let go of controlling the breath and allow it to take on its natural rhythm. Allow it to flow, and then watch it. Be an observer of the breath.
Whenever the mind wanders, bring it back to the breath. And as you watch the breath, try to be positive and kind to yourself. Try not to get frustrated and lost in those downward spirals of negativity. Try to be disciplined, but remember that kind to yourself is important too.
You may notice that the breath begins to slow down and if the breath does slow down, that’s a good thing. Because it means that the mind is going to slow down as well. You may also want to practice a mantra. But we will save talking about that for another episode. We’re going to go deeper into the practice of mantra in a later episode.
Step #3: Peace
So now we’ve focused on the breath. We need to leave time for stillness with no techniques. Again, this is something that many people leave out of their meditation practice.
It’s important that we have time at the end of our practice without techniques. So take a deep breath in then exhale through the mouth.
Then leave the breath out and hold it out for a few moments. This will bring some stillness. And then let the breath flow naturally and sit in that state of stillness. Don’t focus on the breath. Don’t practice any mantra.
Sit in silence. Sit in that state of stillness and experience yourself: true, pure, being-ness.
If you find that your mind is still busy at this point, try to notice the small gap between the thoughts. Between thoughts, you’ll notice that there is a pause, a space. And if you focus on that space, that space is going to expand. And then you’ll find that you are more able to sit in silence.
Remember, don’t skip this step. It’s important. The reason it’s so important is because when you focus on the breath, it’s going to bring up energies. It will bring energies to the surface. And if you don’t sit in silence afterwards, it’s going to aggravate that energy.
It will bring that karma to the surface without transmuting it. We need to sit in peace if we want to find freedom from our tendencies.
As you’re doing this, lift the gaze to the point between the eyebrows. Look gently upwards, behind closed eyes, to the point between the eyebrows. This helps you keep your mind focused, and it’s going to help release that energy.
Step #4: Post-practice
For post practice, all we need to do is to return gently to the room and open your eyes. Bring yourself back in a mindful way. Bring your meditation with you into your day. Stay connected to that state of peace.
The tendency may be to get up, get on with your day and pretend that nothing has happened. You continue as you were before.But it’s important to try to stay connected.
Do something mindful, like washing the dishes or making a cup of tea. Stay connected to the breath, to the body, and leave your phone alone for a while. You may want to immediately check your emails and look at your Facebook. But that draws you out of the inward state and into the world of the mind. So, come back gently and stay connected.
Meditation: Step by Step — Final tips
Now a few final extra tips for you as you go about starting your meditation practice.
The first thing to keep in mind is to put most of your energy into building the habit. So trying to meditate for a short time every day is the most important thing, and you can increase from there.
Also focus on your mindset and on positivity. Because that is super important. We don’t want to get into cycles of frustration and negativity. And it’s easily done. So practice gratitude, affirmation, prayer, and staying positive in your meditation practice. This is going to help you to go deeper and find peace.
Enjoy your meditation. It should be fun. Don’t get too serious. Don’t get lost in technique. Enjoy it and make it fun for yourself.
Don’t do more than is enjoyable. If you’re doing 30 minutes, and that’s too long, then reduce the time a little.
And never give up. Keep going. Even if you have a bad day, and you’re going to have bad meditations, keep going. Keep going through it. It’s going to get better and better.
Remember that you’ve got everything you need to live an awesome, happy life. The thing that’s keeping you from that is the fact that you get worried and stressed out. And that disconnects you from your true purpose and from your inner peace.
But when you learn how to relax into life through meditation, everything is smoother. And you’re more able to live that life that you want to live, not a life that you fall into. So that’s why meditation is such a powerful tool.
Meditation: Step by Step — Review
So let’s review our 4-step process.
Step 1: Prepare with some simple techniques like yoga, body scan, or breathing.
Step 2: Practice by focusing on the breath and bringing the mind back whenever it wanders.
Step 3: make sure that you leave time at the end of your meditation practice to sit in peace. sit calmly, and experience that pure, peaceful state.
Step 4: Post-practice where we come back to the room gently and try to stay mindful.
So that’s it, my friend. Have an amazing week. I have a few guests lined up now to talk about some exciting topics like a good veggie diet for meditation. How to set up your meditation space. And how Reiki can aid your spiritual journey. So stay tuned for those.
Grab that, How to Meditate, e-book now. It’s in the show notes. It’s got all the information you’ve just received and more. And there’s a lot of information. So it will be helpful for you to have that, for you to come back to whenever you want to check it out.
It comes as part of the free meditation starter pack, which has loads of extra content inside as well.