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Leo Tolstoy

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 Tips for Successful Meditation

 1. Get comfortable. 

  •       Sit cross-legged on a pillow or meditation bench.  If you choose this style, adjust the pillow or bench so that your spine is straight and your head is directly above your spine.  When your butt is elevated just the right amount, the spine will be straight, and you will be comfortable.  At first it may seem awkward, but, when you sit for a long time, you will quickly realize the benefit.  Move around until you find the right spot.  If you begin to feel strained, adjust your posture again until you are comfortable.  If your legs start to fall asleep, switch their position, and get comfortable again.


  • Sit cross-legged on a couch or bed, putting a pillow under your butt to elevate it just a little.  This helps you keep the spine straight.  Do not lean up against something unless you can keep the spine straight.  Sometimes, it is easier to keep your spine straight when it is not touching anything, and, after your first few times meditating, after you find the right spot to keep your spine straight, it will be more comfortable, as well.


  • Sit on a chair, with your legs uncrossed and feet touching the floor.  Make sure the chair either has a straight back or that you can prop yourself up so the spine is straight.


  • If you cannot do any of the above positions, you may lie on a bed or on the floor, on your back with legs uncrossed and arms on the floor beside you.


  • If none of these positions work for you, you may meditate in whatever position you find yourself, but keep the spine as straight as possible.  A straight back facilitates the flow of blood and energy to the body.

2.  Breathe!

  • With your spine straight, just breathe slowly and deeply, inhaling and exhaling.  Concentrate on slowing and deepening the breath..  Continue for several breaths.


  • Then resume normal breathing.  If at any point, your mind starts to wander, bring it back to the breath, and repeat a few deep slow breaths.

3. Don't try too hard. 

  • Meditation is a natural process, and whenever you find yourself trying too hard, just let go.   Meditation is a process of allowing yourself to relax and let go of physical tension and emotional trauma of the moment.


  • Just let yourself sort of float into meditation.  Meditation is a process of allowing yourself to relax and let go of physical tension and emotional trauma of the moment.


  • Take a few slow and deep breaths, just to relax.


  • Visualize your body relaxing any muscle that is tight or painful.


  • Just let go! 

3.  Consciously put aside your thoughts of work, relationships, emotional upset and physical trauma.

  • A good way to do this is to see your thoughts and ego as an actual person, sort of a neurotic and nagging person.  I think of this person as my lower self.  Tell this person gently and lovingly that you are going to put them in time-out for the moment, that, as much as you appreciate them, you choose not to listen to them or be ruled by them at this time, and that you will let them out later.


  • Visualize yourself placing all your judgments, thoughts and burdens in a closet or on a shelf.  You are just storing them, for the moment, and you can pick them up later.

4.  Consciously let energy move in your body.

  • Breathe slowly and deeply, and do this for several breaths.  Then let yourself breathe normally.


  • Starting with your toes, visualize a beautiful golden light, and experience it as a tingly sensation. ( I like to picture it as a golden sparkler.)  Move this sparkly energy up the body, allowing the light to remain in areas of pain or tightness, until they release.  Bring the light through the calves, knees, thighs, pelvis, stomach, chest, up the spine to the base of the neck.. Feel everything relax, as the energy moves upward.   Visualize it moving up through your fingers, palm, wrist, arm, elbow, across the shoulders to the neck.  Then allow the light to move up the neck into the face, the chin, the mouth, the jaw, the nose and sinus cavity.  Feel yourself breathe easier.  Relax the eyes, the eyebrows the forehead, and feel the entire brain fill with light.  Then bring the light out the top of your head in a big swoosh of energy, and allow the light to move down the outside of your body, like a golden fountain.  Allow the light to flow back in the bottom of your feet, enveloping you in a golden cocoon of light.  You are safe and protected, and now direct the energy back through the body and out the head, and again, and again, until you feel the energy moving through your body, and your body relaxes.  (This visualization may also be done starting with the head and moving out through the feet.)


  • Once you have meditated for awhile, this energy flow becomes instantaneous when you sit to meditate or sometimes even when you begin to think about meditating. 

5.  Consciously let go of your thoughts of the day, of work, of relationships, of verbal and physical interactions with others.  This is your time for yourself.

  • Focus your attention on your breath and on the symbol, sound, music, or light that you have chosen.  Whenever you feel your thoughts gaining power, visualize your thoughts as fish in the ocean.  Let them come up for air, recognize them, and then let them go back under.  ("I had an argument with John today.  Back to the breath.  I am hungry.  Back to the breath.")  Direct your mind back to the breath, back to the symbol, sound or light.  Let your mind be aware of what is going on around you, but not be a part of this activity.  "Back to the breath."


  • When your thoughts are trying to take over, tell yourself, "Back to the breath".  When you hear a sound (TV, basketball, people talking, music), notice it and then gently and firmly tell yourself, "Back to the breath."


  • See your breath as people walking through the gateway of your nose.  There are all types of people.  One time they may be in ancient dress, one time in modern.  Don't focus on individual people, but focus on the flow through the gate.  It is like you are an eagle perched on the top of the gate, not interested in any individual but in the parade. 


  • Meditation is sort of like looking at those pictures where you can only see the picture when your eyes are unfocused.  It is an allowing rather than an effort.  It is a concept that only when you see the whole can you see the individual.

6.  People experience meditation in many different ways.  Sometimes it is easy.  Sometimes it is an effort for even the most experienced meditator.

  • Acknowledge how you are feeling, and let it be a part of your meditation.  Sometimes your thoughts may be so continuous that you cannot let them go completely.  Let your meditation be an exercise in letting go of each individual thought, even if that thought comes back in the next minute. 


  • Do not judge whether your meditation was good or bad.  You will find that just the effort to meditate even for five minutes, even when your mind is especially active, provides a moment of calm.  Some days you will be able to go deeper.  You may see lights or people or get answers to problems.  The next day you may just be meditating on conversations from your day, and you may not be able to go deep into meditation.  That is all right.  All meditation is good.  It is all a release and a relaxation, even if it is only for a moment.


  • Don't give up.  Make a time for meditation, whether it is five minutes or an hour, and don't get mad at yourself if you don't stick to schedule.  Just allow yourself to meditate again.


  • After meditation, most people feel that their mind has been cleared and that they have a sense of peace, but sometimes your meditations may actually intensify whatever issues you are working with.  Don't judge it; just go with it, whatever the sensation.  Many times you may feel that you received solutions to a problem in meditation.  Other times you may just feel good, and still other times you may feel like no solutions appeared.


  • You will find your meditations getting longer and deeper with time   Just allow yourself to start out meditating five or ten minutes, and, if you just persevere, you will find yourself meditating longer with little or no effort.  In fact, you find yourself looking so forward to your meditation time that you can hardly wait.


  • Many people experience meditation as a form of grounding, bringing yourself into the present, letting go of your past and future and just being here right now.


  • Often, people who are experienced meditators experience light surrounding them.  They may even feel like they are leaving their bodies for a moment.  They may hear voices or see a specific scene in their mind.  These are things that come with practice, and even if you never experience heightened awareness or visions, meditation still brings you a calm peace of mind that is, of itself, well worth the effort.

Good luck with your meditation.  May it bring you as much joy as it has brought me!

We are all one!












    Faye Johnston Enchantment Jewels Austin, Texas USA

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Last Updated January 30, 2009