In next few articles I will share my version of the methods for self-observation, specifically – protocols that work for me. These methods are an amalgam of other people’s practices and modifications as a result of my personal experience. They are simple but require consistent practice, in other words – discipline. It is important to like them or to enjoy the challenge to practice them and to tailor them to your needs.
The first method is meditation.
There are numerous myths about meditation, different types of mediations and a good deal of meditation classes which leave us very confused whether to meditate or not and if we meditate whether we are doing it right or not.
Let’s start from the beginning – some general rules. The ultimate goal of meditation is to nurture our wellbeing and to reduce or stop our suffering. Self-observation is part of this process of knowing ourselves, our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions and our habits. The most important principles of self-observation are: it is non-judgemental and does not require action following the insights it delivers.
I practice transcendental mediation – or, should I say my version of it. I researched thoroughly for a while and found out that this type of meditation best suits my personality and my needs. It works for me.
Here is my transcendental meditation protocol:
1. The meditation pose
The pose is sitting and comfortable. The sitting position gives the right balance between focus and relaxation and with practice you will start to feel this balance. The same applies to comfort – find a sitting position that feels good and relaxed – for example, your usual position for watching television, a position in which you like reading books, support for your back, a position with crossed legs, etc.
However, do not be limited by the pose. You can meditate when you walk along the beach, lake, through the forest or park, when you are in the garden, etc.
2. Length of meditation
I do 20 mins meditation. I time it by using a cooking gadget or my phone. At the beginning you may feel that the session is too long, you become restless and want to stop. If 20 mins is too long try 10 mins and gradually increase the time.
I practice meditation straight after waking up, before drinking my coffee or before looking at my phone. When we sleep our subconscious is alive and working. It makes connections and creates patterns that we are not aware of. If you meditate after wakening you may become clear about what you learned when you slept. Believe me, it works. You will be surprised by the results. Useful solutions and creative ideas will come to you easily.
Meditation can be practiced at any other time if it suits your lifestyle and daily schedule better. Sometimes I meditate in the afternoon and also feel the benefits.
4. Other conditions
- silence – personally I prefer a quiet place for my meditation – my home, my garden, park or forest
- eyes closed – I also prefer to close my eyes but it is entirely up to you
4. Process of meditation
- start by sensing your breathing, gently inhale and exhale, without controlling your breath.
- try to relax your body as much as possible by breathing into it
- start repeating the sound “Ah-hum” in your mind. The vibrations of this sound helps to settle your mind.
- your mind will wander and you will find yourself engaging with your thoughts.
- if you notice that your mind wanders and you are engaging with them, stay passive, just return to sensing your breath and repeating the settling sounds.
- gradually you will lose awareness that you are meditating.
- do not get up straight after the mediation time is over, sit for a while, listen to your body, listen to your mind and then off you go.
The most important thing – you will start feeling the benefits of meditation NOT during the meditation time but during your daily life.
They will come in two ways:
- you will notice that the universe comes to you – you will have great ideas, inspiration, creative suggestions that come to you from “nowhere”, you will feel calmer, more focused, more content , etc.
- other people, especially people who know you – family, friends and colleagues, will give you feedback about the positive changes they see in you that you haven’t even noticed.
Lastly, my honest advice – do not waste your money on meditation gurus, or meditation classes. All you need is to find a time (10-20 min) every day to practise meditation. If you are still not sure how to meditate there are so many guided meditations on the YouTube channel you are spoiled for choice.
I recommend reading the book “Bliss More” by Light Watkins. It was very useful for me when I was creating my meditation practice. Maybe it will help you too.