So often in life, we get stuck on the finer details as to whether we are doing something the right or the wrong way. The same is true when it comes to the practice of meditation. There is no way to check if you are doing it right because the meditative experience is internal. If you notice a positive change in yourself since you started meditation you are doing something right. The only way that you can do something wrong with meditation is if you’re not meditating at all. If you have prioritized meditation on your daily “to-do” list, you are doing something right.
The question of whether you are meditating correctly comes from an innate level of insecurity or poor belief in your abilities. You must believe in yourself and trust yourself. Just follow some simple meditation guidelines and you are sure to benefit. The whole idea behind meditation is to quiet the mind and to become mindful and present. Don’t allow your thoughts to send you into a tailspin. Avoid a state of mental disarray and unconsciousness. The benefits of meditation are endless. Let’s look at some of them. When you notice the following changes in your life, rest assured that meditation is having a positive impact.
Different styles of meditation encourage a different mental focus or physical positioning. You need to give yourself the opportunity to explore what works well for you. The most common position is the lotus position. Sit with your legs crossed and your feet touching the base of your hips. If you are not flexible and have a limited range of motion, this position may be quite difficult to assume. Just because you position yourself differently, it doesn’t mean that you are meditating incorrectly. The basic principles of sitting in this position are to provide support and comfort to the body. Align your joints and distributing our body weight evenly. This helps you avoid putting extra strain on your body causing fatigue. With good posture, you will have more stamina. So, if the lotus position causes you discomfort, it’s not the right position for you. You should try sitting with your legs crossed or stretched out in front of you.
If you battle to get yourself down onto the floor, you should meditate in a chair. Make sure to sit at the edge of the chair or to use a straight back chair to allow you to keep an upright posture. The posture we assume in meditation is important in a chair as well. Keep your shoulders relaxed and rolled back. With your chest open you will be able to breathe more easily and deeply. This will create a deeper sense of calm. Position and posture should allow you to feel comfortable, focus on your mind and be open. Those are the key principles, and everything else is just commentary! So, if you keep those principles in mind, then there is no correct or incorrect way to meditate.
Is listening to music during meditation distracting or is it helpful? Only you can answer that question for yourself. Some people find the gentle music too distracting. They feel that it detracts from their meditative experience. For those people meditating with music is not right for them. Others find that gentle background music helps them to relax and center themselves. For these meditators, music is essential to their practice.
Should your be sitting, standing, lying down, walking, moving, or dancing in your meditation? Again, you need to find the style that suits you best. If you benefit more from being still, then a seated meditation is the best route to choose. Perhaps moving your body, enhances your mental acuity. For some, it helps them and allows your negative thoughts to dissipate. They Concentrate on the present and the movement of muscles and limbs. If you can identify with that, then a moving meditation is probably the best practice for you. Sitting still without any movement may feel restrictive and unnatural. One style is not more correct than the other, the right style is the one that suits you best.
Meditation adheres to some basic principles, and if you manage to get those down, you are doing it right. Trust your intuition and your gut. Listen to what resonates with your body and spirit. You will learn to trust the process and your methods of your meditative journey.
If you’re looking for some feedback you can just look at the impact that meditation has on your life. Are you feeling calmer? Are you able to manage your stress and anxiety more effectively? Are you able to recognize your feelings and sit with them and acknowledge them? Are you able to interact with others without being judgmental? Are you able to concentrate and enter a state of flow and serenity? Are you able to refocus your mind after you become aware that it has been wandering? Are you able to understand a situation from another person’s perspective? Are you sleeping better? Are you being mindful in your relationships, career and with your nutrition? Are you feeling more “in touch” with yourself?
If you can answer yes to many of these questions, then you have nothing to worry about. Your meditation practice is looking good. If you haven’t managed to reap all of the benefits just yet, be assured that they will come to you over time. In the meantime, trust yourself. You are doing it right because it feels right.