Meditation Articles Series
Common Questions about Meditation
What is the best time of day to meditate?
In the early morning after your night's sleep when you are most refreshed is the best time. It will set you up for the day ahead. However, that may not be possible for you, so instead meditate when it suits you. Perhaps you may find the evening suitable before you go to bed. Do not meditate after you have eaten a meal. You could become drowsy and fall asleep.
How long do I meditate each day?
When you are beginning ten minutes a day may be enough for you. As you continue your practice you can increase that up to half an hour a day, or even an hour.
Do I have to meditate every day? I know this is an excuse but I don't always want to meditate.
No, you don't have to. Meditation is about freeing the mind, not adding another onerous burden to it. Of course in the early stages of meditation you will experience enormous resistance to sitting. That is normal, and to be expected. The mind is like a disobedient dog that won't come when its master calls it. You have to train the mind just as you would train a dog. Then the mind, like a dog becomes your obedient servant. It will do as it is told. Then you can find inner peace. This takes time. The mind is tricky and will come up with all sorts of excuses as to why you shouldn't meditate. Be aware of your resistance, be mindful of it, and don't condemn it. Practise awareness and mindfulness. Resistance will pass. In the early stages keep your meditation practice short. That will help your resistance.
My parents have told me I'm just wasting time meditating. They say I should be doing more useful things like studying. What should I tell them?
Your parents may be concerned that you are just sitting doing nothing. We are so conditioned to being busy all the time. If we look busy, then we are thought of as being productive. Demonstrate to your parents that you are able to meet your school assignments on time, and any other family obligations they may have for you. Perhaps a daily timetable of your commitments may also reassure your parents. You will find as you meditate that your clearer more alert mind will enable you to make very good academic progress.
I feel guilty when I meditate. I feel like there are more important things to do.
What is more important than inner peace? Yes, if you have been conditioned to always being busy, and there for everyone else you could feel guilty taking some time out for yourself. This is part of the mind's restlessness, and trickiness. Observe guilt, and other feelings that arise. Don't condemn it, or try to push it away. Just observe it, and see what happens.
When I meditate I do experience some degree of calmness. Then I go back into the world and I'm not always that peaceful or calm and then I feel like I've failed. What should I do?
Firstly, stop condemning and labelling yourself. Be grateful that these feelings and emotions are coming up so that you can observe them rather than judge them, or yourself. When, for example, you get angry see if you can detach from the anger rather than getting caught up in the drama of it. Observe your body's sensations when you are not feeling peaceful, observe what is happening to your breath. Continue your meditation practice and be patient and gentle with yourself. Remind yourself that you are making progress even if that is not evident at the time.
I am a devout Christian. Should I meditate?
Meditation is found in Christianity in the form of meditative prayer. Meditation is about focusing and concentrating the mind. It will not interfere with any religious belief whether you are Christian, or any other denomination. In fact it will enhance your love of God as your mind becomes clearer and not so distracted by your thoughts.
My family and friends think I'm weird because I've taken up meditation. They say it's the work of the devil. I don't want to feel isolated from them. What should I do?
Many people feel threatened when they hear the word "meditation" because they often associate it with Eastern practices that they don't understand. Often when people don't understand something, or it conflicts with their belief systems, they will ridicule and make fun of it.
However, meditation is perfectly respectable and comes from a highly respected tradition.
Don't give up your meditation practice to meet someone else's approval. That is not living in your truth. Remember that they are fearful of what you are doing because they are ignorant about meditation. Perhaps you could give them some articles on meditation to read. Continue to treat them with love and compassion. As you carry on your meditation practice, your vibration will change as you become more conscious. When you are with your family and friends you will have a beneficial affect on them because of your own peacefulness and calmness.
Since I started meditation I often see bright lights and I've become quite psychic. Is this normal?
Meditators can have altered states of awareness. It is a part of meditation and can happen at anytime. It means your consciousness is expanding. Coloured lights, revelations, insights, clairvoyance, can happen. The temptation could be becoming attached to them and thinking that that makes you special from others. Accept them, but avoid getting stuck in them or trying to seek them in your practice. If these gifts have awakened in you they could be of benefit to others especially your gift to heal.
I get frustrated doing the guided meditations because I'm not that good at visualizing. What do I do?
Not everyone is highly visual. You may learn better through sound, touch, movement, or even taste. Where a guided meditation asks you to visualize something, try using your other senses and see if that helps.