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Learning to Meditate

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
:headscrat :headscrat :headscrat :headscrat :headscrat :headscrat

I've tried to meditate off and on for YEARS, however, EACH attempt has been unsuccessful...

Can EVERYBODY meditate, or are some people just not able to?

Any suggestions to get my body to relax to the point that I CAN meditate??

post #2 of 19

Yes everyone can...

Can I ask what techniques you have been using.

Different things work for different people.

The easiest way is to sit and count your breath. One for each inhalation. Count up to 10 and then start again..its a good way to develop your concentration.

You can also do visualizations.

post #3 of 19
Right now I am reading Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla & John Kabat-Zinn. Another book by John Kabat-Sinn is Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Good meditation information. Also, I have his Mondfulness Meditation Practice Tapes - series 2 (about $35, if I remember right). They contain some good guided meditation. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be more mindful. Meditation is part of it.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
The one that I've been doing is relaxing my body starting with my toes, and concentrating on going up and relaxing each. Problem is, they always feel relaxed, so I think I try to relax more than I need to. After that I imagine either the sun beaming down on my body, starting with my toes, and working it's way up. Or I imagine my body being filled with warm liquid...

It's hard!!!

I'll try focusing on my breath rather than my body...

post #5 of 19

one more suggestion...

visit this link:

instructions for different types of meditation. good site.
post #6 of 19
I learned to meditate with music. Picking out your favorite songs that are sort of mellow, sitting upright with hands folded through three songs, and then putting palms up for three more songs, then at the end doing your affirmations and/or visualizations.

I find that following the words to the music can be easier than pure silence (but is still hard!), and then gently bringing your mind back to the song when it starts to wander, but remembering that it is working in spite of your wandering mind.

I would get all bummed when my mind wandered thinking I had failed somehow, but once you relax on that, it seems to get easier. I have read that it can take 20 years to quiet the mind, so don't think you are alone!

Good luck!
post #7 of 19

wandering mind

Sometimes the fact that your mind is wandering becomes a distraction unto itself. The key is not to get all caught up with your mind wans=dering, acknowlede it,( Oh there it goes again) then bring yourself back to your reathm the music, whatever you are using.

post #8 of 19
Good point mami_mala.

I start with the breath, just bringing my attention back to breath.. back to breath.. because it's always there, the bridge between the body and mind.
At the end i add some loving kindness-practice. Just sending good thoughts to yourself, your family, your town, state, country... expanding as far as you can go - or what might be needed that day.

And what really works for me with this practice, is that it can be done anywhere (no excuse for not having the time!) - while on the computer, nursing my dd, talking with my dh (or better still, my MIL..) The breath is your constant companion, always reminding you of your state of mind. Last night when a throbbing toothache was keeping me awake and i had no painkillers, i did this. After some time my mind stopped reacting to the pain and eased back into the sleep.
And the loving kindness practice(metta amongst the buddhist) lends itself to everyday life as well - when reading horrible stories on the news paper, when arguments arise, when you yourself are in need of some TLC..

And this in today's spiritual marketplace is my question - what technique truly applies to my life as a mother? Meditation is a lifetime job (maybe several lifetimes ) and rarely an easy one. You're training your mind from eions of grasping. Be easy on yourself and your expectations.
post #9 of 19
Just focusing on my breath wasn't enough to keep my mind from wandering (I had been doing yoga for years and learned to exert myself physically while still focusing on my breath), but what finally helped was a candle meditation.

Sit comfortably about 12-18 inches from a candle and gaze upon the flame for two minutes, not letting your eyes move (keep the flame in the same spot in your line of focus.)

Then cover your eyes with the heels of your hands - you should still 'see' the flame. Try to keep the flame in the center. Every time your mind wanders, the flame will 'slip' - keeping it centered will force you to keep your mind centered and focused. Of course, don't forget to breathe deeply during this!

This worked for me - being more of a physical exercise than just mental...
post #10 of 19
I used to work for a lady who taught meditation classes via the Chopra Center. Deepak trained her himself.

Anyway, according to Deepak, there is NO such thing as failing at meditation.

When you sit with your eyes closed one of three things is gonna happen:

1. You will fall asleep. This means you are fatigued and you need the rest.

2. Your mind wanders all over the place from thought to thought. This simply means that you are processing stress. Gently guide your thoughts back to your breathing.

3. You will reach the void, the space between your thoughts. This is the goal of meditation.

There is no failure, each time you sit to meditate, you are making the next time easier.

I used to go to a meditation group EVERY saturday. What I noticed was that over time my body would rebel. I would say it was my ego trying to get me to stop. I would get muscle spasms or a really crazy part of my body would itch. But if I stuck with it, I would see the results.

This is a great journey!!!
post #11 of 19

How do you define meditation?

I would be interested in knowing how others define meditation. Seems like there are a lot of ideas floating around.
post #12 of 19
That is a good question yogini. My husband loves to meditate. He becomes so much more peaceful after meditating (with a mantra). I didn't like it so much. It just didn't feel right to me. I really, really love going for a long walk in the woods. I get such a peaceful feeling, I can't even explain the wonderful way it feels. So, to me, walking in the woods is my meditation. Whatever helps you feel that inner peace is what I would call meditation.
post #13 of 19
I recently went to a meditation retreat where they taught vipassana meditation. This is the same tecnique of meditation that the budda taught. I must say that before the retreat I had very little experiance with meditation and always "failed" at keeping my mind focused (or unfocused as the case may be). Now, I am meditating every day and feels much more relaxed and at ease. I have been suggesting this course to everyone I know since I got back. It really has changed my life! If you can at all find 10 days in your busy life I'm sure you will find the course worth it. They have centers around the world. I went in Washington, but I know they have a few in Canada, and some in CA, TX, and MA. Also, it is completly free! All their costs are paid for by donations from students who have completed the course. They won't accept $ from new students. If you want more info check out their website or email me.
post #14 of 19
Hi, just wanted to add that any of Swami Muktananda's books, especially "I Am That" and "Meditate, Happiness Lies Within You" are a great light on the subject of meditation. Also, yoga is a great way to achieve meditation in motion. I think that if you practice sitting meditation with a mala and a mantra it makes it easier to still the mind and slow down the thought whirlwind. My favorite mantra is Hamsa- it is the natural mantra of the ingoing and outgoing breath. As you breath in silently recite "hummm" and as you breath out, "saaa". Hamsa means I am That- "That" being Divine or of God. For more info turn to the book. Namaste.............Danielle
post #15 of 19
Yes, there are many different types of meditation styles and teachers. I would say, find the teacher or method you are intuitively drawn to and stick with it. I've been teaching meditation for many years. The best advice I can offer is to make it a routine, like getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth or taking a shower. After many months and years of doing the techniques, it becomes a beautiful part of your life.

And, taking long walks in nature is for some a "walking meditation", so to each his own. I have taught my children to meditate and it has helped them become more calm, centered and happy kids.

You can learn to teach your kids and other kids yoga and meditation through courses offered at


Some people confuse visualization with meditation, and they are two different things. Its nice to know there are moms who are meditating or at least interested!
post #16 of 19
Yogini, just checked out the livingwisdom site, it's great! Too bad the center is located all the way in California-- I'm in Long Island and looking for a place for a yoga and meditation retreat. I think I might try the Siddha Yoga retreat in upstate NY. They also have a great website with lots of info on meditation and yoga .........not sure of the address offhand, you can find it by a search. Namaste....Danielle
post #17 of 19
Hi Danielle. If you're in New York and looking for an east coast meditation retreat there are several, including the Siddha Yoga group in Fallsburg (?). There is also the Integral Yoga group (Swami Satchidananda) in Virginia, and the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania. There is an Ananda meditation and yoga retreat in Rhode Island.

On the west coast, there is The Expanding Light, in California.

You can probably find a lot of retreats by going to a site called

"The Yoga Site", I think it's www.yogasite.com or something like that. I have several friends/teachers in all different meditation organizations. If you ever get out to California, let me know and I can tell you about great yoga/meditation vacations out here, as well. It's hard to travel long distances when you've got children, and I know there are many good retreats on the East Coast. Good luck!
post #18 of 19
it really helps a lot to have a teacher. they can work with you and help you find the style of meditation for you. they are also there to inspire you and help you get back on track.

my meditation practice really deepened and became much more serious once i started practicing with a teacher.

good luck! quiet-mind thoughts for you on this quiet, rainy evening.
post #19 of 19
As I see it, meditation isn't about trying to still the mind but being aware of it, and after a certain point it stills itself. So you don't have to relax, and if you feel you have to do anything at all - even relax!- that will get in the way. If you're aware that you're not relaxed, that's great, that awareness is meditation. Just keep going!
Pema Chodron's books are great....

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