My mind is very busy and I find it hard to sit still, how do I know if I can meditate?
When people ask me this, it is almost always after they have received guidance that is not suited to a beginner. For example they’ve been instructed to “make your mind go blank” or “now think of nothing.”
This is incredibly difficult to do and not good practice for beginners.
Anyone can meditate*, we just need good guidance and support.
We all have different inclinations to different meditations at different times.
Meditating in a group is much easier.
With correct instructions and an open approach to trying different types of meditation you’ll find a practice that you look forward to and which brings you increased peace on a daily basis.
For those who struggle to sit still, then maybe a walking meditation or a movement based meditation such as Tai Chi would be a more enjoyable approach to start with.
* If you’re currently receiving mental health support please seek guidance from your advisor regarding the suitability of meditation practice at this time.
When is the best time to meditate?
Ideally the time of day when you are most alert.
Meditate at different times of day and experiment. If you have difficulty sleeping perhaps try meditating last thing at night.
Many people meditate in the morning at the start of their day, but there isn’t a wrong time.
It’s better to develop a regular routine at a less than ideal time than to not do it at all.
How long should I meditate for?
You’ll get much more benefit from quality rather than quantity.
A regular daily practice of 5 to 15 minutes is very beneficial.
If you miss a few sessions don’t worry and don’t give up. There’s always the next class to get you going again.
Where is a good place to meditate?
Firstly there are no such things as perfect conditions for formal sitting meditation but a quiet place will make it easier.
It’s beneficial to have a comfortably straight back so as to minimize drowsiness.
A chair or sofa is fine and so is a meditation cushion on the floor.
It’s not essential to sit in a crossed legged posture, however it is fine to do this too if you prefer it.
Practices such as walking meditation can be done anywhere. In fact meditation is most effective when it’s carried through into day to day living.
If we are mindful in any situation then in that moment we are practicing meditation.
Eventually with years of gentle steady practice everything becomes meditation and it stops being a separate activity.