Many people want to learn how to meditate but never attempt it because quieting the mind can seem like quite an overwhelming task. And in fact it is. Trying to control the mind is like trying to control the wind.
However with a good technique we can indeed direct the mind to focus for a short period of time. A period which, with practice we can make longer and longer.
In the yoga sutras it is said that we need an object of focus for our meditation. Training ourselves to concentrate on this symbol is the first step. The state of meditation arises naturally once we have trained the mind to concentrate. Many beginners start their practice by focusing on the breathe…a form of meditation that is much more effective for advanced practitioners. Beginners need a powerful symbol to first develop the ability to focus and concentrate. Otherwise the mind will be wandering around from one thought to another. And despite taking the time to sit and practice, the real state of meditation will remain elusive.
In order to train our concentration muscle, of course we need to practice. But there are also timeless tricks and tips from the yogic texts that can really help us reduce the struggle in the beginning. They are simple yet powerful.
During our upcoming Gozo retreat we will be teaching a technique which has a good structure. This will help the mind prepare itself for meditation. Instead of jumping straight in with an alpha wave brain state…this structure will help walk the mind into a deeper state of relaxation. This makes concentration becomes much easier. This helps you avoid the frustration of failing to direct your mind. Actually in meditation there is no failure. All meditation is simply having the awareness and stamina to ‘begin again’ every time you find your mind wondering. However it is a waste of time to begin again every second just because you have not prepared yourself to enter the state of meditation or because you are using a technique that is not appropriate for your level of concentration.
In Gozo we will be teaching Pranayama breath exercises, a meditation technique which can be used for a 5 minute or 40 minute practice. We will also teach simple rituals that will help involve your heart and thus deepen your practice. When on retreat our minds are naturally more relaxed. This makes it a great time to start meditating and make enough progress to be able to maintain a personal practice.
If you can’t make the retreat over autumn we will be offering some separate meditation workshops. Message us to join our mailing list and be kept up to date with our events.