Meditation does not demand a lot of effort. However, it is much easier to get started with meditation if one is familiar with the following fundamentals:
Ideally, we should meditate twice a day for 20 minutes each time. It’s great to start and end the working day in a calm place. However, even completing a single meditation session can reduce stress, anxiety and the amount of mind-wandering that occurs. The more we put in the time, the more we’ll start to notice the positive effects. There is considerable research now about the positive effects of Transcendental Meditation; the American Heart Association now recommends TM on the basis of it. TM has been shown to cut stress levels, normalise blood pressure, and increase overall happiness.
It could be beneficial to schedule meditation sessions like one would an appointment or a workout class. Or, we may incorporate it into an activity that we already do regularly, such as catching the tube or a train to work. If we miss one or more days of class because life gets in the way, we can pick up right where we left off before.
It does not matter when or where we meditate, as long as we can feel comfortable and have taken steps to avoid being disturbed; therefore, we should choose the most convenient time. Meditation could be beneficial to perform either first thing in the morning before we start our day or at night before our evening meal. Before our last meeting of the day at work or after we have dropped the kids off at school, we might always meditate as a way to reset ourselves. Instead of trying to power through stressful situations, we might consider pausing for quiet reflection whenever we find ourselves in that position.
We normally meditate for 20 minutes, but if we are really pressed we can do ten minutes. The important thing is to incorporate it into our routine.
To meditate, we do not require complete and utter stillness. Even in a noisy market we can be thinking thoughts, and whenever we can think we can meditate.
The reality is that life is rarely ever still. When we sit down to meditate, we should be prepared for the presence of distractions, such as loud music coming from a neighbor’s house, a dog barking in the street, a truck backing up, or sounds coming from another room in our own home. When this happens, rather than getting annoyed and fixating on the noise (for example, “Why is my neighbor having a dance party right now?”) or trying to block it out (for example, “I wish this music would stop”), we can simply notice our thought, let it go, and return our attention to our practice.
We always have the option of using earplugs, noise-canceling headphones, or white noise machines if it is found to be helpful.
We are free to sit wherever we feel most comfortable for the duration of the meditation. We can sit on the couch, on a chair at the dining table or in the workplace, a cushion, or prop ourselves up on the bed with pillows. You can either cross your arms and legs or uncross them, whichever seems more natural to you. Consider removing any shoes, relaxing any overly constricting clothing, and putting away any jewelry, watches, or other accessories with which we have a habit of fidgeting.
Transcendental Meditation is easy to learn, we even teach kids, but you need to learn it from a trained TM teacher. They provide the kind of practical advice beginners typically need, as well as suggestions for applying what we learn during meditation in the real world. This is possible because they have undertaken a long training themselves and are experts on how the mind works.
After we have gained some familiarity with the TM technique supported by a teacher, we are ready to go on to meditate on our own. There is a lot of encouragement and support available from your TM teacher to help you get the most from your meditation practice.