If you’ve got a question playing on your mind, meditation is a widely used practice that can help lead you to the answers.
But if you’re new to meditation or out of practice, it can be hard to hear the answers or know that you’ve received them.
Unfortunately for busy lives, you can’t put a time limit on meditation practice and expect to get the answers. Time limits are stressful and you need to be in a state of deep relaxation for the answers to manifest.
Here are some of our tips to get into a meditative state where the answers are more likely to come to you naturally.
Find a quiet area
During meditation, you mustn’t be disturbed by distracting external sounds. If you can, find a spot in nature – under the trees in a quiet rainforest, park or garden, or on the beach at dawn. It is better if you’re alone. You could be in your room early in the morning or even late at night when other occupants are not likely to interrupt your meditation.
If it helps you focus, play Tibetan temple healing sounds. The room doesn’t need to be dark, but it should not be too bright for best meditative practice.
Make sure you’re comfortable
If you’re comfortable in the lotus pose, adopt it, but if it causes pain or discomfort, then adopt a more relaxing pose. You need to be able to breathe freely, so the spine should be kept straight. If you lie down, position yourself on your back, your legs hip-width apart and allow your toes to drop outwards to the side rather than trying to point or flex them. Arms should be aligned with your body, with the palms facing upwards.
There are various standing positions, but possibly the most comfortable is to stand with legs hip-width apart, knees relaxed, head held up, and arms placed across your belly – one hand on top of the other so they move gently with your breathing.
Pay attention to your breathing
First, concentrate on your breathing before asking your question. Circular breathing, in through the nostrils without a pause to hold the breath, then out again through the nostrils is a calming breath. Remember, with circular breathing, the length of the in-breath and the out-breath are the same.
You can try alternate nostril breathing known as Nadi shodhana to calm the mind. Once in your comfortable pose, bring your hand up to your nose – the right hand for right-handed people and the left for lefties will be most natural. With the thumb, close the right or left nostril depending on whether you are right or left-handed. Breathe in through the other nostril, then exhale. Use the forefinger to close the nostril you just exhaled from. Release the thumb, then inhale and exhale. Alternate nostrils using the thumb and forefinger to attain a deep and calming breath.
Clear your mind
Some people choose to imagine a blank white screen in front of them or a lotus but do not be disturbed as thoughts keep flowing into your mind and obscuring the screen or lotus flower. Let them drift across your consciousness and let them float off. Trying to banish them only creates more thoughts jostling into your mind, so take it easy. Act like an impartial observer as these thoughts float through and away.
Many people find repeating a mantra helpful when they want to go into a deep state of meditation. Aum, or Om, pronounced Ohm is one of the most popular. It is thought that the chant aligns with the natural frequency of the universe, and the deep timbre of the sound is deeply relaxing. “Om mani Padme hum” translates as “Hail the jewel in the lotus” and is used to attain a state of deep compassion by Tibetan Buddhists. Alternatively, try Aham Prema – pronounced Aah ham pree mah. Meaning “I am divine love”, the chant will align you with unconditional love.
It’s important to remember that there’s no right or wrong way to meditate. When you meditate, you are not getting the answers from your mind but are going beyond the reasoning mind to the soul. In meditation, you are not trying to be in control. It is all about letting go to access the answers that are always there and have always been there. We are conditioned to receive answers from our reasoning minds that pose the questions, but we need to be open to receiving responses from our souls and hearts as we connect to the universe.
Every time we go back to thinking about an answer to our question, we are cutting the cord of connection to the beyond, which is where the meditation session aims to take us. The answers will come – it just takes time, patience and practice.