The art of meditating extends further than simply quieting our minds. Actually, for most people quieting the mind proves to be just as stressful and frustrating as the situations that brings them to meditate in the first place.
Meditation is best approached as a ritual with a particular intention. The ritual can be as simple as sitting in the same comfortable chair every time or lighting a candle or it can be more involved such as selecting a specific crystal to enhance the meditation.
The ritual serves as an announcement, a preparation for the logical mind that indicates that you are about to put yourself on a pause from the mental chatter that occurs in the background of our minds during the day. Just as sitting at our desk at work initiates work ideas and activities, or just like walking into the gym sets off a body alarm that indicates that we are about to exercise, setting up a meditation routine helps to prepare our body and our mind to go into a meditative state and it intensifies the meditation.
Siting to meditate with a specific intention in mind gives the logical mind something to occupy itself with. This allows us to drift off into a meditative state easier and longer. Instead of sitting to meditate with the goal of stopping all thoughts and quieting your mind, I find it more effective to start a meditation with a specific intention in mind, this is specially effective for those that are beginners in their meditation practice. This intention could be to breathe in light, breath out worries or stress, it could also be to reinforce a core spiritual belief, done by repeating mentally spiritual statements such as I AM Love, I AM Peace, I AM Truth.
In my meditation classes I always play background music to help to occupy the mind, this results in longer and deeper meditations. If you want to play background music during your meditations I recommend using repetitive mantras or sounds such as HU or OM.
A meditation can be as short as 10 minutes or it can go on for an hour. Some of the most effective meditations I have experienced are short, deep meditations that bring me back to a neutral point and resets me back to a more stable and harmoniuous state. You know your meditation has been productive if you come out of it recharged and with significant clarity and sense of purpose.
Meditation does not have to be practiced with eyes closed and in deep silence. For many people, active meditation such as while walking is just as effective and it can bring about new ideas, clarity, and solutions. Whether it is an active meditation or a quiet sitting meditation, it is important to set up a routine of daily meditation. The benefits of daily meditation can be seen and felt right away starting with your first meditation.