How to Make Meditation Part of your Daily Life

By now you probably know all the benefits of daily meditation- decrease in anxiety, lowers blood pressure, improves the immune system, helps to develop intuition, and gains clarity and peace of mind; just to name a few.  However, daily meditation can seem like a daunting task to most.  A misconception of meditation is that you are forced to "empty your mind" and not think of anything for 20 minutes a day.  This is impossible for us as human beings with minds.  It is okay to have your thoughts, but important not to judge them or attach yourself to the thought.  Have your thought, and then just let it go in your meditation practice.  Here are several different ways to meditate.  Try each of them, and then find the one you connect with most.  Start small with 2 minutes a day, and then slowly increase to 20 minutes twice a day, morning and night.

Focused Attention meditation
     Focus on a single object during the whole meditation experience such as a candle, a picture, mantra, tree, any external object

Open monitoring meditation
     Instead of focusing, keep your attention open and seeing all your surroundings, keep it open without judging or having attachments to anything

Zen meditation
     Sit cross legged on floor, or in chair with feet on the floor and focus on your breath
     Count with your breath, when you inhale count to 10, doing the same with your exhale

Mindfulness meditation
     Intentionally focus on the present moment, any thoughts that come up without judgement or attachment

Loving Kindness meditation
     Thinking of yourself as a positive, loving being and then moving on to others such as a good friend, your family, significant other and then gradually moving onto the universe

Mantra meditation
     Practice a mantra either out loud or silently in your head. Traditionally 108 or 1008 times.

Some popular mantras:
     Om, so-ham, rama, yam, ham
     My favorite is lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu-it means may all beings be happy and free

Jacquelyn Thoele