Meditation is a paradox: it is a very simple practice, and yet it is unparalleled in its ability to revolutionize your life. Your experience of life is inseparable from your experience within your mind; and so, at its core, meditation is a catch-all solution to every problem.
Before delving into ways to strengthen your meditation practice, you need to establish a practice to begin with. Here are some resources to help you do that:
- This is How Meditation Actually Works
- 9 Little-Known Benefits of Meditation
- Start Meditating Today: The BEST Resources to Start a Meditation Habit
- The Transformative Power of Meditation
While there is no ultimate “goal” of meditation apart from being entirely where you are right now, there is no denying that a stronger practice leads to better results. And if we’re committing to this practice every day, we want to make sure we’re making the most of our time.
Once you decide to embark on the journey of exploring meditation and mindfulness, there are certain tools and tactics that can facilitate an infinitely more powerful practice.
Here are 5 tips (the first 3 are in order of how they should be conducted):
1. Commit to a Routine and Create a Sacred Space
The best way to form a habit is to create a routine. If you do not set aside a regular time to meditate, you will be liable to external pressures and demands on your personal time, and your meditative habit will take a backseat. Commit to a regular time each day, whenever you are typically alert. It is very important to be alert; it does not matter whether that is in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
While not essential, creating a sacred space can add a magical quality to your daily practice. It should be a space where no one will disturb you; where you can be guaranteed time for yourself; where you feel comfortable to be totally yourself. It can be as simple as a cushion in a corner of a room, or as elaborate as dedicating an entire room to your practice. What is important is that you dedicate this space exclusively to meditation.
I wish I had known this tip when I started meditating almost four years ago. It would have accelerated my growth and saved me so much time! Stretching never crossed my mind until I took a mindfulness course with an instructor who dedicated 20 minutes of the (hour-long) class to stretching. I quickly felt an enormous difference.
If we simply plop ourselves onto our cushion, we are sitting with all sorts of tension that we are not conscious of. And the mind has a very hard time stilling itself when the body is tense.
So take even just 2 minutes to stretch, do some simple yoga poses, or just move in a way that feels natural to you prior to sitting down. It will absolutely make a huge difference!
Once you sit down to meditate, it is helpful to connect to an intention for that session. It strengthens your rationale for taking the time to meditate, and it can also inspire your thoughts and actions throughout the rest of your day.
Just ask yourself:
- Why am I sitting here today?
- What do I need to heal?
- What is it that I want to create?
- What energy do I want to embody today?
Your intention can change session to session, or it can remain the same for as long as you need it to be. Intentions are truly personal and should be guided by your intuition; let it be the first thing that comes to mind.
4. Strong Determination Sitting
Strong determination sitting is a meditation technique that can be applied no matter what style of meditation you are using. It is essentially the practice of not moving at all once you have sat down. You are not to adjust your posture in any way; you are to remain completely still for the duration of your practice.
The idea behind this is that it forces your mind to become as still as your body. If you constantly allow yourself to adjust your position, it is difficult for your mind to reach a desirable level of stillness.
5. Healing Crystals
Crystal healing is not yet a double-blind, placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed phenomenon. As a researcher and scientist myself, I can’t claim that crystals have magical powers.
But the fact is, much of science is in its infancy. And stones have very particular properties, much of which are unknown to us in terms of their spiritual uses.
Crystals have been used for ages to augment spiritual practices and to cleanse your energy field, or aura. You can hold crystals in your hands when you meditate, or you can simply put them in front of you. They can also be tied to your intention.
For instance, if your intention is to clear your mind of negative energy and thoughts, you can hold black tourmaline and clear quartz as part of your meditation.
Here are some other powerful crystals for meditation:
- Clear Quartz: a white, clear stone; resets and cleanses energy
- Black Tourmaline: a black stone; protects against negative energies, absorbs and transforms negative energy to positive energy
- Rose Quartz: a pink stone; heals the heart of trauma, increases the capacity for love and genuine relationship
- Citrine: a yellow stone; connects you to your highest purpose in life and strengthens your ambition and dedication to your pursuits
A strong meditation practice will incorporate all or most of these elements; but adding even one will definitely be a powerful adjunct to your practice!