15 Jun 2021

[101] How to Prepare for Meditation

The Mind Illuminated // Dr. John Yates

Stage 1: Establishing a Practice

  • Put all effort into forming and holding a conscious intention to sit down and meditate for a set period every day, and to practice diligently for the duration of the sit

Goals for Stage 1

  •  Learn how to prepare for practice by entering meditation gradually
  • Establish a consistent daily practice where meditation is done to the best of my ability

Points of note

  • To succeed, I must recognize the obstacles that stand in my way and create solutions
  • Mastering this stage provides me with the strong foundation I need to progress rapidly through the following stages

Six Point Preparation for Meditation: motivation, goals, expectations, diligence, distractions, and posture

  1. Fire up my Motivation
    • Remind myself why I have chosen to meditate
    • Don’t judge my reasons, just acknowledge and accept them as they are
    • Having a clear sense of purpose will fire up my motivation and help me deal with any feelings of restlessness or resistance
  2. Set Reasonable Goals
    • Goals give direction, and it’s important they be realistic so I’m not disappointed
    • Ask myself what I hope to accomplish in my particular session
    • Think about the problems I’ve been working on in recent sits, and decide how I can best apply myself to the practice today
  3. Beware of Expectations
    • Be careful of ambitious expectations about where I “should be”
    • Simply sitting down to practice is an accomplishment
    • Always remember, there is no such thing as a “bad” meditation
  4. Commit to Diligence
    • Diligence means engaging wholeheartedly in the practice
    • Whenever resistance arises, the best way to overcome it is by simply continuing to practice
    • Resolve to practice diligently for the entire session, regardless of how my meditation goes
  5. Review Potential Distractions
    • Perform a quick inventory of the things in my life that could come up as distractions
    • Check to see if my mind is occupied by any worries about the future, regrets about the past, doubts, or other annoyances
    • Acknowledge these thoughts and emotions, whatever they are, and resolve to set them aside if they arise
  6. Adjust my Posture
    • Head, neck, and back should be aligned
    • Even shoulders and hands level
    • Lips closed, teeth slightly apart, tongue against roof of mouth with the tip against the back of my upper teeth
    • Eyes closed and angled slightly downward to relax forehead and face
    • With closed lips, breathe through my nose in a natural way, not controlled or forced
    • Scan my body for any tension and let it go
    • Relax and enjoy myself

It doesn’t matter how long I spend on the Preparation because it is a form of meditation. If my mind wanders, bring it back by focusing on the breath. The more often I do it, the faster it goes

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