Meditation 101

Frequently Asked Questions about Meditation

Sleeping Buddha

This is your chance to let us know how the training programs are working for you and to ask our team of experts questions about stress, biofeedback, meditation, inner peace and whatever else is standing in your way of living an INSPIRED and OPTIMAL LIFE.

To ask a question or tell about an experience,  email us at:  retreat@mindstreaming.net

Q: What is the best time of day to meditate?

A: Many people find it easiest to meditate the first thing in the morning, before they start their day.  That way they have a “baseline” to return to as their day becomes stressful or demanding.  But if you find that difficult just know that a few minutes of mindful breathing when you are waiting for the bus or a stoplight can be very beneficial.   Even if you practice meditation in the evening, you will discover how much it contributes to your well-being and ability to live more consciously and inspired.

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Q: How long should I practice meditation?

A:  The best meditation is the ONE YOU WILL DO.  If five minutes feels “long enough” and ten minutes feels “TOO LONG,” five minutes is your ideal meditation time.  A lot of mindfulness can surface in five minutes!  When five minutes seems too, short expand to ten minutes and just see how much tranquility and peace shows up in your meditation.  Before long you will find it quite effortless to meditate for much longer periods of time.

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Q: How can I time my meditation or breathing practice?

A:  Not sure how to time it?  Download our Meditation Timer and let the sound of the Tibetan bowl gently end your meditation.  If you are not at your computer, you can purchase meditation timers on the internet that use a variety of natural and synthesized tones that are gentle. Please don’t use a “Kitchen Timer” it will jolt you out of your meditation.

How about putting that cell phone or Blackberry to real good use?  Download a gentle ring tone, perhaps a sound from nature or a chime.  Then use your phone’s alert function to time your breathing practice or meditation.

Download the Meditation Timer

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 Q: Meditation doesn’t seem to work for me, my thoughts just keep chattering!

A:   We are full of thoughts.  Our minds are in constant motion churning up thoughts.  When you are meditating and you notice a thought…just allow it to pass on through.  Its actually ON ITS WAY OUT.  It just has to pass by your conscious awareness first.  When you are meditating you are just emptying out, that’s all.  Let them go.  Stillness is at the bottom of all those thoughts.

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Q: What is mindfulness really?

A:  Mindfulness is the practice of allowing yourself to truly notice the experience you are having right now.  It is not about making your thoughts go away as many people believe.   No wonder why meditation seems difficult for so many people.  Mindfulness is about paying attention to this moment, right now.  It is about noticing everything that is happening.

When we pay attention to what is really going on, we may notice things might be quite fine.  We tend to spend a great of time awfulizing about things that might happen or ruminating again and again about things that have already happened and are actually over.  Right now, this moment might really be calm and peaceful.  Mindfulness means noticing things are fine as well as participating fully when things aren’t so pleasant.

Meditation can help develop mindfulness skills.

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Q: What is the difference between mantra and mindfulness meditation?

A:  There are many forms of meditation.  Meditation is the practice of focusing one’s attention on a single thing, such as one’s breath or a visual image.  In mantra meditation, one focuses the attention on the repetition of a phrase such as “peace”  or a sacred sound such as a sanskrit phrase like “ Om Mani Padme Om.”   Mindfulness meditation focuses the attention on the breath and the mind,  noticing what surfaces in the mind and returning  the attention to the breath.  In visual meditations, one focuses attention on a single image whether a deity or scene in nature.

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