Meditation For Sleep
Meditation is simply watching the mind and for most it can be difficult. Most of us cannot close our eyes for 2 minutes without thinking about something, and getting wrapped up in our thoughts. It is indeed difficult to clear our minds of thoughts, but the idea of meditation is to watch the mind which is easier than you think.
Rather than blocking any thoughts that come through the mind, you simply let them go. I say 'simply' but it does take some practice, for example you might sit there and suddenly a thought pops into your head and instead of just letting that thought pass through, you fall into the trap of trying to solve the problem, or getting wrapped up in that thought.
So meditation is simply watching the mind, your thoughts, images or sounds that come through. See yourself as the observer, like at a movie theatre, let your thoughts come through, just like watching a movie plot unfold. You're not controlling your thoughts you are just letting it happen. With practice you can soon master this, and your mind will learn to tune out your thoughts completely, you will then be able to find true inner peace.
Absolutely anyone can meditate, if you can read this page, you can meditate, all it takes is practice. When you start practicing everyday and experience its benefits you begin to wonder how you ever managed without it. The following is a step by step guide in meditation:
Step 1: - Essentially you can meditate anywhere, but it's best to do it where you are free from distractions and in a quiet and comfortable place. If you prefer you can play soft music to help set the mood, but ensure that the music is suitable and that it's not distracting.
There are several postures that you can adopt, but the two common postures are the seated and cross-legged. If you choose to adopt the seated position, ensure that the chair has a straight back and it is comfortable and supportive. Sit on the chair with your feet flat on ground, back straight and palms facing down on your lap.
Alternatively if you want to meditate in the cross-legged position, ideally do it on a mat so that you are comfortable. Don't worry about the different cross-legged positions, just cross your legs so that it feels comfortable. Make sure that you sit up and that your palms are either facing up or down, and resting on your knees.
Step 2: - Once you are in a comfortable position, you may want to roll your shoulders back and loosen up to reduce any tension in your body before you begin. Before you start, it's a good idea to spend a couple of minutes tuning into positive thoughts.
So often people will enter into meditation when they feel stressed, this usually results in difficulty to relax properly. I normally go through a list of things I appreciate, for example a comfortable home, the sun shining, my wife, a delicious meal etc. Also try saying 'This is not a time for thoughts and worry; it's a time for relaxation and peace.'
Step 3: - Now that you are feeling positive and relaxed, close your eyes and begin to breathe in deeply and slowly. Feel your lungs fill from the bottom to the top (utilizing the lungs to their fullest capacity), and as it reaches the top slowly release the air from your lungs.
Imagine a white positive energy flowing in you with each inhalation; this is the chi or prana. Let this energy pour into your lungs and into your entire being, feel it heal you and positively charge you, neutralizing all the negative energy from within you.
With each exhalation feel all the tension in your mind and body release. And feel a wave of relaxation flow down your body from your head to your toes. Continue this for a further 20 breaths or so. The deep breathing takes time to get used to, but it will become natural.
Step 4: - Begin to watch the mind and let your mind wander. Let your deep breathing become automated. Remember you are the observer so try not to get wrapped up in your thoughts, just let them flow over you. By doing this you are proving that you have a higher self and that you can control the mind, and draw the mind you want to you.
If your mind is racing with a million thoughts and you are getting worked up about them, then watching the mind can be difficult. Another option is to imagine that you are looking at yourself from above as your higher self. Watch yourself, and like a masseuse work through the body and mind to release any tension and negative energy.
By doing this it will help you distance yourself from your thoughts. When you get the hang of it you may find that your mind becomes very still. If you find that your mind continuously goes back to 'thinking' mode, don't worry just bring your attention back to your breathing.
Step 5: - This practice will help prepare you for sleep by releasing tension and calming the mind by letting go of any thoughts or worries. This practice can be done in the evening or just before sleep.
I want you to imagine that you are overlooking a beach or lake on top of a grassy bank. I want you to imagine that the sun is setting, and the evening sky is filled with beautiful reds, purples and oranges. Imagine you are sitting on a grassy bank with this perfect sunset before you, and you are in complete awe.
See yourself with a perfectly healthy body and mind. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, feel it relax your body and relieve any tension in your muscles. Feel a gentle breeze coming towards you from the sea and hear the waves gently breaking on the shore. Feel yourself slow down and as you become deeper relaxed, feel the weight of your body on the grassy soft bank.
As you watch the sun setting, feel your mind drift and your body soften all over, from your head to your toes. Nearing the end feel yourself falling sleepier and more relaxed than you have ever been. Let your thoughts drift and wander where it will.
Step 6: - Continue this for 10- 45 minutes and when you nearer the end of the practice, begin to focus on your breathing again. Breathe in deeply and slowly 5 times, open your eyes and bring movement to your body gradually. You should feel calm, relaxed and a sense of well being.
If you prefer, you can personalize each of the practices above by adapting the images to find your own special place and sanctuary. Alternatively you can skip step 5 altogether and just watch the mind. Using visualization techniques is a great way to inspire and calm the mind, it is also great for healing and energizing the body.