Thinking ‘How Do I Meditate?’ Here’s What the Meditation Experiment Taught Me

The meditation experiment is finally over and I now have some answers to the question ‘how do I meditate?’.

For a month now, I have been trying to meditate every day for half an hour. There have been days when I’ve messed up and not meditated and there have been days when I have experienced an amazing amount of peace.. 🙂 Overall, the experiment has been worth it.

Now that the experiment is over, it’s time to share whatever I have learnt with you!

This time, I’ll do in the form of a question-answer format. I think it’ll be more interesting, and I’ll be able to explain whatever I have learnt without missing out on anything.

So let’s begin. 🙂

1) What effect did meditation have on you? How did you feel after meditating?

I wouldn’t say meditation has changed my life completely.. 🙂 It hasn’t. However, every time that I have meditated, I have felt this deep sense of calmness and peace…

Let me explain it to you with the help of an example.

Right now – take a moment – stop reading and try to feel how you are. What is your emotional state right now? Are you agitated, are you anxious or joyous? What is it? Don’t say “I am feeling fine” or “I am feeling sad”, take a moment and try to feel how you are in this moment…

Generally, most of us feel a sense of anxiety or irritation in the background of our minds while we are reading, working, talking – or doing anything at all. If you really look deep down, it is easy to detect a background sensation of unease as you do other things.

After meditating, the background sensation I felt was peace for quite some time. For about half an hour after meditating, I felt relaxed and calm deep down with nothing troubling me.

That was the effect meditation had on me.

Of course after some time, I would again get back to normal and get agitated, but for some minutes after meditation – there was peace…

2) Why do you think meditation brings peace?

I think generally, all of us are lost in thought almost all the time. We are thinking of tomorrow and yesterday and what might go wrong and so many other things. We are troubled and obsessed by these thoughts…

Meditation, I feel, removes all thoughts from our mind for some time. It tells the thoughts – “stop for a while…and relax…”. So the thoughts stop and we feel peaceful.

Of course, some time after meditating, our obsessive thinking returns again and we again get into our normal state. But for at least some time, meditation makes us feel relaxed by pausing thought.

3) So, do you recommend daily meditation?

Yes, I think that is a very good idea – because that would mean we are pausing our thoughts for some time each day and just relaxing… 🙂

However, if daily meditation sounds difficult (it still sounds so to me), you can meditate for a few minutes – once every few days whenever you feel stressed out or overwhelmed. At these times, meditation can pause all those “stress creating thoughts” and make you feel relaxed for some time.

4) What do I do to meditate? How do I meditate?

I’ve tried many meditations during this experiment. I tried breathing meditation in which I tried to observe my breath and I tried “how am I?” meditation in which I really tried to feel how I was in any moment and observe my emotions.

The best meditation I stumbled upon was a special type of meditation that involved first relaxing the body and then observing the breath. This meditation was extremely easy to practice (it didn’t involve a lot of effort) and it made me feel very peaceful too. I’ve described this technique in my previous post – but here it is again:

a) Set an alarm to ring after 20 minutes. Lie down on the bed with lights off and eyes closed, or sit down in a comfortable position with eyes closed.

b) Let go of your body. By this, I mean: feel your body sinking on to the chair or the bed. Drop your body, don’t hold on to it. Let it fall on to whatever is beneath you. Release it.

c) As you release your body, and let it sink into your bed or chair, feel the sensation of your legs and thighs and back touching the bed or chair. Feel the sense of ease as you let go of your legs sink…If you were falling freely in air, would your body not be falling freely without any tension at all? Let your body fall like that on your bed or chair – and feel the sense of relaxation and freeness you feel as you let go of your body.

d) Keep feeling the peace as you sense your body relaxing. In this peaceful ambience, notice yourself breathing air in. Notice your belly rising as air fills it. Notice your belly becoming flatter and sinking down as you exhale.

e) Enjoy the sense of peace and thoughtlessness as you feel your body relaxing and sinking lower and lower and the air filling and leaving your lungs….Perceive that in this moment – there is peace – in this moment – this is all that exists.

f) Feel that all your problems, all your sorrows and grudges exist in the past and future – but right now – you are at peace. You can keep the peace with you as long as you want. Enjoy this peace as you feel your body relaxing and sinking into the bed or chair..and as you notice the air filling your tummy, making it rise – and leaving it…

g) Be like this – in this moment – at peace – until the alarm rings.

5) How long should I meditate for?

I tried to meditate for half an hour during this experiment, but half an hour seemed to be a bit too much. I think 15 minutes would be perfect. You could set an alarm for 15 minutes and meditate.

6) I try to meditate, but thoughts keep clouding my head. What do I do?

If you are using this technique, there is a good chance that you will be able to meditate easily. However, if even then, thoughts are just rushing in, you can try the following steps:

a) Try to observe your surroundings in detail, first. Look around – what is the color of the walls? Notice the texture of your bed sheet. Notice the air brushing past your skin. Notice your body touching the bed. All this noticing will bring you back to the present moment and you will have a better chance of meditating successfully.

b) Listen to some songs you like – trying to pay attention to the music, the lyrics, the tone of the voice etc. The point is – listen to the song without thinking about anything else. This will again bring you back to the present moment and slow down your thoughts. Then, you can meditate. 🙂

c) Listen to a guided meditation track. This guided meditation track helped me meditate once. You can listen to it for free.

7) Do you have any other meditation tips to give me before I start?

Ah, yes. 🙂 I have two.

a) It is OK if you fail the first few times when you try to meditate. All of us (including me) are so full of thoughts all day – that it is quite difficult to suddenly stop them. So if you fail today, you could try again tomorrow. I have been “thinking“ of meditating and trying to meditate since the last 2-3 years but it is now that I have actually been able to meditate successfully for a reasonably long period of time. 🙂

b) Make sure no one disturbs you while you are meditating. I haven’t mentioned this above, but I have realized that this is extremely important! Put your phone in silent mode – lock your door – and no matter what happens – don’t be disturbed. You can even tell other people in advance that you are meditating and so they shouldn’t disturb you.

So well, I have mentioned all that I’ve learnt in the meditation experiment on this page.

Why don’t you try meditating right away? Why not try it just once? It is fun…:)