How do you meditate properly? Let’s not get all bent out of shape about it!

The Properly Trap

Why are we so obsessed about doing everything properly and getting everything “right” all the time?  And especially with something like meditation that essentially is to bring us peace, to slow and reduce the constant thoughts that pervade our minds, to engender clear thinking, to rest, heal and become conscious.

Why this preoccupation with getting it right or doing it properly.  Who are we really doing it for anyway?  And why?

Do we have to get it right because of how we might be perceived by others if we don’t (this goes for other things in life too), or how we perceive ourselves (our false self of course – the ego and its inexhaustible capacity to criticise among other things)?

Trying to meditate properly or perfectly can be more of a demotivator than a motivator.

Obsessing over how to meditate properly really just gives us another reason (and perhaps a convenient one) not to meditate.  And, if we are reaching constantly to “do it properly” we just end up taking ourselves further away from the whole intent and benefit behind meditating – to reduce thinking and be present, that’s it!

Getting all bent out of shape

Literally, don’t get bent out of shape and do what works for you.

In my opinion, there is no one “proper” way to meditate.  There are numerous schools of thought on how to meditate and numerous practises.

We don’t have to overcomplicate it though and you don’t have to try to be somewhere you’re not yet, just be where you’re at and do it how you’re doing it now and what is most comfortable.  It’s all about the NOW.

You’re not the Dalai Lama after all…..and even he has his bad days.

Meditating Properly – The Mental Process

 Here’s an example of the mental process that can accompany trying to meditate properly:

  • Hmmm….I better look up how to meditate properly.  But this article says this and that article says that.   Hmmm…mindfulness, mantra, transcendental.  Which one is best?  Which one is right?  Which one works.  I’m confused. How should I do it? I have to do it right.
  • Music, no music, candle, no candle, guided, non-guided, visualisation, non-visualisation.
  • Are pillows allowed? I’ve heard you have to be uncomfortable to meditate, to stay alert.  I could fall asleep if I use a pillow and that wouldn’t be good.
  • Am I sitting correctly? Should I be laying down? (I’m not supposed to – the article I just read said that, I shouldn’t, I’m doing it wrong, that means the meditation won’t work).
  • Aren’t my feet supposed to be bent up high on my thighs near my waist somewhere? It’s painful, but that’s what you should do to meditate properly isn’t it?
  • Which position should my hands be in? But what about my fingers – my thumb is supposed to be touching a finger, but which finger means what? Why am I doing this?
  • Should my eyes be closed or open?
  • Mouth open or closed.
  • I can’t watch my breath. I can’t feel my breath.
  • Apparently, I have to watch my thoughts. How do I watch my thoughts? I have to be The Watcher.  What does that even mean?   I better look it up.  I really have to get it right.
  • Is my back straight enough?  I think I’m hunching, that can’t be good.
  • Don’t move, don’t move, don’t move.
  • I have to meditate for at least an hour for “it” to do any good.  What’s the time?  How long have I been sitting here (sneaky look at the clock)?  Not long enough, it’s only been 30 seconds.
  • My nose is itchy, should I scratch it?  You’re not supposed to move though.
  • I can’t do this, I really can’t do this, I can’t do it right, I can’t do it properly.   I’m not doing this now.  I give up.

If that’s meditating properly then I want no part of it.  Who would?  It’s very normal for the mind to behave that way and don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with research, getting some ideas, growing in your meditation practise and learning.

The ego’s greatest fear is that it will no longer have your attention or control over you and so it will do everything in its power to hold you back from knowing who you really are, including resorting to telling you that you have to get meditation right, do it properly and by the way it’s not easy, in fact it’s really really hard.

Why make something that can be challenging even harder when you don’t have to.  

What’s my point?

My point is to just approach your meditation practise with ease.  You don’t have to do it perfectly, or get it right at any point.

That’s not to say that you won’t get better at it or grow in your meditation and experience greater and greater benefits and wonders of meditation.

Meditation iteally a beautiful thing with so many benefits.  You can learn more about the benefits of meditating here.

We all need a little help sometimes

I have put together some very basic meditation and simple meditation techniques that will help you too.  They are points for your practise.

Being verbally and visually guided can be really important and helpful when we first start out and even as we become more proficient.

It helps to have a teacher and it’s human nature to want to know that we are on the right track and to be set at ease.  If you’re someone who needs this and want to give yourself the best chance of success with a little guidance then check out my:

These courses are definitely affordable with some being only $2.50 to $6.00 per day.

Alternatively, you can’t go wrong with Essential Meditations with the Master Eckhart Tolle.

Choose what resonates with you now.

Your feedback and comments are always welcome.

Until next time.  Go forth with ease and just be.

Martine

4 Comments

  • Enid

    Good enough is one of my favorite sayings at this point. I have given myself permission to be ok. I will do, and if I do something it’s better than nothing. If I get it 80% right, that’s better than not starting because I can’t make it perfect! God created us to live and love and rejoice and embrace beauty and fun. He created us with His creative spirit. But we are not God, so we will not get things perfectly right…and that’s ok. Embrace the quirks God gave you. He made you perfectly you, you just have to own that! Thanks for the article!

    • Martine

      I love that you have given yourself permission to be ok. I think most people (often without knowing it) feel that they are not good enough and so whatever they do will never be good enough either. Yes – live, love, rejoice and embrace beauty and fun – I love that. You are welcome and thanks for your comment.

  • Travis

    Very interesting article about meditation. 

    I think meditation can have several benefits for almost anyone really. I don’t even meditate much, but I am hoping to slowly incorporate it into my life more. 

    I appreciate your thoughts on that it doesn’t have to be perfect. I always wondered if I was doing it right, but I guess it’s more about the principle of relaxing yourself and just doing it more and more for it to really help. 

    • Martine Brooks

      Yes, meditation has a wealth of benefits.  We do get better at it over time.  My main point is to not focus so much on getting it right or doing it properly if this is then a disincentive to practising.  To worry about getting it right is just more of the same overactive mind activity that we are trying to go beyond when we meditate.  Thanks for your comment. 

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