Marvellous Meditation

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior's world. ~Pema Chödrön
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When I first started meditating, the earlier moments felt virtuous, sitting cross legged with my eyes closed and hands held out. Soon though, I began to feel cold, and achy from the hard floor. I couldn't help thinking through my to do list and tiny sounds became irritating, the repetitive bird call outside or the gurgle of pipes. The aim of meditation is to clear your mind of stresses and reach a higher level of being. The Dalai Lama I am not, but these little tips definitely improved the whole experience...

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1. A large cushion. It seems obvious, but makes a big difference - I particularly like something furry or soft that will keep my feet toasty too.

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2. A candle - not only does the scent sooth and relax me, but to keep your eyes open, and have a dark room with a single source of focus, the flickering flame, helps to clear the mind. 

3.  Deep breathing - expanding my diaphragm and taking long breaths in and out through my nose helps to keep a sense of calm. Focusing on the sound of my breathing also caused other annoying sounds to pale into insignificance.

4. Another option to dull out any background noise is to play some gentle music - i.e. Whale or dolphin sounds. Stay away from flowing water type stuff though, unless you want to get the desperate urge to go to the loo! 

For more tips and advice on getting started or improving your experience, check out this article by Todd Goldfarb.

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