For me, meditation is acceptance. I meditate to calm my awakened, distracted mind, but I don't expect immediate and effective results from my meditation. I would even say that I expect nothing from meditation. I'm just trying to use this time to be with myself, to accept the state I'm in and change it gently if possible. But it helps me a great deal as time flies by. I learn more about my inner self. I learn how to stay calm and how to keep my cool in stressful situations. But what is the greatest is the fact that everyone can meditate and take peek into their inner self. How? Let me tell you
I usually meditate lying down or sitting down. I try to connect my thumb with my index finger in both hands. I know that it is a technique supposedly facilitating the flow of energy in the body, but my reason is more mundane - if I don't do it I feel as if I don't know what to do with my hands during meditation.
Somehow I feel then incomplete, however ridiculous it may sound. I don't cross my arms (or legs if I meditate lying down) - I let them lie down freely. I also take care not to tie my stomach - in my case, tensions often accumulate in my stomach (that's also what I'm going to do when I breathe) and I need to be able to breathe freely with my diaphragm.
When and where to meditate?
I meditate in the morning or evening - depending on my needs and the time I have. I also meditate when I need it during the day or on a journey - then a comfortable place to sit down and close my eyes is enough - that is all. I don't have any special spots for meditation, nor do I make meditation dependent on any external factors. I can lie on the bed, sit on the couch, go out on the terrace or in the garden. Beautiful nature surroundings certainly make meditation training more pleasant, but they are not necessary at all. Finally, during the meditation, I go on a trip into myself.
How long to meditate?
I started my meditation with just 2 minutes. Seriously: 2 minutes. And that's enough for a start, I would even say it can be a big challenge. Then I extended the meditation time, but it never lasted more than 20 minutes. I prefer regular, but shorter periods. Such mini-meditations work like power naps.
The rule is very simple - I set my alarm clock on the phone, then I mute it for the remaining sounds and meditate until the alarm clock rings. At the beginning it was hard for me not doing anything for a short 2 minutes! After all, meditation is doing nothing.
Several techniques for the beginners
First of all, please remember that I am no meditation guru, I have not been educated in meditation, I have no courses and certificates. Of course, I've read a lot, I've been looking for knowledge, but now I base solely on my experience, gathered over many years.
The technique of conscious breathing
Conscious breath is the most important aspect of meditation. Breathing is the activity that has the strongest effect on the body - fast, shallow broken breath is often the result of effort, stress and haste - by consciously deepening the breath we help the body to cope with stress and e.g. cortisol ejection.
Deep breath is not a skill we are born with. Men have it easier, because they breathe the diaphragm in a natural way, women have to learn it. In high school I belonged to two choral ensembles - amateur, but recognized and awarded at festivals in Poland and abroad. There, learning classical singing, I learned how to breathe. Because without proper breathing there is no good sound. Deep breath is the breath to the diaphragm. It's easy to see how you breathe naturally - just lie back, on the flat and put 2 books on top of each other: one on your belly, the other on your chest and breathe normally. Which one will lift you up?
The 2-color technique
This technique is also related to breathing. When I breathe in, I visualize that I inhale clean, bright, light, refreshing, blue air, and with the exhalation I release all the negative energy in the form of dark green, darker, 'ugly' and 'used' air. I take lightness with a breath and get rid of everything that is wrong (e.g. bad thoughts) with a breath. And that's it, that's the whole technique. It may sound trivial, but it helps!
The technique of clouds and balloons
Sounds lovely, right? It is very useful if we want to learn to observe our thoughts from a distance during meditation. When I meditate, I try to be very conscious. When I feel my thoughts wander away and between or a persistent thought sneaks in, e.g. about the work that awaits me, I do this exercise: I think to myself 'oh, a THOUGHT!' and then I visualize that I close this thought in a balloon, or I put it on a cloud that flies slowly into the sky and disappears behind the horizon. Sometimes, when I have a hard day or a difficult time - I let go of so many balloons, even during the 5-minute meditation, that they could be used for the sequel of "Up"! but I accept this state too.