You might have wondered before what deep meditation is and what it feels like to experience it. Meditation may look easy at a glance, however, those who practice it know too well that achieving it takes time and persistence as it does not just happen overnight.
Meditation is a form of relaxation in which you achieve your inner calm and peace. Being able to perform it deeply is said to provide you with a great feeling of bliss. But in order to do so, you would have to prepare your mind with focus and discipline.
Here are a handful of tips you can use in order to perform your own deep meditation whether you are new to the practice or have been doing it for a long time now. Doing these takes a lot of dedication and the results will pay off.
Introduction to and History of Meditation
To know how meditation works and how it is truly beneficial for your well being, knowing its history might be helpful.
The history of meditation dates back to some thousands of years ago. It is an ancient practice that has thrived and struggled throughout the centuries. However, it has been gaining a whole new popularity in today’s time as it seems to be most useful in today’s lifestyle.
The exact date when meditation was first introduced is unknown. Some historians would agree that it began at least 5000 years ago. With that implied, it would only mean meditation has been around even before the existence of ancient civilizations. Maybe even practiced by primitives and hunter gatherers.
Came 500 BC, meditation took a whole new turn with the help of the Buddha. His teachings were able to pin and maintain the ancient art of meditation. In fact even incorporating it in his religion. The meditation we are all familiar with today would be closest to the meditation the Buddha teaches.
For thousands of years, the practice was only known and confined in the region of the Buddha and some neighboring countries. Until the 20th Century when travel became easier and people and ideas spread through neighboring places.
Eventually, it spread pass the oceans and became known in the western region beginning the 1960s. It started through a subculture of the hippies wherein it is seen as beneficial for one’s mental health. Now, meditation is also a subject of physical health and is even prescribed by some medicine practitioners with all the benefits it provides.
Types of Meditation
Meditation is not a one size fits all practice. Many types exist depending on your need, preference, and belief. Each varies in style, technique, and in teaching. However, all still have a common goal: to find inner peace.
Here are just some of the well known and well-practiced types of meditation.
Perhaps the most famous one is the mindfulness meditation. This finds its origin in the teachings of Buddha. Eventually, it has found its way in the West where it thrived to be the most popular type of meditation. Mindfulness meditation focuses on your thoughts passing through your mind.
There also a meditation that focuses on your spiritual health. This is common to religions of Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity. Unlike mindfulness meditation where you try to connect with your thoughts, in here you try to connect with the divine being or the universe. Spiritual meditation is popular for its use of essential oils while in practice.
Focused meditation, on the other hand, exhibits the use of any of the five senses. This could vary from listening intently to music, staring hard at something, or taking deep breaths. This may sound the simplest and easiest when in fact it may actually be the hardest as it requires you to hold your focus on a single thing for a long time.
If you find you are into something more physically active, you can try your hand at movement meditation. Some mistake it only for Yoga, but aside from that movement meditation includes walking, gardening, and gentle movements that you might find meditating.
Finally, there is also mantra meditation. This has its roots in the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. It might look and seem very familiar because this meditation makes use of repetitive sounds when performing. The most common mantra chanted is “om.” However, it can be whatever you want as long as you find it meditating and peaceful.
Experiencing Deep Meditation
Accounts of deep meditation differ from person to person. This may depend on the type of meditation they are performing, the length of their meditation, or the environment where they perform the meditation.
However, in general, experiencing deep meditation has characteristics similar to each of its participants. Here are some of the signs that tell if you have just experienced a deep meditation.
First is you will get so detached in your meditation you forgot you were doing it in the first place. You become, in a way, disconnected to what you think you are doing and just do it with no awareness. This can vary from a slight detachment to heavy unawareness.
In a way, this is akin to when you are trying to sleep. The more you think about it the less you will be able to achieve it. Achieving deep meditation is the same.
Deep meditation will also have you so lost in your thoughts. The process will go from surface awareness until you have no awareness at all. You might think you have to resist it but, as mentioned, to be able to achieve it is to have to embrace it until you are completely lost in it and produce no thought at all.
Another telltale sign of having experienced deep meditation is having no sense of time. This is because you will experience time lapses. You might feel it has only been a few minutes but upon coming back to your senses it has actually been more than that. The amount of time you had no awareness at all is when you felt the deepest meditation.
Your body will also relax in a way it has never been. Some would find the strict posture of performing meditation a bit uncomfortable initially but even then they eventually learn to relax. This is when your body is in sync with your mind. Some say this is when they feel most blissful.
Finally, you experience shallow breathing. This is the kind of breathing slower and lower than when you are sleeping. This implies that your body is in a state of relaxation more powerful than sleep could provide.
Others make mention of seeing colors, figures, and such. These experiences differ from person to person, as mentioned. These are all still a part of the deep meditation experience.
How To Experience Deep Meditation
Experiencing deep meditation might seem difficult. Other find it overwhelming and unattainable. This might be because the mind and the body are not yet ready for the experience.
There are ways on how to achieve deep meditation. Other experience it unexpectedly while some try to practice to achieve it. If you are keen in experiencing it for yourself, read these guidelines and apply it to your meditation as much as you can.
Before you perform the actual meditation, there are prior steps to be taken to be able to fully realize deep meditation. These steps help in intensifying the experience as well as in preparing your mental and physical state for the practice.
First, try as hard to calm your physical state starting from your body down to your breath. This is a prerequisite, to be able to achieve calm in your mind. Your body signals your brain that it is freeing all its stress and the mind does the same to itself as well. This practice is heavily influenced by Yoga and if you practice it, this should be an easy task.
In order to do this, sit on your cushion and take deep breaths through the nose and out the mouth. Three to five repetitions should be enough calm your body. While you are doing your breaths, try as much to orient yourself and your thoughts to the present. Relax all parts of your body but mostly the jaw, throat, and forehead.
Premeditation also includes orienting the mind to where its pleasures are. Try as much to think and come up with ideas of contentment in your mind. Initiate the feeling of safety and it will eventually resonate throughout your body. This then creates a quiet kind of joy and pleasure in your head.
To achieve this, you can think of something that you are grateful for. Remind yourself that you are safe and secure. If you are meditating for religion, you can also say a prayer. Think of healing and growing through the practice of meditation.
Always remember that prior to doing this, you have to remove all sorts of distraction and do this in a quiet place or room. Anything that might produce noise at any moment will interrupt your meditation completely. This includes stashing your mobile phone away and keeping your pets outside, or inside. However, you can definitely listen to some meditating music of your choice.
The last step before diving into the real meditation is knowing and affirming your intentions. This is basically repeating to yourself what exactly is your goal out of this meditation session. This adds up to your determination and conviction of really achieving deep meditation. This also reorients your thinking.
To do this, you can come up with a simple line said to yourself such as “I will be meditating for 5 minutes. I will not think about anything nor do anything. No one will disturb me, not even my thoughts. Now will be the start of my concentration.” And repeat this every time you perform a session of meditation.
Now that you have taken you premeditation steps, you are now ready to embark on your meditation session. However, while meditating, you will still have to keep in mind these steps in order to continue it smoothly and without interruptions.
First, you might encounter distractions. External distractions may include it but the hardest to put off would be your own self distracting you. In any event you got distracted by your own thoughts, keep in mind that you should never feel bad if you cannot seem to achieve meditation.
Do not be hard on yourself and understand the practice is achieved only by being gentle to yourself. This includes realizing that sometimes you might have a hard time achieving it. In that case, patiently continue with your meditation without worries.
If you have finally achieved a level of concentration, the best way to work on this is to enjoy the sensation. Appreciate the quiet of your surroundings, body, and mind. This helps in increasing the feeling eventually forming into a deep meditation.
Once you have achieved deep meditation, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish and realize it until after you’re done. If you are in a light-headed sense of joy, stay there as long as you want.
Eventually, your meditation will come to an end. Either by choice or by other external forces. In order to transition smoothly from your meditation to being back in your sense, gently ease into it. Don’t hurry your mind with your thoughts. Let it be where it left off while you gently move your body starting from your fingers, head, and eyes. Your mind will eventually follow.
You can then log this into a journal. Take notes of your experiences and what you have done in order to achieve this. You can reflect on it as well. This gives you an established habit of meditation that just doesn’t span a few minutes a day but can be felt throughout the whole day.
Additional Effective Tips to Experience Deep Meditation
Here are other additional tips in helping you achieve deep meditation. These, along with the guidelines that have been mentioned, can be used together.
Meditation begins with breath. This is how your body meets with your emotions and mind. Keeping them in sync and both oriented to yourself in the present. Breathing helps you be aware of what you are doing, that is meditating, and unaware of distractions such as your thoughts.
Eventually, the breath is responsible for bringing you back into your senses once you are transitioning to post meditation.
Posture is something beginners in meditation find difficult to maintain and relax on. However, this aspect is fundamental in achieving deep meditation. Posture should be effective yet comfortable. In doing so, you will realize your body’s full potential in achieving meditation.
The most common and easiest pose for those who are just beginning with meditation is what’s commonly known as a Lotus Position. This is you sitting on the ground with your legs crossed. Meanwhile, your hands stay on top of your knees.
Picking the same spot where you perform your meditation every time is also helpful in achieving a deeper sense of it. It is commonly known as “anchoring” by the Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This is where they study the mind’s reaction to experiences.
Studies have found that strong emotional states tend to be associated with objects, places, and people. This is particularly helpful in meditation as it anchors in your relaxed and peaceful emotional state to a certain area or location.
Eventually, your mind will be able to distinguish your specific spot and associate your current meditative state while you are in it. This results to the mind automatically calming and relaxing.
4. Try Various Kinds of Meditation
You might be engaged or enjoying a certain kind of meditation for a long time but don’t seem to get much results of deep meditation from it. There is no harm in trying other forms of meditation and see whether it is your cup of tea. Each can provide you a different sensation and you might be able to find something you actually prefer better.
Try meditations you have done before or ones you haven’t done yet. Mix it up and work on something new as often as you like. You might be able to experience deep meditation from the new one or the one you always do having already missed its sensation and experience.
Starting meditation might be overwhelming to some. After all, this requires all mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual cooperation. This isn’t some work out program one would typically embark on as the factors in play are more in number and in depth.
There are a ton of lessons how to start meditating and what are the dos and donts in doing it. However, in this article, two important and often overlooked aspect of meditation will be discussed. Namely sitting and posture.
Starting off with sitting position. It is important that while sitting your back is still straight. Whether you are on the ground or sitting on something. If what you’re sitting on has a backrest, avoid resting your back against it.
It matters little if your eyes are closed open. Figure out what makes you achieve a deeper concentration. With your eyes closed, you might find yourself dozing off, you can then try to slightly open it.
Your hands and legs should be as comfortable as they can be. You can do small movements with your hands or completely rest them at the top of your legs. Your legs can be positioned any way you want as well but the most common pose is the Lotus Position because of its ease and comfort.
When you are comfortable with your position, try to let go of other distractions and just focus on yourself. This is what practitioners would call a “spotlight.” Focus that spotlight only to yourself and your breathing. This is how you start meditating.
Your breath, as mentioned, has a very important role in syncing your body with your mind. To focus on it, you can think about how it enters and leaves your body, how it embraces your lungs, its sound, and its sensation. Remember to never force your breathing as it becomes a distraction in itself.
If you find that you are distracted or your mind wanders, do not immediately give up. Other who have been performing meditation for years now still experience this from time to time. Once you realize you’re starting to think of other thoughts again, go back to thinking about your breathing.
When and How Long You Should Meditate
Much like working out, meditation is best done every day even for as little time as you can. You cannot achieve meditation for doing it long in a single day of the week. Meditation is a continuous practice and doing it every day will give you improvement.
As a beginner, you need to remember you don’t force yourself in the practice. This totally negates the intention and the goal of meditation. You can try to meditate initially for 5 minutes every day. Don’t force doing meditations of greater length if it doesn’t feel comfortable and right. Eventually, your body and mind will learn to increase the time on their own.
Equipment for Meditation
One benefit of meditation is it requires very little equipment. In fact, other than the things that would make your meditation comfortable, it suggests getting rid of distractions in your meditation area.
Here are the only meditation equipment you will need.
1. Something to Sit On
It doesn’t matter what you’re really sitting on as long as you are comfortable with it. There are unlimited options to choose from may it be a rock, the grass, or sand. But the most common ones used by beginners are a chair, a cushion, and a bench.
A chair is ideal if you are just starting out with improving your posture and if you have existing back problems. This is so you can rest your back. However, still do this in an upright posture. Remember to never slouch your back or lean way too much. This is a good start and requires very little investment.
Eventually, as you perform the habit of meditating, you might want to practice it with a meditation cushion. This is also called a zafu. This is placed on top of the ground or for added comfort on top of a soft mat or a comforter. In here you will be able to practice most of your upright position. This adds quality to your meditation.
Finally, some prefer using a meditation bench. This is because this gets more comfortable than the meditation cushion. The upright position is still in practice while using this but it adds comfort as it will absorb a lot of your weight. This is particularly helpful for those with leg problems.
Timer is the only other thing you will need when you meditate. This will help you get back to your senses and reality. This can take on any forms and not just in a form of an alarm or clock. But for starters, it is advised to use this and choose an alarm tone that is gentle and not surprising.
Others will play music while meditating and that in itself can be a form of timer. Once the music stops it signals the end of your meditation. There are other natural and unconventional timers like the sunrise or the sunset. Once the sun has risen or set, this too can signal the end of your meditation.
With all these tips and guidelines in meditation, there is no doubt you will eventually achieve deep meditation. You may have realized that it doesn’t matter what kind of meditation you are performing so long as you do it with the right approach and of course right intentions.
More than that, how meditation affects your everyday life and wellbeing is where its results are more important. What you do while meditating is just as important as what you do while you are not.