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How To Get The Most Out of Meditation

Here’s the problem with most meditation “tips”: they don’t prepare you to meditate.

Preparation is the easiest way to consistently experience the benefits of meditation.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln.

Now, I’m not suggesting you should chop down trees or spend four hours sharpening an axe, mostly because we need trees and spending that much time sharpening a weapon might alarm your friends.

However, I am suggesting that you prepare for meditation. Many of us have been there, you sit for a meditation, think about groceries and puppies for the whole time, and then open your eyes feeling the same as when you started.

The reason is simple: meditation happens in the “gap”--the silence--between thoughts. Preparation can help make those gaps more likely.

Mental noise makes meditation impossible because it prevents psychological stillness that’s why the greatest obstacle to meditation is thinking.

This type of non-stop thinking is commonly called “monkey mind.”

Monkey mind can actually come in a few different forms, maybe you are an over-thinker, maybe you can’t sit still, maybe your brain jumps to investigate every little sound going on around you.

These are all barriers to meditation; the good part is all of these problems are solvable with a little effort and guidance.

One of my teachers once told me: “If you meditate for ten minutes, and you only have a clear mind for thirty seconds, then it is was still a successful meditation!”

So don’t worry, progress can seem small at first.

In fact, the objective of most types of meditation is to “calm the monkey.” If you have the monkey mind problem don’t feel discouraged, this problem is thousands of years old. Everyone experiences it!

Unfortunately, common advice usually sounds something like “just sit and focus on your breath” or “just stop thinking.” These tips aren’t bad, but they may be difficult for beginners to implement.

The reality is there are too many tips; what you need are techniques.

The good news is, all of those ancient yogis weren’t wasting their time sitting on rocks, they have this stuff down to a science.

Check out one of my favorite breathing techniques for entering meditation