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Getting Ready To Meditate

Meditation is a small word for a huge range of practices – from mantra meditation to mindfulness, each of which has its fans.  In this series of articles I talk about the exercises that I have found most useful, how to prepare to meditate and perhaps most importantly, why we should meditate in the first place.

You can sit on a golden cushion in a serene, beautiful meditation room, with a glass of Himalayan mineral water, gong music playing in the background, with the gentle smell of incense and seventeen other people around you raising the vibration to the highest possible level.
Or you could sit on a busy tube train, being jostled left and right, with the announcer constantly interrupting, three different base lines from three different iPods thumping in the background, the smell of someone’s coffee very appealing, the smell of someone else’s BO less appealing, and of course someone treading every so often on your feet.
It is up to you where you meditate.  I used to actually meditate best on the Tube because it fitted into my schedule, plus there are some nice ways to use the excess energy on a Tube.  I actually found it quite difficult to meditate in a quiet, still place after that.  I’ve meditated on beaches, in Buddhist temples, in bed, on the sofa, lying down, pretty much everywhere.  Here is some general advice on meditation, but please use what works for you.
When I am finding it difficult to meditate, usually because I am very emotional, I find it helps to be in a natural place; a park, a wood, on a beach.  The sound of waves supposedly lifts your state anyway so this might actually be the best place to meditate.
I also find that visiting a place where others are meditating or praying, a temple or church, can be helpful.
It helps to be comfortable, but not too comfortable, unless you are happy to drift off to sleep.
It helps not to be in a rush.  Although you can always set an alarm and this is quite a nice way of letting go of time.
It helps to be physically relaxed, not too hungry or too full, not thirsty.
Music can be helpful, I like the sound of a gong, or white noise too; the sound of the washing machine can be quite helpful - likewise the sound of a Tube train.  Sometimes if it is quiet you can be very aware of every small noise.
Some people use particular positions of the body - various types of sitting cross legged, or lying down, and what some people suggest is useful is also a thing called mudr which is a configuration of the hands.  You’ve probably seen people in a classic meditation pose with their fingers arranged in a certain way.  Some people believe this aids meditation.  Sometimes I touch my thumb to the inside joint of my second finger in (nearest the nail end), sometimes I sit with my elbows by my side, hands in the “thumbs up” position which is another way you can do it.
(You’ll have to excuse me a moment - all this talk of mudr has got me looking at my fingersComputer Technology Articles, and I’ve realised there is a certain amount of chocolate on them from earlier on - oops!)
If you try too hard to make everything perfect you'll never be ready – so sometimes it's best to just dive in and start practising.

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Pearl Howie ( runs Pearl Escapes a website devoted to finding safe, easy and affordable escapes - holidays, spa treatments, days out, etc. and providing great advice at every step of your journey.
In order to give the best possible information Pearl only includes things that she has actually tried - whether it is a spa, hotel or flight.  
For more about meditation visit her meditation section and read the original article in context

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