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Learn How to Meditate

Learn to live a Zen-inspired life through Mindfulness Meditation

We lead increasingly fast paced and stressful lives. Our information age subjects us to constant technological complexities our parents could not even have dreamed of twenty or thirty years ago. Though these technological improvements are supposed to provide us with more free time, we seem to have less and less of that too. The Zen Life and Meditation Center offers free meditations in Chicago every week. We also teach a comprehensive curriculum that will support you in learning how to meditate in Chicago.

How to Meditate

First of all, you should have a clear intention to be still and watch what arises in your experience. In the simplest way, this involves sitting on the floor in a cross legged posture or sitting in a chair. It's important to keep the back straight and to bring your awareness gently to your breath. As you sit still, notice that you still have the intention to remain still and watch what you do. This gentle attitude of being willing to observe your experience is crucial in learning how to meditate. Once you begin to settle into your posture, continue by bringing your awareness increasingly to your breathing. One technique that is often used in learning how to meditate is to count the out breath up to ten. When you get to ten you start over again at one. On the in breath, just relax. On the out breath, focus on counting your breath. 

It won't take long for your mind to wander, so when you notice you have lost the count, gently bring yourself back to the count once again, and continue with your meditation.

This is the simplest instruction in how to meditate. All of the other instructions we give are designed to help you overcome the many obstacles and resistances that can arise when you try to do this meditate.

How to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Meditation

If you have never meditated before, you may find it difficult to sit still for very long. You may also find it hard to establish the practice of meditation as a regular, daily habit. So we recommend that you begin slowly. Try sitting a short period of time every day, such as five or ten minutes. You'll be surprised at the difference it can make in your life. But it's important to do it regularly. As you continue in this way, you will also find that it becomes easier to do, the more you do it. Getting started is often the hardest step. If you really find it difficult to sit meditation on your own, please join our Zen Life & Meditation Center free weekly meditations. You can find the schedule by clicking here.

Common Obstacles in Learning How to Meditate

One of the commonest obstacles in learning how to meditate is becoming antsy or anxious with being still for so long. If you are not used to this kind of practice, it can be hard to give yourself permission to remain still for very long. So it helps to set a strong intention when you begin to finish your meditation before getting up. So for example, if you decided you would sit five minutes, then sit five minutes, not four, not three. Use a watch. Time yourself. When five minutes is up, congratulate yourself and go about your day.

In learning how to meditate, it is helpful to meditate in the early morning or late in the day. In the morning, your work day is not yet upon you and you may find it easier to give yourself permission to carve out the time to meditate before your busy schedule confronts you. Likewise, at the end of the day, your schedule is now behind you, and you may find this an easier time for giving yourself permission to meditate. Many people like to meditate before going to bed. Many find that it helps them sleep better. For more help on learning to meditate, read our article on 10 Tips for Meditating at Home.

There are other obstacles as well. If you are finding learning how to meditate to be challenging and you still want to continue, we recommend that you consider taking the first Primer Series of classes in our core curriculum that will support you and guide you through some of these challenges in learning how to meditate. To sign up for the first Primer class,click here