Preparing for Meditation
Before starting a meditation, regardless if just starting out with this practice or if already practicing it for some time, it is important to prepare for it. When novice in meditation starts practicing it, they don’t take enough time to do what is necessary to prepare for it. It is often thought that meditation is like any other hobby or activity in which you jump straight into from whatever else you were doing before. But meditation differs from that, in that it requires a proper atmosphere, and also a proper mental and emotional state.
In one of the most famous yogic teaching, the first step before commencing your meditation practice is improvement of ethics; this refers to things such as working on being honest, kind, non-violent, truthful, avoiding gossip etc. In short, working on correcting your behaviour. By so doing, you are becoming more aligned to the overall goal of meditation, which is to tap into your Inner Self.
If you decide to take on the meditation practice, and to actually do it consistently every day, then this will naturally change some of your daily patterns, improving them as you advance in your meditation. You will become more conscious of your deeper purpose throughout the day, and by that alone you are already preparing for your practice.
If during the day you stay as much as possible in the present moment, outside of the stream of thoughts and emotions, then this will help you greatly to improve the quality of meditation that is to be done later. By so doing you are preparing very well to enter deeply into your meditation.
The room one meditates in should have the atmosphere of uplifting energy, in order to make it easier to be in the here and now, and consequently to go deeper within oneself. But if there is no possibility for having a room just for meditation, then it can also work well to make the available room uplifting by making it neat and tidy, perhaps using some good quality incense or essential oil, and also placing something in the room that can work as an aid to meditation, such as a small figure or an image that you associate with meditation and your goals that you want to achieve in meditation.
The troubles and worries of the day should be left aside. Nothing should interrupt you during the time that you have set for meditation – no other tenants, friends, family member or pets, nor any problems that you might have. You can leave all of that aside for the duration of your practice, and firmly deciding that, unless it is an emergency situation, nothing is more important at this time then your practice.
Before your practice, slow down in your activities. Do not engage in something that occupies a lot of your attention or that takes from you a lot of your physical, emotional or mental energy. If you do so right before the practice, your mind will be on those previous activities when you will be in meditation, preventing you from entering the state of silence and peace.
It helps a lot to stay detached from heavy emotional and mental reactions during the day. The more you are able to stay detached and have your reactions under control, the more you will preserve your energy. Subsequently, the more energy that you have, the easier it will be to tap into your Inner Self during meditation.
When you sit down to meditate, become aware of your surroundings and yourself for some time; then in that state of conscious awareness briefly reflect on your goal, and ask your inner Being for guidance so that you achieve in meditation that which you are working for. When you have as a goal to reach peace, higher state of consciousness, or knowing your Inner Self, then help will surely be given, but it is important to make an effort to make some preparation before starting this practice.
After a while of practicing it, it will be more and more easy to enter meditation, regardless of where you are, though basic standards (such as meditating in a quiet place that is neat and tidy) should be fulfilled.
HDP, March 2020.