February 13th 2014
It takes a lot to achieve success in Hong Kong’s super competitive work environment, and physical and mental exhaustion can be a problem if your schedule is too packed. Many Hong Kongers use meditation as a tool to help them relax and stay in control, but stilling the mind can be a tough call for those who rarely switch off. We spoke to Causeway Bay’s Kadampa Meditation Centre
to glean their top tips for meaningful meditation.
So, how do you start?
Beginner meditators often find it hard to sit still in meditation. Their legs may begin to ache, pins and needles set in, and their minds begin to wander. What can you do to make your meditation more successful?
Top 10 Tips for Successful Meditating
Set the right intention. Put some time aside for yourself with the aim of calming your mind and enjoying inner peace to benefit yourself and all those around you. If you are peaceful, others will notice and be inspired by your efforts.
The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make the mind clear and more lucid. You need a quiet spot and just about 15 minutes to yourself. Make sure you will not be disturbed. Switch off your phone and put a do-not-disturb notice on the door if you have to.
Importantly, find a comfortable meditation posture before you begin. If sitting in the traditional cross-legged position comes easily to you, then sit on a large flat cushion or a yoga mat with your back straight. Alternately, sit upright on a chair and make sure your body is alert but relaxed and comfortable. If you like, place your right hand in the palm of your left hand, gently raise your thumbs and let the tips touch.
Some people fall asleep when meditating. A straight back can prevent your mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy. Keeping the eyes partially open to allow a sliver of light to filter in will also keep you from dozing off.
Now breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils. Let your breath freely flow in and out. Do not try to control it and do not hyperventilate.
Bring your attention to the tip of your nostrils and become aware of the natural flow of your breath.
When thoughts intrude, do not engage them, just let them pass. A busy mind will continue to be busy when you begin to meditate. This is normal, so just keep on trying. Every time your attention wanders, bring it back to the breath.
Don’t give up. Keep on trying. At the beginning, you may experience difficulty in concentrating on the breath, but with regular practice, you will find that it gets easier. Gradually, your mind will learn to stay with your breath, and you will be less inclined to follow your thoughts. Your mind will become more peaceful and you will feel a sense of calm blossom within you.
When you come out of the meditation, try to keep this sense of calm with you through the day. As you become more experienced in meditation, no matter how hectic your day is, you will be able to reconnect with this sense of inner peace. It can be a source of strength when life gets very busy.
Remember that practice makes perfect.
Kadampa Meditation Centre offers a variety of classes suitable for all levels. To start, try the Lunchtime Meditation class on Wednesdays. Just 45 minutes, these classes include two meditations and a short talk on technique, followed by a delicious vegetarian lunch that you can either have at the centre or take away.
Alternately, the Tuesday-night programme looks at the underlying issues of common emotional problems like neediness and loneliness and offers guidance and meditations on how to approach relationships from a more positive state of mind. For more details, visit the Kadampa Meditation Localiiz page.