How To Meditate

Hand holding a quartz sphere as a meditation object by Jem Beaven

Photos by Jem

Meditation is a kind of quiet practice where a certain amount of time and effort is dedicated in order to pay special and very close attention to a meditation object. Learning how to meditate is really about learning how to pay attention to one thing. For example, learning how to pay attention to a candle flame, a mental picture in your head or even a part of the body such as the breath going in and out. 

Is it hard to learn how to meditate? 

Not at all, but that’s not the same as saying meditation is easy. It’s much like anything in that, to get good at something you’ll need to spend some time practising. We suggest it isn’t hard because at its core you do not need any special equipment or any tools. This means there are no barriers to learning, other than the ones we put there for ourselves (wow, we do sound wise. Wise like Yoda. Or an Owl) 

One barrier is time. There’s never enough time in the day right? Let’s smash that barrier by inviting you to start small, perhaps starting at 30 seconds and building up to 5 minutes. 

Choose a time when you do have 30 seconds. Is this while waiting for the kettle to boil? Is it as you turn the light off in bed? How about when you’re on the loo? Hey, it’s the only time we get to ourselves, let’s be honest! But you get the point, just start small by setting some time on one side just for you to practise. And it is just that. It’s just practising, so allow yourself some space to not be amazing at it right away! 

The basic principles of how to meditate

If we start with just breathing, everyone does this and you don’t need to do anything special or have access to anything special. Just sit or lay down, and breathe. 

All you have to do is pay attention to what your body feels like when it is breathing. This might be things like whether you can hear a noise when you breathe, whether you feel your ribs move when you breathe, whether the breath fills your lungs or whether it is quite shallow.  

Just pay your breath some attention, letting it go in and out, try that for about 30 seconds and if you can do that, that’s brilliant. You’re on your way!

Spoiler alert, your mind will wander 

It might seem at odds with what you perceive, but meditation isn’t about dragging the mind kicking and screaming and making it stay silent. Our minds wander so easily, it’s just what they do. 

Our mind will forget it’s meant to be paying attention to something, instead it’ll start planning a meeting, or having an argument with someone. 

When this happens, simply observe that you were just thinking about something, maybe even say to yourself “I was thinking” then let that thought go and get back to paying attention to the next breath. 

Some guided meditations come with these instructions recorded right into them, because a wandering mind is so normal and it happens to everyone. Remember when we said it’s a practice? You’re practising paying attention. So forgive yourself if you spend your first day of learning observing a wandering mind! 

What’s the point of meditation?

There are a ton of meditation practices, and they’ll all do different things. So this is an area where it is worth spending some time to research. We offer free guided meditations which are Westernised, secular and are a sort of mash up of mindfulness, visualisation and exercises rooted in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and neurolinguistic programming.

We practise meditation as part of our magick, we like to connect our intentions and spellwork with visualisation but also we think that creating a positive mindset, through meditation, will create better results for us magickally. 

Is meditation always good for you?

Meditation techniques like visualisation or mindfulness were developed in order to experience ‘the self’ in a different way. These experiences can be both pleasant and less pleasant. For example, in some meditation practices confronting personal challenges is an important part of the exercise in order to learn how to accept or move past them. 

However, some research indicates that meditation practice can produce unwanted effects in people who might be more sensitive. For example, people with certain pre-existing mental health conditions can experience episodes when they, or because they, meditate. 

So we encourage anyone who is unsure about practising meditative techniques to seek appropriate professional support before experimenting with meditation.

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Published by Magenta School of Magick

We are a school for people who want to learn the 'philosophy and art of affecting change through (so far at least) unseen causes', also known as 'magick'.

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