I am really busy – can I still meditate?
Yes! What is more important than how long you meditate, is that you meditate regularly – even if this is for a short time. We encourage people to sit for meditation twice a day – early in the morning (before taking breakfast), and in the evening (before taking dinner). So meditate according to how much time you have, even if only for a short time, but be regular. It is the regularity of meditation that gradually trains the mind and the body, enabling us to attain stronger concentration and experience deeper inner peace and awareness.
Do I have to sit in lotus position?!
While the lotus posture is certainly useful for practicing meditation it is not essential. There are a variety of other postures we may utilise for meditation such as a simple crossed-legged posture or the “half lotus posture” (with the left leg crossed and the right leg on top of the left leg). With all of these postures the back is held straight and the motor and sensory organs are closed directing the energy of the mind and body inwards. Where due to physical disability, sitting crossed legged is not possible, the meditator may sit in a chair, again holding the back straight.
My back and legs hurt when I sit for meditation.
The sitting posture for meditation uses muscles in the back and legs that in our modern life-style are under utilised. For this reason when we first start to use the meditation posture those underdeveloped muscles can become strained causing muscle pain in the back and legs. We have a variety of simple execises that help to prepare the back and knees for sitting in meditation. These may be learnt in an Ananda Marga course or seminar. As well as this, as we sit regularly for meditation those muscles naturally become developed and making it possible to sit for longer periods without difficulty. To alleviate strain on the back, a cushion (or several cushions) may be used to raise up the pelvis which will also help to maintain an erect spine.
I am religious – can I still practice meditation?
Certainly! Meditation is not a religion but a spiritual science. As such it may be practiced by anyone who wishes to try it – including those who follow a religion as well as those who do not follow a religion. As a science, meditation is based on rational and logical ideas that may be practiced and the results experienced directly.
My mind can’t concentrate – am I doing something wrong?
It is quite normal in the initial stages of meditation to experience difficulties in concentration. Meditators will often find many new and creative ideas arising in their minds as they sit for meditation. As the conscious mind is stilled the subconscious mind may become very active, excited at the possibility of expressing itself now the ever-domineering conscious mind has been stilled. After a time this tendency will naturally decrease. There are quite a number of different practices that greatly aid in concentration – some of these are taught in A’nanda Marga seminar programs, while other techniques are learnt individually from A’caryas (yogic monks and nuns). And no matter what concentration practice one may have learnt, always remember the proverb: “Practice makes perfect”!
“Search for the Truth in meditation, not in books. Look for the moon in the sky, not in the pond.”
How can I judge my progress in meditation?
While there are certainly some outward signs of one’s progress in meditation such as being able to sit comfortably in meditation for longer periods of time and better concentration on one’s mantra, the real progress of meditation is internal. The questions meditators might ask themselves include: am I experiencing a deeper sense of inner peace? Do I feel a relationship with an Entity greater than myself? Has my relationships with my family, friends, colleagues, community improved since starting meditation? Am I experiencing a sense of Oneness with others, including the animate and inanimate worlds?