Meditation—What? When? Where? How?—Part 1

By Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla

Excerpted from The Quest

Before determining what meditation is, let's see what it is not. Meditation is not:

  • an altered state of consciousness
  • a "high"
  • an attempt to solve problems
  • an escape from reality
  • self-hypnosis
  • prayer

We like this definition of meditation: the conscious direction of one's attention to the inner self. You begin by relaxing your body and then turning your mind inward to the stillness, resting in the beautiful sense of your oneness with God.

WHEN?

Regularity is the key to meaningful meditation. Try to meditate at the same time each day. However, avoid meditating when you are hungry (which can distract you) or immediately after meals (which can make you drowsy). Either of these is counterproductive to entering the silence.

Choose a time to meditate when you are most physically and emotionally comfortable. Allow enough time so that you are not pressured to terminate your meditation prematurely. End it because you are finished, not because you have an appointment nagging in the back of your mind.

WHERE?

The best place to meditate is the place you feel best! Where do you feel the most comfortable? Is it quiet? Is it practical to meditate there? If so, then you have found your place.

Regularity and consistency apply to location as well as time. Always try to meditate in the same place. If you can set aside a special room in your home to do your spiritual reading and meditation, this would be ideal. Just walking into the room would prepare you for the silence.

However, few of us have that luxury, and so the next best thing is to have a special chair in a special comer of a room to be used for your meditation times and spiritual work. This is perfectly acceptable and serves quite well. as long as you can surround yourself with quiet when you are in your chair.

Maybe you have a favorite outdoor spot, one which has a minimum of distractions and is easy to get to. You will find the right place for your quiet times. The main thing to keep in mind is that it should be as free from activity and noise as possible.

HOW?

There are many meditation techniques taught and practiced. If you are happy with your present one, by all means stay with it. If you have never meditated or are not completely satisfied with your present method, the following suggestions might help you.

THE PREPARATION:

  1. Approach your time of meditation with joy and with a positive attitude. Have a gentle sense of expectancy, knowing that your good awaits you. Look forward to resting in the quiet world of God within you.
  2. Be sure any clothing or jewelry is not restricting.
  3. Sit in a comfortable chair. (It is not wise to lie down as this is too much of a cue to sleep.)

Read Part 2.


The Quest In every human heart there exists the hope of connecting with "something more." Tucked away deep within us, a part of us has always sought—yearned for—that connection.

The Quest opens the way for that connection. It presents eternal truths in a contemporary and very personal way. Whether you are just beginning your own individual quest or desire a deeper spiritual understanding, this guidebook and the accompanying activity book, Adventures on the Quest, will lead you with warmth and practicality through the pilgrimage of your soul.