But in the meantime here are some tips on meditation and a small meditation ritual.
The best place to meditate is in a special room if you have it. Decorate the room with pictures or statues of deity. It should be quiet with minimum distractions. If you do not have the space then at the least have an altar that is reserved for meditation. But you should have an altar anyways if just as an aid to help with concentration. In the meditation ritual below there is a section on cleansing an area. If you cannot keep out traffic from your sacred space then it is recommended to cleanse your meditation area regularly.
During meditation, posture is important in only as far as the spine must be kept straight to allow for the free flow of energy down the kundalini road. Your head should be in a comfortable position slightly bent forward. Your teeth open with mouth closed and the tongue pressed against the upper pallete. Also to conserve your energy and keep it within, which is where we are trying to access, it is a good idea to keep your eyes closed. This will also help to keep out distratctions. Remember posture should not be an obstacle to meditation but should rather aid in the practice.
The mind should be relaxed but at the same time aware and attentive. Try to find the balance between the two. Meditation is not about stopping the flow of thoughts it is rather the observation of the thoughts and keeping attention on the self and the reaction to these thoughts.
Time spent is also important, for regularity is the key. You should begin with a total of 30 minutes a day, divided into two sessions. Slowly as the Spirit guides you can add a little more time to those sessions. When you have finished a session, slowly and gently open your eyes. If you feel a little 'spacey' or disconnected then feel free to eat something light and let yourself return slowly into your normal activities.
If this is your first time entering into meditation for the day you need to tidy the area, sweep if necessary. If you are sitting in clutter how can you hope to arrange and clear away the mental clutter? If you wish you can have items corresponding to the five elements on your altar. Have ready a small bowl of water and use this to wash your face, neck, arms and hands before you sit to meditate. This will help to cleanse the body as well as the mind. Have a small fireproof bowl of sand or rocks as an incense holder. Have a candle lit to represent fire and also as an aid in concentration. The incense can represent air. Choose something that reminds you of family and friends to hold the place of the Ancestors.
After you have sat for a moment and cleansed yourself then say:
Blessed Mother Blessed FatherNow sit comfortably and with eyes closed focus on the mind and examine your thoughts. If there is too much mental distraction then just focus on your breath. Practice diaphragmic breathing and let your mind calm. Feel the worries and distractions leave on each exhale and light return into its place with each inhale.
I come here in meditation
So that I may come closer to you
Help me to still my thoughts
So Mote it Be!
When you feel that you have calmed the mind enough turn your attention to your thoughts. Say a mantra if you feel drawn to do so or speak the names of the Gods that you are drawn to.
You may find it to be a good practice to turn now to the Gods and ask for wisdom, or foresight, or any other things that you need in your life. Then turn your attention to them and wait for their whispers. This may help in building a personal relationship with them and aid in your spirituallity.
It is often times enough to burn some sage and smudge the area and even yourself before you begin your meditation. You can do this with loose leaves or even a bundle. Peppermint and cedar is also beneficial for this. Other times intention alone,whether spoken or not, is enough to cleanse an area. For first time cleansing a certain area you can add to the act of smudging with sage, some saltwater. Sprinkle the water around the area with the intent of cleaning out the area.
Incense and Candles
There are many types of incense that can be used for meditation. It is best to avoid heavy floral and musky scents for they tend to be strong and overpowering. But the choice is up to you. Choose something that is calming and pleasant to you. For in the end the only one that needs to be happy with the choice is you. Incense sticks or cones we have found to be the cheapest and easiest way to include incense in meditation. The powders and resins require charcoal and a larger fireproof container.
There are many incenses that you can use. Nag Champa is one of these which is primarily made of sandalwood. Used by many to promote spirituallity and meditation. Sandalwood is also used because it keeps alertness focused in meditation.
You can also use light floral incenses such as Rose and Lotus and Jasmine. But ultimately the scent you choose is up to you. The same as posture, incense should not be a hindrance only an aid.
It may be helpful to include this ritual as part of your daily devotions. If you want to have any hope of growing spiritually then you need to commune with the Divine and with Spirit on a regular basis. Whether you take a moment to enjoy a sunset and recognize Divinity in Their beauty, or you sit down in formal ritual and commune and talk with the Lady and Lord it is important. Meditation is also helpful for this because it clears and purifies the body and the channels within so that we more easily connect to the Gods.
It may be easiest for many of you to after one or both of your meditation practices to then turn your quiet attention towards the Lady and Lord and ask for their guidance on the day ahead or advice on the day past.
But do not think that this is a requirement. No angry and jealous Gods here ready to strike you down because you didn't pray today. If life is too busy and it often is, don't feel guilty that you didn't or couldn't take time out for prayer. Just know that they are always there watching over us and guiding us.