Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone learn to meditate? How much time does it take? Where can I learn? This frequently asked questions page is an attempt to satisfy common queries. With anything you may be in doubt about please don’t hestitate to contact us directly using the form here.
Learning to meditate
Can anyone learn to meditate?
Yes. Anyone can learn to meditate and get better with practice. Some may find it harder than others, but that only means a bit more perserverence to get the results.
How much time does it take?
We recommend establishing meditation as a daily habit. Ask youself the question ‘What is not too much and not too little for me to do each day.’ Depending on the demands of your schedule this amount of meditation time will vary from person to person. But try to make it a daily habit.
What is the best time to meditate?
Any time you can be consistent with each day. When you wake up in the morning works well for most. Some find last thing before sleep is a good time and that it helps to ensure a good sleep. Others like to meditate after work as a de-stress. (You can, of course, make a habit of all three if you like!)
The main thing is to find a time and maintain it as part of your consistent daily routine.
What is the best position to meditate?
The various cross-legged positions – lotus, half lotus, easy cross legged – are all excellent if your legs and hips are supple. If they are not, and these positions are too painful, then sitting in a straight-backed chair is the next best option. The important thing is to make sure your back is straight. Avoid slouching or leaning back as a straight back helps to keep you alert.
Can you meditate lying down?
For some people this is the most comfortable and relaxing position in which to meditate. There can be a danger of falling asleep though. So experiment and see if it works for you. If you try both sitting and lying, you notice a different quality to meditating in each position. You will find which suits you more.
How do you best make progress in meditation?
As with everything you get better with practice. That’s why I emphasise the commitment to daily practice. Without pushing things you will want to spend more time each day in meditation. You may also want to increase the number of sessions each day.
Morning and evening meditation are great bookends to a day. The more you practice the quicker you will make progress – with one proviso.
The proviso is that you don’t strain or push in wanting to achieve high goals. This can produce tension and is counter productive. Allow your practice to have a gradual build. Don’t be the Alpha meditator.
How do I make the time to meditate?
A strong intent to establish a routine is a good start. Reflecting on the benefits of meditation practice and the disadvantages of continuing the status quo will strengthen your resolve. When meditation practice moves up your list of priorities, you will make the time. Having done so, most people find that meditation gives increased clarity and calmness. This clarity helps us be far more productive throughout the day. So meditation creates time for itself.
Where should I meditate at home?
The ideal situation is to set aside a particular place in your house to use for meditation. With luck you might allocate a room for that. But otherwise use a part of a room where you set up your meditation cushion or chair. Choose somewhere quiet, where it is unlikely someone will disturb you. After a time just seeing your meditation place will help you move into a state of meditation.
Is it helpful to meditate in a group?
In the early stages, while you’re still learning about meditation, group practice can be very helpful. This is the case if an experienced meditator guides the group. There will be a group dynamic that helps you go deeper in your meditations.
Where can I learn to meditate?
Our meditation classes are on Tuesday evenings in Melbourne in the main hall at 2 Minona Street Hawthorn. You can register your interest in the classes here.
What does it cost to learn to meditate?
Each meditation class costs $25. We recommend that you attend at least eight classes to round out your understanding and experience of meditation.
How soon will I notice results?
If you are mindful of your state before you start your first session and then check it immediately afterwards, you will notice a difference. So in that way results are immediate. The longer you practice the more these small results add up. A long term meditator will see massive results. These have been tested using brain imaging methods and are quite astounding.
What do I need to bring to a meditation class?
Just your good self! Some find taking notes helps them to learn. Most don’t. If you have a favourite meditation cushion, you are welcome to bring it along. There is a carpet on the floor in the hall.
Are there chairs in the meditation classes?
Yes. There are straight-backed chairs and also some lounge chairs. There are cushions for those wanting to sit cross-legged.
Buddhist meditation classes
Does meditation involve religion?
Meditation can be practiced by anyone. There is no need to feel you should adopt the Buddhist view of the world. Whether your belief system is one of the many religions of the world, or that of a secular atheist, you can benefit from the meditation and mindfulness methods in these classes.
Do you need to give up your religious beliefs to meditate?
No. You can practise meditation with an existing religion. Although we draw all meditation from Buddhism, the practice of meditation and mindfulness does not require that you become Buddhist. Christians and other religious people practice meditation. We encourage them to maintain their core beliefs and apply meditation in that framework.
There are many atheists who incorporate meditation and mindfulness into their secular view of the world. Modern psychology and science are also recent adopters of meditations they have drawn from Buddhist teachings.
The meditation practices we teach are open to all.