What is meditation?
Being in the present moment.

What if I have never meditated?
Meditation guides at Common Ground expect to have beginners in their sit. They will guide you through the process.

What are the benefits of meditation?
Common benefits of meditation include: reduced blood pressure, lower pulse rate, improves cardiovascular health, boosts immune system, improves memory, reduces stress and anxiety, creates a sense of inner peace, enhances mood and a deepens self-knowledge.

Do I have to sit with my legs crossed?
No. You can sit however you want as long as you can have correct posture while feeling physically relaxed and mentally alert. Sitting on a floor cushion with your legs crossed legged is not realistic for many people especially for extended periods of time. Sit in a chair, or anywhere else where you can stay comfortable! Some people prefer to meditate lying down although this greatly increases the likelihood of falling asleep.

What is the correct posture for meditation?
Keep your back straight, neck straight, chin slightly down, feet on the ground, and arms comfortably positioned on knees or thighs. This will allow you to breathe comfortably and inhale fully.

Do I have to close my eyes?
No, you may also lower you gaze. Some people find closing their eyes enhances the internal experience and decreases the distractions while others find closing their eyes makes them sleepy. Do what feels comfortable to you in the moment. 

Do I have to sit in the same position the entire time?
No. Change positions as needed. A quiet body contributes to a quiet mind.

Your body will feel many sensations (itches, aches, pains, tingling, etc.) and you can address them or observe them. Sometimes the cause is an uncomfortable posture and other times the cause is that sensations in the body are more noticeable in meditation. The body and mind are calmer and you are able to notice more details in your bodily experience. It is often interesting to simply observe these sensations in your body. Sometimes these sensations just go away without your having to move or change your posture and other times they do not.

Can I go to the bathroom or take a break?
Absolutely! Do what you need to do. Meditation is about you and doing what your mind and body need in the moment.

I can’t stop my thoughts. How do I quiet the mind?
Thoughts are natural so just notice them as they wander in. Contrary to popular belief, having no thoughts is not the point of meditation. The point is to allow your thoughts to flow as you observe them. Don’t be bothered by your thoughts, just notice them without becoming involved or entangled in them. When you notice yourself thinking about something, gently return to the breath. Do not become frustrated with yourself, be patient and enjoy the experience of watching. With practice you will get better at letting them flow.

How long should I meditate?
Any length you choose. When first learning meditation it is usually not possible to meditate for more than 10-15 minutes. After regular practice the time naturally increases. Some people suggest beginning with 1 minute and increasing by a minute each day for 30 days then decreasing 1 minute a day until you find your sweet spot.

Is meditation a religion?
No. Meditation is a mindfulness tool. All religions encourage and promote meditative practice of some type. One does not have to worship, or believe in anything in order to meditate.