Find Your Refuge: How to Effectively Meditate

by Joshua Butcher
(Columbus, Ohio)

During my addiction treatment, the number one thing that kept me stable was meditation. Whenever I was in a bad place or felt I was at risk for a relapse, I turned to meditation as a form of refuge recovery. But to my surprise, meditation was initially a lot harder than I expected - that’s because many elements contribute to the quality and effectiveness of it.
In order to effectively meditate and make it a form of refuge, follow the steps below:

Integrate time in your schedule for meditation

At first, committing to meditation can be a bit of a challenge, but by integrating time for it in your daily schedule helps you stay consistent with the practice. Subsequently, scheduled meditation removes the initial anxiety that comes with feeling rushed to finish a session.

Create a safe and quiet space

The environment for meditation is just as important as the meditation itself. Find an area in your home or an outside space that is free of any distraction. You don’t want to suddenly snap out of your relaxed train of thought! From personal experience, I found that implementing the use of aromatherapy with candles or essential oils, and paying mind to the lighting and temperature of the space, enhances the overall experience.

Sit in a comfortable position

The body and mind are connected in meditation. Lack of proper posture or feeling uncomfortable can interrupt your practice. The best posture to implement is the lotus position where you sit cross-legged with both feet resting on either the opposite knee or thigh. Hands should also be on the knees, with palms facing up. If the lotus position isn't comfortable for you just cross your legs on the floor. You can also sit upright on a low cushion with your spine straight and your legs crossed on the floor in front of you. Another option is to sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor.

Always bring focus back to the breath

Focusing on breathing enables you to stay in the moment. Whenever you find your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. Inhale deeply through the nose and slowly out the mouth. You also want to make sure the breath is coming from the stomach and not the chest. Otherwise, you may begin to unconsciously hyperventilate since breathing from the chest does not provide sufficient amounts of oxygen.

Let go of resistance

It is natural for thoughts to wander during meditation. Instead of trying to shut down certain memories or emotions, allow themselves to become prominent in your attention, and then gently let them pass through your stream of consciousness. This formal name of this practice is called mindfulness meditation

If you seek to improve both your mental and physical well-being, meditation is a great way to start. I owe it to meditation for helping me stay clean throughout the past several years. Hopefully, meditating can help you through difficult times in your life or simply becomes a positive everyday habit.

Learn more about the benefits of meditation here.

BIO: Joshua is an ex-addict and founder of the Ohio Addiction Recovery Center. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge.

Comments for Find Your Refuge: How to Effectively Meditate

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by: Val

Hi Josh,
Thanks for the wonderful article. Congratulations on your recovery and I'm so glad you are using your experience to help others. Meditation can really help us calm down, focus, and get through difficult times.

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