There are so many myths on how meditation should be done, some saying it has to be in a certain position or we’re doing it wrong. It’s hard to get meditation wrong, the only way we get it wrong is if we’re overthinking the fact that we’re getting it wrong.
And by wrong, I mean not making any progress. By that thinking, everyone that starts out fails, because there’s an ounce of self-doubt in most who practice meditation when they start out until they get more confident and the achievements during meditation become more notable. On the other hand, does the side we meditate really matter?
This will depend on how you see meditation, but the answer will for the average individual be no.
Unless you interpret meditation in the spiritual sense, the direction of meditation doesn’t matter, so long as you keep your focus.
Meditation shares many elements of spirituality and religion, without explicitly adhering to one over the other, as meditation can be a subjective experience.
Facing Direction and Meditation
According to Yoga teacher Paramahansa Yogananda, enlightenment is achieved when we face east during our meditation practice, and while your beliefs can influence what you achieve with meditation, you can still reach enlightenment by other means and positions to meditate.
Enlightenment in of itself can be a bit broad and require drastic changes in our thinking and perspective on life – this is especially true if we talk about Nirvana.
You may find benefits facing the east direction when meditating, or even north or northeast, but that will highly depend on you and what you feel may not be replicable to someone else.
Meditation is seen as this one-size-fits-all approach where a set of guidelines need to be followed for it to qualify as real mediation.
But it defeats the purpose of flexibility and freedom when we talk about the most fundamental, bare-bones easiest meditation there is, which is mindfulness.
It doesn’t involve sitting in a certain direction as the sun is up at a specific time – that’s not to say it can’t work or devalue such practice, but it’s a very specific type of meditation that’s often applied to the general concept.
No matter which direction you face when meditating, it should be comfortable enough for you to stick with it.
Now, when I talk about comfort there are two types of comfort. I’m not talking about the type of discomfort you experience when you get thoughts you may not want to have or that you repress during meditation.
That’s natural. But when it comes to position, you shouldn’t feel any physical resistance when meditating, unless you’re doing the meditation with some kind of exercise. But that’s not what we talk about when we mention mindfulness.
Mind Association and Meditation Side
There’s one benefit to sitting on a certain side when meditating. That’s the association you make on a conscious and subconscious level when meditating.
If you were to meditate solely facing north, northeast, or east as it’s often recommended by many gurus, you’re more likely to make the connection of meditation with said side, and in that sense, it’s likely to keep you focused on the meditation.
So, approaching side meditation from that logical perspective it makes sense to sit on a different side, but the side you sit on should not suppose physical discomfort or pain while meditating, as otherwise, it’d be almost impossible for the mind to get off something it’s sensationally presented with.
Posture vs. Side
Posture is far more important than the side you meditate on. How you sit and how your muscles feel will play a role in how you see meditation as a whole.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to sit at a certain position even if it’s at your expense, manifesting in pain or discomfort. Find a position that works for you.
You can face the ceiling while meditating. And while there are benefits to sitting down and meditating, and while it’s how it’s often portrayed, you can still reach deep levels of meditation while lying down. But it’s difficult, you’re almost guaranteed to fall asleep.
Especially if you try to meditate in combination when you sleep, but it can still be done. Although it’s not recommended because of the association your mind makes when laying down.
However, if you’re planning on doing shorter meditations like 20-minute meditations where you still can enter a semi-deep state, laying down is a great way to start.
In contrast, It’s comparable to trying to lucid dream, falling asleep forgetting the entire goal, and reaching consciousness in a dream state.
One thing you can do while laying down to prevent yourself from falling asleep during the meditation is putting your hand on your chest or on your belly to not only focus on your breathing through sound but also engage the physical sensations on the chest or belly, or anything different where the mind wouldn’t otherwise fall asleep to.
This is my favorite type of meditation, as I’ve found that it’s easier for me to retain my awareness throughout the entire session, and allow for longer sessions.
Sitting is how most monks and gurus meditate because sitting for a while can be hard and take discipline. But it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.
No matter which direction you face, so long as you’re able to keep your attention on your breath, you’ll be achieving the intended gains from meditation.
It’s recommended you use a bench to keep your posture right and avoid any pain. But a pillow or simply sitting in a chair will work.
While this has less to do with posture and more to do with movement, people forget that walking and meditation can perfectly go hand in hand.
If you engage your mind on the walk, rather than using it for overthinking, you’d be engaging in a form of meditation, even if it’s the most basic form. This basic form isn’t an end-all-be-all, but it can perfectly complement another meditation you do later on.
Start with small steps, and if you choose to pursue a deeper form of meditation, such as one where you sit or perhaps face a certain side, it will be easier for you, given that you get your mind in that frame.
Inwards Meditation Is The Best Side of Meditation
Inwards meditation is really just focusing on your inner senses and what’s going inside you. This is the equivalent of listening to your breath, something we’ve already talked about.
Rather than looking for anything external such as which side to meditate on or which direction you must face, you focus on being, you focus on yourself.
Now, meditation is flexible and for you, you may want to try sitting facing a certain side to feel more concentrated.
For most who achieve this, I believe it’s more of a psychological effect, but if you’re new, you’ll want to be open to the different ways of meditating, while understanding that such a way may not apply to you.
Inward meditation focuses on you, you search inside yourself for what resonates with you and conversely, what meditation you should pick and how you should do it.