How To Meditate (For Beginners)

What do Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Shiva and Lao Tzu have in common? Aside from being holy, what is it that they do that separates them from the crowd? They are flesh and bones just like you and me, but one practice sets them apart. That practice is just one word: meditation.

What is meditation? Is it possible to turn your life around and achieve greater peace and happiness by doing meditation? How does it affect our body? What can it do with our minds? How can you apply its principles so that you may reap its rewards? Let me discuss the answers to these questions one by one.

Feeling unmotivated, uninspired, anxious or restless? Perhaps meditation can work for you. Meditation means to go beyond the limitations of our monkey mind and limited physical body. Meditation is also like a prayer. With prayer, your focus is outward whereas, in meditation, one’s focus is inward.

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How to Meditate: Practices for Beginners

1

JUST START!

Meditate for no more than five minutes during your first weeks. Holding one’s attention without being distracted by your environment’s noise and your mind’s internal chatter is difficult. Start easy by taking at least three to five minutes of your time to do nothing, just observe and feel.

2

FOCUS

Draw your attention to a sound, an image, thought, an emotion or space. Begin by choosing a method or an object, what matters is you focus and project your awareness to a single item. If your attention wavers or if you are distracted, just go back to your focus and begin again. Meditation takes time and holding one’s focus may take years of practice.

3

BREATH

One of the easiest ways to meditate is to begin by counting your breaths. This will also help you to relax your heart rate and bring you into a pleasant meditative state.

4

ROUTINE

You may not have the luxury to sit at the same time at the same place every day. If this is the case, find time to insert it to your schedule or better yet, do mindfulness while engaging on your daily work.

5

POSTURE

Sitting upright to stay alert is the most common meditation posture. You may also walk or lay down, whatever position you feel most comfortable with. Maintain your back straight so that you may be able to breathe deeply.

6

FEEL

Connect and feel every inch of your body as you meditate. Mindfulness starts with observing the rise and fall of your breathing, feeling the beats of your heart and be aware of the tensed state of your muscles. You may begin your meditation by being aware of your skin, beginning with feeling the warmth of on scalp, gradually going downward to the tips of your toes.

7

MIND AND HEART

Focus on relaxing your mind then gradually transition your focus to your heart. During this time, you might feel how distressed and tired your heart muscles are. Be kind to yourself by allowing your mind to unwind and your heart to relax.

8

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

If you cannot do meditation at an exact place, bring meditation with you as you go along your daily routine. Pick one activity like walking and focus your awareness to that activity. Do this consistently once daily throughout the whole week. After doing this for at least 21 days, your habit of doing meditation will stick. By that time, meditation will be ingrained into your routine and you will be able to do it easily, without much fuss and effort.


Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is a type of meditation wherein the person engages in a sensory experience to be able to achieve a certain goal or a preferred state of the mind faster. Guided meditation may be through listening to music or a recorded voice of a teacher, thru watching a certain image, repeating a certain affirmation or by following a series of steps such as yoga or visualization.

To achieve success when doing guided meditation, consider the following factors:

Location

You will improve your meditation outcome if you will find the right location. Ideally, meditate on the same location or setting. Find a place that relaxes you, somewhere you feel most secured and comfortable. The place must have the least distractions and noise. You may set up a meditation room or area at home where you can place a mat or pillow, a CD player to play your meditation music as well as some incense and candles to set a relaxing atmosphere. This room must have ambient temperature and natural, free flowing air. Use this area solely for the purpose of meditation.

Time

Pick the time where you feel most relaxed yet alert. This is the time wherein you are at your best, not too tired, hungry or sleepy. Pick a time where there is least interruptions and less noise. You may meditate first thing in the morning after getting out of bed. Or you may choose another time during the day, it’s all up to you. What’s important is to set a time every day to meditate, regardless if it’s just a few minutes.

Mantra

You might hear some meditators repeatedly chanting “Om”. Repeating a single sound over and over produces repetition of a single vibration that reverberates to your body, producing a pleasant relaxed sensation.

Music

An effective way to meditate is to listen to a type of sound or music that calms you. If you are still beginning to meditate, any type of music where you feel most comfortable may do. Relaxing beats such as mellow music, binaural beats, nature sounds or chill-out tracks can immediate help you to be at a meditative state. Use a good quality headphone; it will be better if it has a noise-cancelling feature to cut down the background noise. Try to explore new meditation tools and technology by experimenting with meditation apps, videos and electronic guides. You will be surprised with the immense materials out there; all it takes is for you to search.

Group Guided Meditation

Another way to get the most of our meditation is to find a group or a guide that can help you. Meditating in groups improves the experience. Allowing an instructor to guide your meditation process may also help. Having a support system will keep your meditation habit consistent.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is a subtle practice that affects the body, mind and spirit. It improves the mind’s awareness as well as your character’s strength. It increases your body’s frequencies, making you more resistant to disease and negative vibrations.

What value will you gain out of meditation?

Petty cares and worries will not affect you as much as you progress with your meditation journey. Fear and worry will lessen their grip. Meditation makes your brain calmer, it also makes you see the whole situation objectively. It helps you to take control of your emotions as compared to your emotions controlling you.

  • Sharp Mind. Meditation is all about awareness. Meditation trains your mind to focus you attention on something specific. Your monkey brain may have a hundred thoughts in a minute. Through meditation, you will have the power to choose one thought at a time and to remove thoughts and emotions that will do you no good.
  • Meditation helps you connect with yourself and to understand others. Connecting with yourself, you will have an insight on your own weakness and desires. Taking a peek into your own vulnerabilities makes you understanding of your neighbor’s plight. In this world of fleeting movements and shallow emotions, meditation makes you go deeper into the core. It gives you an understanding of your connectedness with others, because despite our differences, you will see that we are all suffering in one way or another.
  • Meditation improves our focus and receptiveness. Once we are in-tune of our surroundings and thoughts, we are more receptive to ideas. Creativity is enhanced out of the desire to focus, and meditation will help you to never falter or lose tract.
  • Mental Ability. Because meditation makes you more conscious, it will help your brain to be stimulated. The brain may form new connections thru new stimulations. Constant brain stimulations prevents brain decline. Meditation may be helpful on arresting degenerative brain conditions such as dementia because it helps the brain to generate new connections.

Meditation is not easy at first but this is a journey. This is not something you do on a single sitting but a lifestyle and a habit that you must bring with you every day. Find like-minded people that can support you. It may take some time before you begin to see the benefits but it is worth it.


Sources:

http://www.erinpavlina.com/blog/2011/06/5-ways-to-make-meditating-more-effective/

http://www.wildmind.org/background/can-anyone-meditate/music

http://www.yogajournal.com/category/meditation/

http://www.thealternativedaily.com/brief-overview-guided-meditation/

http://zenhabits.net/meditation-guide/