Meditation 101: Tips for Beginners
The Benefits of Mediation
Often thought of as an esoteric practice for monks and spiritual gurus, meditation is in fact a simple practice that anyone can enjoy.
In a nutshell, meditation is the practice of stilling your mind to remove thoughts and increase awareness of the present moment.
By simply concentrating upon a sound, object, or the breath, you can free yourself from the constant chatter of your mind and connect to your higher self or spirit, where you can experience a state of inner peace.
Meditation is a fantastic tool for relieving stress from the busy day to day grind, and it has even been known to help relieve pain from illness.
Those who meditate regularly also tend to feel less anxiety and depression than those who don’t meditate. The benefits of mediation don’t stop there either.
On the deeper level meditation connects you to spirit, where unfortunately many of us currently don’t make much, if any conscious effort to do so. By not connecting to spirit we are missing out on opportunities of profound healing and growth on a spiritual, mental, and even physical level.
What exactly is connecting to spirit? This is connecting to your inner self, higher self, or soul as many call it, the very essence that you are. This essence is where you’ll experience true wisdom, unconditional love, inner peace and beauty.
See, most of us majorly spend our days in an endless stream of unconscious thoughts, including many negative self-defeating ones. We often recycle the same thoughts over and over, and many if not most of us do this all day without even knowing we are doing so.
Most often we think about the past and projected future instead of focusing on the present moment. What am I going to do after work? When is this day going to end? I need to lose weight. I’m hungry. What am I going to eat? I’m bored. When am I going to meet somebody special? I miss such and such. I’m such a loser. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? I’m willing to bet so.
Stilling your thoughts on a daily basis, especially any negative ones, will start to have a profound impact on your life. You’ll begin to feel a new inner peace and joy, and in time with daily meditation you will even begin to feel like a new person. Even 15 minutes of meditation daily can make a huge difference in your life.
Beginning Meditation for the First Time
Overcoming Meditation Roadblocks
While meditation is pretty straight forward by definition, it does take a bit of discipline, at least at first, but with practice you will find meditation becomes easy as riding a bike or taking a walk.
At first you will find it best to begin meditating in a quiet place with no distractions, though eventually you will find that you can actually meditate just about anywhere. This flexibility makes mediation an invaluable addition to your life toolkit.
Like anything in life, don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel any results right away. In my own experience, I didn’t notice much difference during the first few days, though after roughly two weeks of meditation practice, I began to feel a very noticeable difference in my overall state of being.
I personally started out meditating for 30 minutes each day before going to bed. 30 minutes is a great starting point, though I’ve heard from others 20 minutes is sufficient. If you find yourself falling asleep during meditation practice during the evening hours, I highly recommend that you try meditating in the morning where the chance of dozing off is less likely.
Once you begin meditating, the hardest roadblock to overcome will most certainly be letting go of your thoughts, since that is after all the key to meditation. You will find that your thoughts will creep back in unexpectedly, especially at first. This is common so don’t get discouraged, patience is a virtue!
To help you overcome pestering thoughts and other meditation obstacles, I am going to touch base on the key meditation techniques that worked for me, and I’m confident they will also help you to begin meditating like a monk in no time!
Overall, starting mediation for the first time is similar to starting anything new, it is going to take a bit of practice and perseverance, but overtime you will find meditation becomes a great deal easier. In fact, meditation will become so easy and enjoyable you will begin to look forward to your daily meditation sessions!
Let’s move on to the tips and techniques!
Meditation Tips and Techniques for Beginners
Beginners Meditation Tip 1: Comfort is Key
The best way you can get up to speed with meditation is to setup a time and place where you are not going to be disturbed. This means turn off your cell phones! Being calm and relaxed is the key to faster results. Set aside at least 20 to 30 minutes.
If like me you are single and live alone this is going to be pretty easy to do. Now if you have children, this may be a bit harder, so to overcome distraction from the kids I recommend you setup a time at night when the kids are already asleep or get up a bit earlier in the morning to begin.
Pick a comfortable chair where you can either sit upright or sit up in your bed against the headboard with your legs crossed. You don’t have to sit in the lotus position, though if you can comfortably, feel free! Remember, comfort is the key, so do what works best for you, however always make sure your spine is straight, and I personally don’t recommend you lay down for meditation even though your spine will be straight for you may fall asleep.
Once you are comfortable and removed from distractions, I find it helps to prepare for meditation by sitting still for a minute or two to relax. There is no sense in rushing, and this brief moment of relaxation helps the body and mind to settle a bit, smoothing the transition into taming the wandering mind.
Beginners Meditation Tip 2: Quiet the Wandering Mind
Meditation is all about quieting our constantly thinking minds. There are various techniques for doing this including concentrating on your breath, a sound, or even using a mantra. My own personal favorite method is to concentrate on the breath.
To begin, gently center your attention on the rhythm of your breathing. Gently inhale through your nostrils and then exhale through your mouth in a slow comfortable rhythm. Anytime your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. Do this each time your mind wanders into thought, and don’t get frustrated with yourself if your mind keeps wandering, this is common. Each time your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breathing and over time your thoughts will lessen and you will begin to relax deeply. Enjoy!
Remember, like any new endeavor you will need some practice at first, and don’t get upset with yourself if you can’t seem to quiet your wandering mind or you don’t see results right away. Each of us is different and so we all have a different ramp up time.
I personally started to see amazing results after practicing meditation for two weeks, yet less then one week in I already began to notice a difference in my overall state of being. My key to success was to “gently” focus on the breath each time my mind wandered and I made sure I did not get upset with myself or force anything.
I’m confident if you are patient and follow these meditation tips you will also begin to see amazing results in no time. I hope you enjoyed my meditation tips and techniques for beginners.