Authored by Sylvia Cochran in Mental Health
Published on 12-10-2009
Meditation can be part of your religious experience – Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and others meditate – or part of a journey to discovering and transforming the self. It can be an elaborate ritual or a very simple exercise. You may use assorted gadgetry and even combine your meditation with aromatherapy, or merely enjoy a momentary period of peace and quiet for your meditations. In its purest form, learning how to meditate for beginners is actually a very simple procedure.
- Understand that meditation is a journey without a stated destination. It is the process that matters and while you practice meditative techniques, you learn new things about the process that make it better, deeper and more fulfilling.
- Come to grips with meditation’s limitations. You cannot win friends, wish yourself wealthy or heal cancer through meditations. On the flipside, you can increase your energy, attain a deeper level of spirituality and fine tune your bodily awareness, which in turn may result in healthier lifestyle choices. Meditation is not a magic bullet but instead a must-have walking stick.
- Setting the stage: meditation does not have to be long but it must be undisturbed. Lock the door, turn off the phone and do not try to squeeze in some meditation time while you have a soufflé in the oven.
- When first going over tips of how to meditate for beginners, novices believe that they must immediately collapse into a lotus position. Instead, a bit of exercise, stretching and limbering up ahead of time does wonders! Get the heart pumping and before long you are breathing hard. A great opportunity to start working on breathing deep and relaxing the muscles.
- Focus: it is easy to tell someone to think of nothing. The moment the words leave your mouth, the person’s thoughts are anywhere and everywhere. What Buddhists know as the “crazy monkey” in your head, beginning meditators know as focus busters. Rather than concentrating on nothing, choose a focal point — a picture, candle or houseplant will do – and concentrate on it.
- To err is human; to fail at meditation is par for the course. About five minutes in, your mind will likely stray and replay all the things you need to accomplish this day. You may ask yourself what on earth you are doing there – doing nothing – when you could be doing something else. When this happens, simply focus again on your breathing and your focal point. Repeat this step as often as possible.
Everyone has their own different takes on how long and how often to meditate. Generally speaking, beginners should plan on meditating twice a day for 15 minutes each. As they continue on along their paths, they may choose to meditate more often or longer. Do not make meditation a hit or miss proposition; much like religion, it is most effective when practiced consistently.
When first learning how to meditate, beginners may consider banding together. This actually adds more distractions than it helps affirm the practice. Rather than joining a meditation group, save this step as a means of last resort, to be used if you simply cannot get started, keep going or remain consistent.