A simple guide to beginning meditation
No matter your reason for wanting to engage in meditation there are countless benefits and recent scientific studies that illustrate the positive impact of meditation. If you want to read more about the benefits and the evidence visit: http://lotpatrol.com/AZ/science/
To meditate is not some far-fetched attempt for you to reach some unattainable state of Nirvana. Meditation is simply allowing your mind to “be,” without judgement, activity, or stimulation from the outside world. It is also a time free of the internal dialogue and voice that may judge, worry, or doubt non-stop during our waking periods. It could be said that meditation allows you to find the switch to turn all of these things off.
Often, I. our busy lives we don’t afford ourselves an opportunity to relax and unplug. The first step is this, locate a room or space free of distraction, free of interruption. Eliminate the possibility of phone calls, email, text messages, television, radio, or other needs. If you’re about to meditate at home let others in your home know that this is a 10-20 minute period without distraction.
You can go as far as lighting incense or hanging pictures of your preferred religious or spiritual deities on the walls. However, the more important aspect is that the room is relaxing and clutter-free. Natural light can be used if this is during the day, though if you find sunlight distracting as it beams in your window you can close the curtains and use a lamp. If you prefer, yes, you can sit in complete darkness. It is about your level of comfort. Nothing is an obligation, forced, or expected. Don’t force or expect comfort because you feel “this is the way I should do it.” Do what you know is comfortable for you.
There are a few obligations, suggestions I would make to beginning meditators – use a chair, avoid using your bed, and avoid times when you’re extremely tired. If physically able, using an upright hard-backed chair will prevent the complete relaxation or sleep-inducing state that your body may drift towards.
If your body needed sleep it is completely acceptable to sleep, but sleep or nap first, return to meditation afterward.
Using a chair also eliminates your body’s muscle memory regarding sleep and your bed. Laying in bed where you are comfortable is one more signal that it’s time for sleep. The hard-backed chair (a kitchen chair) is best to begin.
No matter how stoic you believe yourself to be, the chair back also provides support compared to maintaining a perfect posture throughout the meditation.
Before moving ahead, you will want a gentle timer set for five or ten minutes (when beginning, do not feel the pressure to increase this time. It may be best for you to meditate only five to ten minutes a day for weeks or months, progress gently and slowly.) If you must use your alarm lower the volume or change the tone. You do not want to be startled out of meditation.
There are many types and forms of meditation. As it relates to your spiritual or religious practice there can be different methods and postures. I am not explaining those here or eliminating them. As you progress you meditation practice you may find other elements that fit your specific goals in those areas. Posture can be key in further meditations, here we do not wish for it to be a distraction.
Sit in this chair, feet flat on the floor. Sit upright, your back against the chair back or the position of comfort that you can maintain without strain or force for the duration of your meditation. Hands resting on your legs. This should be natural, nothing awkward or forced, no rigid state of rest.
Socks on socks off, shoes no shoes, this doesn’t matter, your comfort matters and your clothes should support it.
Before starting your timer know your practice. Read this completely and then begin:
- Close your eyes
- Inhale and exhale deeply three times and then breathe naturally
- During meditation, you will only focus on your breathing. Focus on the sensation or sound at your nose or focus on the rise and fall of your chest.
- Any time you realize your mind has drifted, at any point if you feel your mind wander, simply return your focus to your breathing.
- You will have thoughts, do not punish yourself if you have to bring your focus back to your breathing. As you meditate this will become easier.
- Once your timer concludes your meditation, open your eyes and relax for a moment. If you wish to track your progress and experiences now is the time to record these things. In a notebook or with your phone you can record the date, duration, and any sensations you experienced during or after meditation.
Congratulations! You finished your first meditation!
The key is to be consistent. Meditate every day. Start with seven days. Meditate every day for seven days.
How do I know what to do next?
Find a teacher or listen to yourself when you are looking for the next step. You might meditate once the morning upon waking, and once in the evening. You may wish to add a few minutes per month to the length of your meditation. It is key to progress slowly to allow your mind, body, and spirit to adapt. Do not rush, do not compare someone else’s meditation experience to your own. Listen to your body, listen to your mind, listen to your spirit and ask questions. You’ll know what to do next!
If all of this sounds simple, it is. If you have questions email me, let’s talk about your experience! If you’re looking for more resources or if you would like to know about what Spirit Guides say about meditation, read me.