How to Meditate: A Guide for Beginners
Once thought to be reserved for the highly spiritual, kooky, or worldly, meditation is now gaining in popularity because of its physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Meditation has been touted as a heal-all for a variety of ailments and so-called disorders and revered for its ability to elevate one’s awareness. Many would refer to meditation as an art, others as a natural state of being, but if you’re new to the concept and ready to give it a whirl, all you need is some time to yourself and a willingness to let yourself go a bit with the intent of exploring a new realm of consciousness. Here are a few words of wisdom to get you started:
In our world of flippant ADD diagnoses and “admirable” multitasking abilities, focus is hard to come by, at least for any extended period of time. Although during meditation, the goal is to let go of thinking and simply be, this can be extremely difficult, if not impossible for beginners to whom this idea is so foreign that it borders upon ridiculousness. If you find yourself feeling this way, try to focus your attention not on nothing, but on something—one thing. Anything will do. It could be a word, an object, an idea, or even your own breathing. Whatever it is, give that one thing your full attention. More tips on how to concentrate
- Let go.
When you first begin to meditate, you may feel a bit silly, especially if the idea is brand new to you. Our culture tends to value productivity over peace of mind, so you may feel like you’re wasting time—like you should be working or cleaning the dishes piled up in the sink, for instance. If this idea creeps in, let it be. Do not argue with it or give it any special attention. Do not attempt to repress it, although this may very well be your urge. Simply allow it to pass by.
- Acknowledge negative thoughts.
If thoughts that you perceive as negative energy invades your mental space, simply acknowledge them for what they are. It may be helpful to visualize a thought as a firing of a synapse in the brain as all thoughts are—whether good or bad. They don’t mean anything about you, they don’t reflect or forebode; they simply are.
ginning. Thoughts might creep in, and the responsibilities of the day ahead may encroach upon your mind. Don’t count this as a personal failure, but only as an obstacle to your growth—one that every human must overcome to achieve a higher state of awareness. Commit to practicing meditation once or twice a day, every day or a few times a week, whatever you feel comfortable with in the beginning, and then keep your word. Do it whether you feel like it or not; do it whether or not you think it’s having any impact at all; in the words of Nike, just do it. Soon, you’ll look forward to it rather than having to remind yourself.
- Find your own way.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to cross your legs and maintain a thumb-to-forefinger position in order to meditate. Experiment with different poses, whether it be sitting upright, lying down, or even curling up in a fetal position. Meditation is personal, and everyone has their own comfort zone. Strive to find yours rather than imitate what you may believe to be the “right” technique.
- Keep a journal.
After each meditation session, write down a few thoughts about the experience. If you were frustrated, say so. If you felt refreshed afterward, or felt as if you had a breakthrough, document it. After a few weeks, read back through your journal and take notice of the progress you’ve made. Feeling as if you’re moving in the right direction—even if you haven’t quite accomplished your personal goals—can be a powerful motivating force.
Meditation can have a powerful and positive effect on your mind, body, and soul, but chances are, it won’t happen overnight. Like anything else, practicing meditation takes concentration and determination. If you’re convinced of the benefits but don’t see them right away, stick it out. You’ll never know what’s at the end of the road if you don’t keep walking.
To learn more, visit this site about Buddhist meditation techniques.