How To Meditate: A Beginner’s Guide
“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you.”
– The Age Of Enlightenment
Let’s be fair. Life is full of unexpected surprises, good and bad, as well as, ups and downs. Often times, once we become welled up with emotion, we reach outward to friends or family to vent or share the emotions with. Sometimes, we even allow unhealthy coping mechanisms to control how we respond to life events.
These are the times where we need to turn inward and implement our meditation, more than ever!
- Meditation provides a comfortable and safe place for you to retreat to without having to physically go anywhere.
- This place is untouchable by any other force when you choose to think responsibly.
- It’s a training ground to create the space for your mind to be present with your body.
- Creating space for your mind helps you connect to your mind, body, and soul as a whole.
- You regain control over how you respond to stress, both internally and externally which in turn changes your perspective and your life.
It’s never been a better time to begin your journey of healing. Start today with a little meditation practice! Once you learn how; start small. Try for a couple of minutes to begin and then work your way up to ten minutes and then twenty, and so on. It’ll make a difference in your patience as you learn new ways of thinking and unthinking!
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Step 1: Get Comfortable
When first starting meditation practice, getting comfortable can be difficult for some folks. It’s important to be comfortable in how you sit during meditation but not so comfortable that you fall asleep. Sitting upright is the way to go for meditation.
Yoga is known to be a form of meditation for some and in yoga, you will be able to find how having good posture can improve sitting in certain positions for prolonged periods of time. During yoga or meditation, a posture that seems to appeal to most is known as (name of posture), or, Head-Over-Heart & Heart-Over-Pelvis.
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Step 2: Set Your Intention
Before you carry on any process, you should have a well-rounded idea of what you are trying to accomplish. In meditation, we are focusing on improving ourselves.
You will want to determine:
- What it is you are looking to invite into your life?
- What it is you are looking to let go of?
By the careful determination of these things, you will be able to adjust your focus accordingly to actually achieve a goal. This may take more than one or two practices. Perhaps, this one thing has been on your mind for some time now and you really want to be able to let go of the way it makes you feel or how you perceive it.
You can do so through meditation!
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Step 3: Allow Thoughts To Flow
Our thoughts and emotions are fleeting. They are like ripples from water droplets into a large pond. They will pass in time and if we allow them to, we will be left with stillness and peace of mind.
Allowing thoughts to pass through can feel really challenging, especially when it’s a troubling thought. There are ways to get yourself out of this situation of feeling “stuck” in a train of thought, though. When you start to feel stuck during meditation (or any time), You can:
- Allow the thought or feeling to come on. Let it move through you by embracing it, rather than rejecting it or holding on to it.
- Redirect your thought back to a single word or mantra – “Breathe” is a great one!
- Return to your breath and place your hand on your heart. Feel that? That’s you alive in the present!
Meditation doesn’t have to be intimidating. Just allowing yourself to be ready is the first step to success.
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Step 4: Focus On Your Breathing
The key to meditation is maintaining your focus. With only breathing to think about, you can’t really trail too far off in your mind. If you do, remember what we talked about previously, just come back to your breath.
Breathing is vital to life and it’s the most present thing we can take action and do. But, how many of us are actually present with such an autonomous activity? The answer is, not many. With so little focus on breathing, how does one become more self-aware?
Some of the techniques used in Yoga can be beneficial to learning how to concentrate on your breath.
Ujjayi Pranayama is a type of alternate nostril, cyclic breathing technique that helps you train your breath and promotes deep feelings of relaxation. In the link is a video that will guide you through the process and help you get started!
Step 5: Be Present
To meditate is to be present. We have every moment as a real-time guide for us to make the choice to be present. It is the way to appreciating life and finding gratitude in the small things. Being present is truly the path to happiness.
Being present starts with acknowledging your breath and heartbeat. Feeling the music your existence makes. Rocking to the beat of your own drum. Tuning into that rhythm really assists when looking for something to focus on in the present. Nothing else can get more present than that!
To be present means to not think, overthink, or look forward or backward into the future or the past. All of that becomes a distraction to the present moment. When you are focused on anything but the present, it is impossible to be present.
How do you spend time being present? Let meditation become your answer.
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Author: Dee Haller, Spa Specialist, Mind Body Soul
Sources – Medical Journals: