Meditation is a very useful skill to develop that has many positive benefits that affect your physical, mental and spiritual health. There are many meditation techniques that focus on different aspects of our well-being. Finding the right technique for your purposes can be quite daunting. If you search for Learn How to meditate for beginners in Google you will get about 3 million answers! So the best practice is to keep it simple and most importantly know the purpose of your meditation. Are you looking to relax? Are you seeking clarity and focus? Are you searching for answers or insights or maybe you are looking to reduce stress and anxiety in your life. Meditation can help with all these questions. An easy one to start with is Mindful Meditation
As stated above, when deciding on a way to start, keep it simple. So I suggest a simple mindful meditation for 5 minutes. I’ve picked mindful meditation over others because it doesn’t require that you clear your mind, or to chant or count beads. You breathe naturally and be in the present moment. As thoughts come into your head just observe them and let them go. It is important not to judge them or yourself. If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to the breath.
Mindful meditation is about being aware and in the present moment. It is OK to observe the sounds, smells and sensations that you are experiencing in your surroundings. In fact that is the best practice for mindful meditation because this will teach you to become aware of you surroundings and you will learn to relate to your surroundings in a calm relaxed manner. As you become comfortable with this type of meditation, you can apply mindfulness even when not meditating. You will naturally start to become more aware during your day.
Overcoming Monkey Brain
Most people in the beginning stages of meditation find it challenging sitting still for even 5 minutes. Their mind is in a state of mind chatter or as Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk and popular meditation teacher, likes to call it a state of monkey brain. To overcome the monkey brain you must bring your attention back to the breath. This does take practice, patience and perseverance. Over time as you develop your meditation muscle, you will be able to meditate longer and you will find your mind chatter becoming less and less and your concentration and focus will increase.
Developing Your Meditation Muscle
By continually bringing your attention back to the breath, you are developing your meditation muscle and training your mind to disengage from high energy mind chatter that is usually brought on by anxiety, stress and negative emotions. With consistent practice, your ability to meditate will grow just like a muscle that is consistently exercised. As your muscle grows, anxiety and stress will be reduced.
As your mind enters a more relaxed and calm state, you can then start to focus on the contents of your thoughts with greater clarity.
Yongey Minguyr Rinpoche also suggests focusing on a sound can be another beneficial way of quieting the mind. Although it should be one sound such as a gong or chirping birds but not music.
Set Yourself Up For Success
To get the full benefits of meditation, it should become a daily habit. Habits can be developed if they can be easily implemented. Below is a list of factors to consider when beginning.
- Intent: It is always good to know what you would like to accomplish with your meditation. Is it to relax or reduce anxiety or for a more spiritual experience. Just set the intention in thought before you begin then let it go.
- Environment: It is best to find a quiet place to meditate. A quiet room in the house or maybe out in nature are two good examples. I like to meditate with candles scented with a lavender and eucalyptus. Pillows or something soft sitting on is very beneficial. If the room is cold, wrap a light blanket around you.
- Clothing: Anything will work so long as it is loose fitting and comfortable.
- When to Meditate: Finding time to meditate can be stressful. That is why I suggest starting at 5 minutes. Hopefully you can carve out 5 minutes of your day to dedicate to your practice. I also find meditating in the morning is easier than in the evening as I get quite tired at night and can fall asleep during meditation, which I prefer not to do. I love waking up in the morning and meditating first thing. It does really set my day up right. But really you need to find the best time for yourself.
- How long to Meditate: 5 minutes is a great start and then try to build up to 15 minutes and then 30 minutes. If you can go longer, you should. But again do what feels right for you.
- Posture: Sitting with a straight back is the most popular posture. But laying down is also very acceptable. There are many meditations that call for standing and walking. Sitting on a cushion with a straight back is a great way to start mindful meditation.
- Breathe and be Present!!
- Don’t judge yourself, smile, feel good to be doing something beneficial for your mind, body and spirit.
Take Baby Steps
If you want to incorporate meditation into your lifestyle, start simple and grow from there. There are many meditation techniques that I will explore with you on this website. A meditation practice takes dedication and commitment. I’ve been meditating for about two years and have tried many types. Some I really enjoy and others are a little boring. I started meditating now and then and overtime I realized I was feeling the benfits so much so I do it almost everyday now.
Meditation not only quiets your mind and relaxes you but it also trains you to control your thoughts. What an empowering concept to control your thoughts. And that, my friend, is where things getting really exciting!