Meditation may have the ability to improve your life for the better. Even a small amount of meditation may add value. The problem is that meditation is not widely understood. There are countless myths and stereotypes surrounding meditation that it has traditionally been disregarded in western culture, although this is now changing and it is becoming more popular. Understanding meditation for beginners aims to debunk some common myths about meditation, highlight some benefits and teach you a simple and easy way to meditate.
The basics of meditation are quite simple, yet will require practice and commitment to master. This is the case for any self-development practice, so this should not daunt you. There is also no perfection when it comes to meditation. You will have enjoyable meditation experiences and some more challenging meditation experiences. There will be times when life gets in the way, and this is fine!
To better understand what meditation is, it may be helpful to look at what meditation is not. The following five meditation myths may help you better understand more about meditation and see it is not as difficult or as mysterious as you might think.
1. You must sit in the lotus position
I am sure you have seen many images of mediation practitioners sitting in the lotus position. When you think of mediation, you will almost certainly imagine someone sitting in the lotus position. Experienced meditation practitioners may use the lotus position, but it's not a requirement. When starting with meditation, it is usually best not to start with the lotus position, but rather a sitting position. Sitting in a relaxed position in a chair is often best for a beginner.
2. You can't have any thoughts in your mind
Many meditation beginners assume that the focus of mediation is to have no thoughts. The main focus of meditation isn't about thinking about nothing and voiding yourself of all thoughts. Instead, meditation is about being aware of when thoughts arise and being able to bring yourself back to the present moment. The focus is about not getting caught up in the stories we tell ourselves. It aims to allow you to be in the here and now calmly.
3. You can't meditate with any distractions around
As you can see from the above point, meditation is about being in the present moment even if the present moment includes the sound of barking dogs, people talking, cars driving or even an itch on your back.
While practising meditation while a dog is barking or when people are talking, maybe challenging when you first start meditating, it is the very essence of meditation. I had some of my most significant breakthroughs in my meditation practise by meditating with noise around me. It helped me to enter a meditative state quicker and wherever I want to. The noise around me gave me invaluable experience.
4. Meditation is a religious practice, or it doesn't adhere to my religion
Some meditation practices are religious. However, these meditation practices are not the type of meditation discussed here. The kind of mediation covered in this blog post is called mindfulness meditation, which is about immersing yourself in the present moment. As a result, you may find happiness and fulfilment by living entirely in the here and the now. It is not a religious practice.
5. Meditation is difficult
Many beginners shy away from meditation because they believe that it's too complicated. Or, they try meditation and find out that they are unable to think of nothing and then stop because it's too difficult. The truth is, and as mentioned above, you won't be able to stop all thoughts. It's the natural state of your mind to be thinking. Meditation is about realising when you're thinking and calmly bringing yourself back to the present moment.
Meditation doesn't need to be complicated. It is at its core a simple practice, but one that does require practice to master. There is no destination, but rather a journey of practice, discovery and improvement. Meditation has been attributed to many different benefits. Here are a few ways that meditation may improve your life:
Of course, no benefit can be guaranteed, and we are all unique. However, these benefits are typically the ones associated with regular meditation practice. Many mediation benefits may come from the potential for it to change the structure of your brain.
1. Get a timer
Having a timer allows you to stay calm without worrying about how long you have been meditating. The timer on your mobile phone works just fine. Please set it to a predetermined amount of time. Ten minutes is a great time to start with when you begin. Here is a great 10-minute timer:
2. Your environment and how to sit
It is best to find a quiet area, preferably alone, where you are less likely to be disturbed for the duration of time you intend to meditate. It is best not to play music in the background when you first start to learn to meditate.
Sit comfortably in a chair. Try and ensure that your spine is straight so that you don't fall asleep or become uncomfortable.
3. The actual meditation
Please close your eyes and start to become aware of the process of breathing, whatever you translate that to be whether it's the rise and fall of your gut or the feeling of air entering and exiting your nostrils.
Allow your attention to rest in the sensations of your breathing.
Every time you become aware that you're thinking, gently bring your attention back to the breath.
As you focus on your breathing, you'll also perceive sounds, bodily sensations, and emotions. When you observe these sensations, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
If an unpleasant sensation arises, become aware of it without reacting to it and let it go. Then bring your focus back to your breathing.
Continue like this until you are merely witnessing anything that enters your consciousness rather than reacting or thinking.
Meditation does not have to be complicated or difficult. With practice and commitment, you can establish a rewarding meditation practice that may bring well-being benefits. Don't be afraid to experiment with what works best for you. This may be where you meditate, the time you prefer to meditate or for how long.
You are a unique being, so your mediation practice will be unique also. Be kind to yourself and allow for days where your practice may not be as focused, but know that these experiences, with time, will be what develops and strengthens your mediation practice.