Have you ever imagined being in control of your mind? Having authority over your thoughts and feelings? Not letting external factors decide your mood? You are about to uncover the secrets of inner peace which gives you control over the wandering nature of the mind.
Meditation is the best way to remain in control of your mind. It gives you the gift of peace and stability. After learning the art of meditation, you will be amazed at the extent of control you will gain over your mind!
Let me take you through the basic processes involved in meditation. We are going to see
– the different approaches to meditation,
– how to prepare for meditation,
– the beginner’s step-by-step guide to meditation proper and
– the common questions on meditation and comprehensive responses.
Different Approaches to A Successful Meditation
Just as bodybuilding has different approaches depending on what you want to achieve, mind-building also does. Take a look at the different techniques and see what works best for you as you journey towards peacefulness.
This technique involves focusing and refocusing your mind on something. For example, taking a candle and gazing on the flame, counting of prayer beads while reciting a mantra repeatedly (this is mostly used in Buddhism and the prayer beads are called “Mala”), or you could simply focus on your breathing sequence.
Concentration is the ability to keep your focus on a particular object or activity for a period of time. The concentration approach to meditation can be tagged basic. This is because it is easily understood, even when it might be difficult for beginners to achieve longer concentration periods, it is just a matter of time they will work their way up.
Consequently, your concentration ability will be highly improved through this process.
As thoughts wander through your mind, you can observe the process by which it arises and cuts across the mind by practicing mindfulness meditation. The aim of this consciousness is to perceive the unconscious rising of various thoughts in the mind without interference.
Compassion Cultivation Technique
The practitioners of Cultivation of compassion meditation uses their mind to picture negativity and through compassion channel it to positive energy. This practice is common among the Buddhist monks who incorporate it into their daily meditation routine.
Movement Meditation Techniques
Movement meditation encourages focusing on the mind while making gestures with your body. This technique involves walking meditation, tai chi, and qigong. All the body movement must concur with the focusing of the mind.
There are many other approaches to meditation but the ones listed are basic for beginners who are willing to learn how to meditate.
How To Prepare For Meditation
For very successful meditation, you need to know how to prepare yourself and the environment for meditation. Here are practical guides to preparing for meditation.
Think Out Your Reasons For Engaging in Meditation
People who practice meditation do so with the aim of achieving a variety of results – it could be in order to make a connection spiritually, gain inner peace as they quieten internal noise, increase their level of creativity or to perceive a purpose.
Even if you just want to spend some time daily being conscious of yourself without any external influence, it is enough reason to engage in meditation. You do not need a complex reason for meditation, after all, meditation basically is achieving relaxation and calmness while not focusing on daily events that could stir anxiety.
Locate an Environment Rid of Distractions
As a beginner, the place to start out is a very quiet environment. If you are making use of your apartment, shut out noise from outside by closing your windows and doors, turn over distracting photos hanging on the wall and make sure the television or radio is turned off. If there are people who share the same apartment with you, it is okay to seek for their willingness to keep things quieter during your period of meditation. Any sense of distraction in your environment should be relieved. An empty room is a better environment for meditation if it could be found.
To help make your environment more conducive for the exercise, you could get flowers, candles or incense with soothing scents. Turning off artificial lights while making use of only the candlelight can increase your level of concentration.
Make Use of Zafus
Zafus are meditation cushions, they are kept on the floor allowing you to sit on the ground while meditating. The zafu does not have back-rest, therefore it helps you focus more on your energy without distraction from slacking your back to a back-rest. When you cannot get a zafu, you can make use of a sofa cushion or a pillow to serve as your meditation cushion.
The major aim of a meditation cushion is to prevent hurting from long periods of crossing legs. Always keep your back straight and exist in your body for as long as you can, if your back feels uncomfortable, slack back until You feel better to assume a straight back position again.
Wear a Loose Breathable Clothing
The comfort of the clothes you wear during meditation matters a lot, you do not want your clothes to be the distraction. Your loose and breathable clothes for sleeping and physical exercise can serve to offer you the needed comfort. Avoid jeans, tight pants and any restrictive clothing that can cause any slight discomfort during your meditation session.
Make Use of a Comfortable Time Frame
The time for meditation as a beginner should be when you are in the right state of mind. This is because unlike those who are used to meditation that could use meditation to calm anxiety, you will find it very difficult to concentrate when you are already overwhelmed and anxious. Therefore, make use of a period you feel better relaxed, maybe early in the morning or late evening whichever works for you.
Keep a Timer Handy
Paying adequate attention to the things listed above will definitely keep you on the right path to the great meditation experience. Now, let us see the steps to meditation proper.
The Beginner’s Step-by-step Guide To Meditation Proper
These are practical guidelines to meditate effectively, just pay attention and follow the steps listed here and get started with meditation proper.
STEP 1: Sit in an Upright Position on Your Meditation Cushion
Sitting erect is the best position to stay in order to focus better on your breathing. You can sit on a meditation cushion or a chair, whichever choice make, try to keep your back as straight as you can.
While you sit, keep your leg in a comfortable position by crossing them or just stretching them in your front. The goal is to find a comfortable sitting position devoid of stress that could cause distractions.
STEP 2: Activate Your Timer
Once you have adjusted to a comfortable sitting position the next thing is to set the duration of time you wish to meditate. There is no need setting a long time of 30 minutes or more like a beginner, a 2 – 5 minutes interval can be great. Then work up to a longer duration.
STEP 3: Keep Your Hands in a Relaxed Position
You must have seen or watched people rest their hands on their knees as they meditate. You can also emulate it, but when you do not find the position relaxing enough for you, you can keep them in whatever position that best suits you. Let them just be free and comfortable to allow you to concentrate.
STEP 4: Keep Your Head Facing a bit downwards
The position of your head should be such that it faces downwards slightly. This position makes it easier to breathe by opening up your chest. Moreover, it is more comfortable at the position and aids meditation.
STEP 5: Better To Keep Your Eyes Shut When Not Focusing On a Visual Image
Keeping your eyes open during meditation can bring about visual distractions, to avoid this, close your eyes. You can only leave your eyes open when you are concentrating on a visual element, such as concentrating on candle flames. But for this study, we are focusing on the breathing sequence, therefore it is better to keep your eyes shut.
STEP 6: Ensure Your Mouth is Shut While Breathing
Keeping your mouth shut does not include grinding of teeth or keeping your jaws clenched. The best is leaving them relaxed while still closing your mouth. Breathing in and out should only be from your nose, this is avoiding moving attention from your nose to mouth and consequently getting distracted while meditating.
STEP 7: Keep Your Concentration On Your Breath
This is where you actually meditate. Focusing on your breathing alone inspires positive energy and helps you remain in your body without external influence. Avoid trying to block out anxiety breeding events that stress you out on a daily basis, just focus your attention on the breathing which is an act of positivity, then other thoughts will fly away.
Focusing on your breath can come in the form of focusing on the passage of air through your nose, or focusing on the contraction and expansion of the lungs or even the sound of your breathing. Just keep your mind on any part of breathing you are comfortable about.
STEP 8: Be Present In Each Breath
Try to experience and feel each passing stream of air through the nose to the lungs and out. The objective is to be present in your body witnessing the process of breathing. Do not think about the breath or try to imagine what is happening or the process involved. Just feel it with your senses rather than your mind.
STEP 9: Keeping Refocusing Your Attention Whenever You Lose Focus
Losing focus while meditating should not overwhelm you, even experienced practitioners of meditation still find the external world sneak into their minds. Whenever you get distracted, just bring back your mind to your breath and allow other thoughts to wither off. Continue refocusing on your breath as long as your mind wanders. As a beginner, expect losing focus more often but do not worry you will become more stable with time.
STEP 10: Do Not Berate Yourself
Meditation becomes better and easier for beginners if only you can accept that mind focusing can be difficult at first. Do not blame yourself if you could not achieve your expected duration of time during the first few practices. When you see many beginners frustrated, do not panic just take it as part of the process. It may take time, but improvement is guaranteed when you follow the process gradually.
Take note of the processes and the details of each step and follow them consistently. It is just a matter of constant practice, you will get the inner peace and other benefits of meditation you are seeking.
The Common Questions On Meditation And Comprehensive Responses
These are common questions asked by beginners to understand clearly the processes of meditation. The best responses are given equally in case if you have similar questions in mind.
Q1. Do I need to meditate daily?
Answer: The best thing to do is form it as a habit to meditate daily. By so doing, you will become more effective and benefit greatly from meditation. I know meditation can be overbearing at first, but cultivating it as a daily habit will make it less burdensome.
Q2. Why do I feel restless sometimes during meditation?
Answer: It is not uncommon to find your mind wandering each time you try to concentrate. Actually, it is very normal, but when it is excess it could be because the body needs to satisfy a need. Check if you are hungry, thirsty, overfed, or you just had a heated argument just before your session. These can be thought-provoking and consequently making you restless. To avoid this, satisfy your urges before meditation and stay away from thought-provoking activities.
Q3. Is meditation particular to any religion?
Answer: No, Meditation itself is not religious in nature. This practice is independent of multiple religions and was born out of a desire to better understand God or to achieve enlightenment. Therefore, meditation often has spiritual elements. That is to say, one does not have to piously meditate, and a person of religious belief does not have to use meditation as a spiritual practice. This is part of the beauty of meditation. This is really your achievement.
Q4. Why do I feel sleepy any time I try to meditate?
Answer: Falling asleep during meditation is mostly related to the physical state of the body and the lighting nature of the environment. By this I mean, when you are weak, you tend to fall asleep faster when you keep calm. Another thing is that if there is not enough natural lighting in the room where you are meditating, there is a higher possibility to feel sleepy. To avoid dozing off next time, warm up your body to curb weakness and stay where there is enough lighting.
Q5. How do I tell if I’m meditating effectively?
Answer: When you are able to focus on the rhythm of your breath while still aware of your wandering thoughts but not letting them distract you in any means, you are meditating effectively. At this point, you will feel that stillness of the mind while you experience peace at its peak. Unfathomable peace is a characteristic of effective meditation.
Now you have known the steps on how to meditate as a beginner. The rest of the actions lies in you. If you have decided to take meditation as an adventure to peacefulness, then procrastinate no more. Start today with the detailed steps above, see it as devotion and remain committed to it. Peace will be yours at the end.