A Simple Guide to Start Your Daily Meditation Practice.
The goal of meditation is to go beyond your mind, beyond thought and experience the true self, the self not associated with the mind.
There is a stillness, a being part to life which is mostly overlooked in our busy daily lives.
Don’t worry, you can meditate without moving to Tibet and joining a monastery. In fact, most actors and musicians Meditate!
When most people think of Meditation they picture a Monk sitting cross legged, eyes closed.
Sitting Meditation is one of the many forms of Meditation. By sitting with your eyes closed, still you start to look inward.
You start paying attention to the thoughts, the key is to act as the observer to these thoughts, to stay detached from them.
Detachment from thought is a very powerful part of Meditation, giving you the practice which will flow in your daily life. As you sit, you look inward, with inner focus instead of through your external perceptions and senses.
Become the Observer or Witness of Thought
Sitting Meditation helps you practice being the observer (or witness) of thought.
Attaching to thought generates feelings and emotions. Feeling and emotions from thought manifest into anxiety, worry and fear.
Meditation helps you learn to detach from these manifestations. Stopping the thoughts is not the idea, instead witness them as an observer, let thoughts come, let thoughts go, let thoughts pass.
How Long Should a Beginner Meditate?
When starting out you may find 5 to 10 minutes of meditation difficult. It will depend on how many thoughts your mind is producing. If you have a relatively calm mind, then 5 to 10 minutes may be easy for you which is great, you have a head start many people do not!
It’s not really how long you meditate, when first starting out you just want to make it a daily habit. As you practice regularly, you will be able to meditate for longer periods of time.
There is nothing wrong with starting with just 2 to 5 minutes a day. Again, make it a habit, do it around the same time every day.
Most people find in the morning, soon after waking and before bed are the most beneficial.
Can I Meditate in bed?
I highly recommend you do not practice meditation while laying in your bed. You will find yourself falling asleep too often. Your bed should be associated with sleeping.
Meditation is to bring your awareness into focus and you need to be in a waking state. This is the exact reason most meditation is done in the sitting position.
Basic Introduction Meditation
- Step 1: Find a quiet spot, I highly recommend using headphones if you can’t find a quiet spot.
- Step 2: Search on youtube for some nature music
- Step 3: Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, don’t start it just yet.
- Step 4: Stretch a few minutes, then tense your entire body and relax.
- Step 5: Sit, with your back straight in a chair or on the floor(you will probably want a pillow under your butt) with your legs folded.
- Step 6: Start your timer and music.
- Step 7: Spend the first minute or so adjusting to get comfortable in your position while practicing diaphragmatic breathing.
- Step 8: Transition over the next minute away from your breathing and just let thoughts flow.
People new to Meditation often complain about excessive thoughts and how to stop them.
Again, it’s not about stopping thought but observing without attachment. Don’t worry, with practice your mind will slow down and you will have few thoughts and more peace during Meditation.
Too many thoughts? Try a Mantra
A Mantra can be described in many ways, I recommend you simply make up a word with no meaning. This could even be any foreign word of a language you don’t speak.
Slowly repeat this mantra in your mind, this should occupy the mind as it tries to figure out the meaning.
A great starting mantra is “So-Hum”.
On your inhale in your mind say “Soooooo” and on the exhale “Hummmmm”.
Some people find a powerful energy flowing through them when using this mantra.
Too many thoughts? Try imagery
If a mantra wasn’t enough to slow down your thoughts, imagery is another great way. Picture something, anything, a car, a flower, a statue, the sun, the stars, anything. Simply, think about this.
When I started meditating I would imagine I was sitting on a star looking down at earth, feeling the emptiness, the openness and peacefulness of space.
Is There a Wrong Way To Meditate?
No, there really is no wrong way to meditate. Unless you are feeding into your thoughts, following them or thinking negatively constantly throughout your meditation, there really is no wrong way.
Beyond the basics meditation isn’t a one size fits all, so following others on how to meditate may be helpful but there’s no secret.
Shiva, the first Yogi listed 112 sutras (ways) to meditate. It is said if you master just 18 of the Sutras you may attain enlightenment, many of which are part of a daily meditation routine!
I encourage you to practice systematically, around the same time every day.
I practice when it’s quiet (I have 3 kids!) so 9PM-9:30PM daily is when I find a spot, put my earbuds in and meditate.
This discipline will significantly increase the power and speed at which you progress.
Meditation is a process. As you progress you will have times where you change something, whether that’s focus during your meditation or some other subtle form and the benefit will be incredible.
Guided Meditation for Beginners
If you have trouble finding stillness and peace from meditation, a great way to start is with guided meditation. There’s ton’s of them on Youtube. Guided meditation helps take the focus off thoughts and to the voice.
Here’s a 10 minute guided meditation with a soothing woman’s voice:
Knowledge starts appearing
After some practice meditating you may notice something. knowledge to continually progress in your meditation will start appearing.
I’m not talking about thin air, but, you know the feeling when something happens and you think “Wow this is exactly what I was looking for (even though you didn’t know what you were looking for?)!” be prepared, it will happen and it will put a smile on your face.