Meditation How To: Getting Started
|March 13, 2012||Posted by admin under Meditation, Mind|
So now you’ve realized meditation could change your life in a million ways, all for the better. How should you get started?
First Things First:
Meditation is easy, fun, and helpful, but it is not instant. It takes time to learn and time to perfect. So many people will say after trying once, “Oh I’ve tried meditating, but it doesn’t work, at least not for me,” or plainly “I can’t do it.” And I want so badly to answer, “I know what you mean. I tried riding a bike once and FELL, can you believe that?!” Meditation takes time, like working out to train your muscles or learning an instrument. That’s why it is SO important to have the resolve to learn and to practice every day– even just for 5-10 minutes (there are 1440 minutes in a day. Using 5 of them to meditate won’t kill you). Most importantly, don’t expect instant results. You won’t get them.
What you need is a calm, quiet place to sit with no distractions. Somewhere out in nature, or even a quiet room will work. Sit upright in a comfortable position (don’t lay down as you might lose concentration).
How to start: Breathe deep from within your stomach, and relax. Realize that you are in a quiet space and will not be bothered. Let out all the tension in your body. Be aware of your body. Feel how your feet feel touching the floor, for example, or how your back feels against the wall. Pay attention to your breath (YES, that’s ALL you have to do, really.) Note: I said pay ATTENTION to your breath, don’t just sit there and breath. There’s a difference. Meditation is an active activity, not passive.
An article I read asked a Buddhist monk the best way to do this, who said to visualize your breath entering and leaving your body as you would if you were standing on a beach in the tide. Just as you would stand in one place, feeling waves pull back towards the water then push towards the sand, follow your breath, from a single point in your mouth, as it enters your nose, fills your stomach, then leaves again. You can also count your intake–outtake in a 4-8-16 pattern.
When you first start meditating, there is no way you’re going to be able to keep all attention on breathing. See, without training your mind is rather distracted, like a 4 year old kid at Disneyland. It keeps thinking about other things and jumping from subject to subject.
To meditate, whenever you have an extra thought, recognize it– say to yourself, “OH, I’m thinking about ___” enter subject here. If you are thinking about your boyfriend, school, how badly you messed up on that test, how happy you are today, anything, either positive or negative, recognize that you’re thinking about it. Acknowledge it– Don’t judge it, merely realize that you were thinking about it. Then let it go, and go back to paying attention to your breathing.
What will happen: After weeks, months, you will realize that your mind tends to stay fixed to the same thoughts, like a broken record. You will realize that thoughts are just thoughts. They do not control you– you control them. You will realize that peace comes from within as long as you look for it, and that yes– it has been there all along.
So get started. And if you’d like to share your meditation experiences, I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered.