How to Meditate for Beginners

Learning how to meditate can put you back in touch with yourself and help to tap your individual strengths.

Often with the stress of our busy lives we can feel like there is never enough time in the day to get things done,

Often I hear that "there is no time to meditate!"

But did you know that meditation frees up your time.

One of the benefits of meditation is that it increases your powers of focus and concentration...the very things that increase your overall effectiveness.

Meditation calms down a busy mind and reigns in those merry-go-round thoughts.

By doing so, meditation instills a greater sense of peace and happiness.

Here we provide some tips on how to meditate for beginners and the budding guru. These include:

  • where to meditate
  • when to meditate
  • Should I close my eyes when meditating?
  • the importance of attention and having few expectations when learning how to meditate.

How to meditate for beginners to the budding guru

1. Where to meditate

Turn off your phone and the TV and find yourself a quiet place.

I find that meditation, especially when first learning how to meditate for beginners is best done in a quiet place that is free from distractions.

I’ve meditated on the bus to work, a flight interstate, under a tree in the park, and even in my office.

While you can meditate anywhere, fewer distractions are beneficial until you become more experienced.

You may want to reserve a corner in your room as a place to practice meditation. Use a meditation cushion on the floor or a straight-backed chair.

2. When to meditate

Meditation gurus suggest that you meditate early in morning when your subconscious is most receptive. This is also a time when your body is rested and re-energized.

This is also a good time to fill you mind with positive thoughts that set the tone for the day.

However, the realities of modern life may make finding time in the morning difficult.

If so, then look for spaces in your day in which you can meditate.

Meditate on the bus to work, close your office door for 5 minutes and meditate, or meditate under a tree at lunch.

The important thing is to make a commitment to meditate on a regular basis.

3. Close your eyes

Closing your eyes allows you to focus fully on yourself without outside distractions.

Alternatively you can have your eyes half open and unfocused, or focused on a single point such as a candle flame.

4. Focus on your attention

Essentially there are two distinct meditation techniques that have come out of Eastern philosophy: exclusive meditation and inclusive meditation.

Exclusive meditation

Exclusive meditation restricts concentration to focus on one thought and this thought wipes out all others from the slate of consciousness.

This might be the mental repetition of a mantra such as Om, the visual concentration of a flame, or repeated sounds like a drum or Tibetan bells.

Transcendental meditation is an example of exclusive meditation in which the meditator focuses on one word that is meaningful to them.

The benefits of transcendental meditation were studied by Herbert Benson and Robert Wallace in a Harvard laboratory which found that TM was beneficial for the reduction of stress.

The incongruity of the simplicity of transcendental meditation and the expensive price tag led to Dr Benson to develop another exclusive meditation called the relaxation response.

Inclusive meditation

Inclusive meditation, also called insightful meditation and mindfulness, is a type of meditation in which the mind does not restrict or attach itself to thoughts.

Basically in inclusive meditation no attempt is made to control the mind's content, and thoughts enter the mind without judgment or emotional attachment.

An example of inclusive meditation is formal mindfulness meditation such as the eight week course on mindfulness based stress reduction.

Informal mindfulness is doing everyday activities mindfully, such as walking meditation or mindful eating.

In these types of meditations all the senses are focused on the present moment.

Zazen or zen meditation, coming from Zen Buddhism, also has some aspects of inclusive meditation.

5. Relax your muscles

Let your muscles relax.

Don't try to force relaxation, just adopt a passive attitude.

If you feel relaxed, then great, if you don't feel relaxed then accept that, too.

6. Expectations

We all want to enjoy happiness and peace of mind and to get the most out of your meditation experiences.

Try to approach your meditation practice with minimal expectations as results take time!

7. Meditate regularly

Learning how to meditate is a skill and like any other skill requires regular practice.

Meditation is best practiced on a daily basis.

The important thing is to make a commitment to meditate regularly.

Continue to do whichever type of meditation your choose.

Initially it may be difficult to meditate for even 5 minutes a day. But over time you should be able to reach 20 minutes each day.

Search here for other tips on how to meditate

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