Meditation: A Beginner’s Guide on How to Meditate
“Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
The Dalai Lama
One of the first times I ever noticed the significance of meditation was when I was so frustrated with my boss that I decided to consult a psychiatrist. On the way to the hospital, I saw a meditation camp and thought of trying myself over there. That was the day that changed my life.
For a while, I dealt with heavy stress and anxiety because of the high workload in my career, my personal relationships, and simply trying to live a certain life. But the biggest mistake I made was simply assuming it was okay to live with all those negative emotions. I took those negative feelings as another part of my personality I should simply accept.
Although having a good night of sleep is good for you, you’re still constantly fighting with the world. Jerry Seinfeld, another person who heavily meditates, mentions the importance of meditation daily. He explains that sleeping isn’t enough to feel well rested because you’re still living life. through dreams and tossing and turning. Meditation gives you that time to click pause in your life and think to yourself.
Another moment I was shown the benefits to meditation was when I came across a podcast with Arnold Schwarzenegger explaining how his life changed after a year of practicing transcendental meditation.
After his friend had set him up with an instructor to teach him the proper techniques, Schwarzenegger’s anxiety had royally decreased and had changed the way he approached life. Meditation taught him that the root of his anxieties was seeing all of his responsibilities as part of a massive, interconnected task that seemed impossible to overcome.
Meditation is the way to train that Jeannie inside you who will make you happy and satisfied in whatsoever situation you’re in. One of the greatest takes a friend of mine had received from meditation was learning how to control their mind in times of anger, anxiety and depression.
Maybe you’re questioning whether you should incorporate meditation into your life. After all, it’s not for everyone because it requires self-disciplining yourself to take around 10 minutes of your day to do completely nothing. And it’s one thing to do nothing out of pure boredom. You’ll probably fill that time with browsing Facebook or Instagram. But when you’re forced to spend that 10 minutes alone with your thoughts, it suddenly makes things scary.
But hopefully this guide gives you a full scale on whether you should try it out or not. After all, a study done in 2011 had showed an average of 12.5 minutes of meditation a day for 8 weeks had dramatically decreased a group of Marines stress and anxiety.
In spite of all the troubles in your life, you will smile from the bottom of your heart after digging into your inner conscious. And I know, it does sound cheesy. I’m sure someone reading this must have tried meditation but dropped it because it was tough to sit for so long and keep their mind empty. But the best way to meditate in the starting phase is to concentrate on your breathing. Let’s first discuss easier tips to meditate for beginners.
Basic Tips to meditate for beginners
1. Sit down in a comfortable posture
2. Slowly close your eyelids
3. Notice the way you breathe. Don’t control it. Just feel how you are doing it.
4. Then move your concentration on rest of your body one by one starting from your feet & moving upwards to your head.
5. Feel the circulation of your blood.
6. Then again focus on your breathing.
Try this for 5 minutes initially and then gradually increase the duration day by day. The day you have reached a sitting of half an hour. You are now ready to do the following meditation techniques:
1. Mantra chants
Do you recall any movies where a monk is sitting at a temple humming something you’re not even sure is in English? The most common word you probably know, “OOOOMMMM.” Initially, I thought chanting was only something that was meant to kill the time while they meditated.
But what they’re really doing is using a channel that lets them unravel their subconscious and shift away their negative thoughts. Chants assist you in giving you a higher state of consciousness because you’re not constantly focusing on every bad experience you had in the past. When you’re reliving some unpleasant memories, chanting shifts your focus away from it because you’re actively motioning your brain activities.
There are thousands of Sanskrit mantras that have different meanings. Choose the one who’s meaning you like the most. Repeat those words of mantras again & again. Repetition of these mantras drain your mind from all the thoughts & soothe your brain. You can all write your own mantras & chant them. It doesn’t really matter what you chant. The peace that you get from it is invaluable.
2. Candle method
You ever just watched a random object while lost in reality. You ignore everything around you and you even stop seeing the object you’re staring at. Instead, you’re thinking of a past experience that resonates strongly with your emotions. This is how the candle trick works.
Although closing your eyes and focusing on your center thoughts works for some, it’s not for everyone. Some people need to stare at something while digging into their thoughts. This works because an external object is what sets a person’s focus into a one directional status. And once that one directional status is quickly understood and mastered, it shifts the mind to other areas of the mind. It makes you look at the bigger picture of life and what really matters to you.
Take a candle and light it up. Look at its light. Keep looking at it and let your thoughts evacuate your mind. In case you have difficulty focusing on it, just look at it as an observer. See how its light flows with different strokes of air.
3. Meditation Music
Like the candle technique, some people can’t meditate in complete silence. Some people have so much things going on in their head they can’t handle the pressure of dealing with them all in total silence. I know whenever I’m alone with my thoughts trying to reflect upon myself, it sometimes freak me out when I feel like there’s too many voices in my head to control.
Don’t let your brain sabotage you. Instead, give it some work to do by playing meditation music in the background while you use the conscious part of your brain to focus on what matters.
There are many meditation audios available readily on internet & departmental stores. Lit off the lights of your room. Sit in a comfortable position plug in the earphones & start the audio. Do as guided in that audio.
4. Focus in the center of your brain
The power of your whole body, mind & soul lies at the point between your eyebrows. Slowly close your eyes and concentrate at that point. Think about your childhood, what made you smile before the world poisoned your thoughts, and what truly makes you happy.
The goal is to make a conscious focus and pay attention to your inner passion. Realize that all negative emotions are repeats and survive only temporarily. Time passes and you forget your emotions at the time you failed that test, your business went bankrupt, or you got rejected by some random girl.
Once you directly take a conscious effort to realize you’re in direct control of your emotions, don’t focus on every negativity in your life as a definition of you. See them as lessons you were taught that made you into a better person.
When I reflect back to a time I got rejected, I retrace what I did wrong and what I should do next time. I don’t attack my appearance or intelligence. If I did bad on a test, I try not to automatically assume I’m an idiot. I evaluate how I studied and ways to improve it.
It’s easy to assume the worst when suffering from negative emotions. But provide a solution to your flaws and evaluate ways to prevent it next time. And if you failed again, think back on what you messed up on and try again.
Many scientific research has shown that meditation increases the gray matter of your brain, which directly affects and assist your focus, concentration, anxiety, and stress. In fact, in 2011, a study at Harvard took people who never meditated before, and had them practice short sessions daily. Then after a few weeks, they had scanned their brains and found the gray matter in their brains had shrank.
Keep on focusing until you see a little light at that point. Gradually you will start feeling lighter. Move yourself up in your imagination. Speaking of imaginations, take notes on…..
Close your eyes and visualize the perfect you. Be realistic with yourself and don’t make yourself as the person who has photographic memory, can run a mile in two minutes, and eat only vegetables. That’ll set you up for a round of disappointment in the future.
Be honest about what you can do to be better at being you in your life. Examine your bad habits and see what you can do with that time instead.
When I started reflecting on my bad habits, I realized I wasted a ton of time watching useless videos on YouTube. And when I envisioned a better version of myself, wasting a majority of my time doing that wasn’t part of it. Reading and learning was the type of person I wanted to brag to people about.
I can’t brag to someone about watching 100 cat videos for five hours. But I can brag to someone if I read the entire cat history origin for five hours and bring up some good conversations with what I learned.
Go deep into the idea of who you want to realistically be. Envision what the perfect you habits would be and the type of actions you’d like them to follow. Maybe the perfect you eats healthy at least once a day and put in the effort to exercise two times a week. Perhaps the perfect you is putting in the effort to learn another language rather than browsing twitter.
So if you’re struggling with debating what’s toxic in your life, just think on what you would want to brag to someone about. Would you rather tell someone you eat only junk food proudly or would you rather tell them you put in the effort to eat healthy. Don’t be pressured to do something only because someone else is doing it, but also be honest with yourself by asking yourself is that really something you want to brag to others about.
6. Make someone smile
A weird effect that meditation does for you is giving you compassion towards other people. You become a lot more tolerant towards jerks and people on the freeway. Other people, especially adults, have even been shown to want to socialize more and be less needy.
Meditation produces a self-esteem boost in your head because you’ll be in a state of knowing what you want and who you are. When people don’t take the time to spend to themselves and see what’s hiding in their minds, they make false assumptions about themselves after 10 seconds of rationalization.
Take for instance if I got rejected by a girl at a bar. If I don’t take the time to think over why she rejected me such as she already had a boyfriend, I wasn’t confident enough, or I approached her strangely, the quick analyze team in my head is going to immediately assume her rejection is an indication that I’m useless and will never be loved. From there, that belief will continue to follow me like a plague.
Be it a crying little kid, or an old lady parted from her children, or simply some of your colleague upset due to some family issue. There can be numerous ways you can bring smiles to their faces because you’re no longer focusing on ways they can make you happy. You’re already happy because you’re on the path of making the best version of yourself.
Being the reason behind someone’s smile is the best remedy to heal your soul from within.
7. Let silence speak
An effective use of meditation is simply being silent with yourself and the rest of the world. Humans fill their lives with so much noise and distractions that they fail to take in the moment to themselves.
If you deal with a busy schedule, this technique especially points to you. You might not have the time to sit in your house to meditate for 10 minutes because you have loud children or a hectic work schedule.
But for at least one time in a day, simply do one thing. Go on your terrace & look at the sunset, the sky, and the birds chirping. Don’t speak anything. Just observe nature. Let all your worries go through your mind. If you feel like crying, go ahead. Don’t stop yourself.
Being mindful of your environment allows you to see life from a greater perspective. You stop living in the world inside your head and realize there’s much more to life than just Netflix, getting some girl’s attention, or what someone said. Such as the methods mentioned above, think back on your life, envision the perfect you, and get in touch with your thoughts.
A time will come when you will feel lighter. Without speaking a word you will get a feeling as if you opened your heart in front of your closest friend. Let silence be your best buddy.
8. Become a singer to yourself
Unlike the techniques mentioned above, this one doesn’t rotate around being in a state of silence and thoughtfulness. Instead, this technique points to people who find it easier connecting their thoughts and emotions to an external channel through their ears.
And if you’re still considering the idea of singing your thoughts away as strange and unpleasant, think back at a time you sung to yourself. It was probably in the shower or in the car while listening to the radio. As you sang, you probably forgot a majorities of life problems and instead focused on remembering what the lyrics were. Chances are you probably even remembered the first time you heard that song and who you heard it with.
In a study performed by a group of researchers, they uncovered how singing regularly had lowered a group of people’s stress just as much as a group of people who meditated. Singing usually syncs with your heart rate and as a result, reduces your anxiety and worries.
Who cares if you’re a bad singer. Close the doors of your room and sing your favorite song. Don’t forget to complement yourself for how nicely you sang (let the people’s opinion about it go down the drain.) Singing is such a divine meditation technique that it brings out the pain in you amazingly.
9. Benefits of meditation
Meditation not only brings you peace and satisfaction, it has the power to heal numerous diseases also. You must be aware of the fact that stress causes 70% of major diseases nowadays. Here are a few major problems meditation may reduce in your life:
Blood pressure problems:
After researchers gathered all published studies on stress reduction and blood pressure among hypertensive patients, transcendental meditation proved to be the most effective technique.
Researchers found at least 10 – 15 minutes a day of meditation can have a meaningful effect on your body. Their study concluded that slowing down brain activity through meditation works on the nervous system, and creates an anti-stress mechanism within the body.
For those wondering, a good respiratory rate means your lungs are working, more oxygen is inhaled, and your body works more efficiently. In 2003, Harvard scientists studied a group of 10 meditators and discovered their respiratory were much lowered than non-meditators.
Even problems like constipation and sleep problems can be cured because it is directly linked with stress and anxiety.
The bottom line
Why put so much burden on your little heart. Life is short, it’s a gift. Enjoy it, live it to the fullest. Don’t let useless things hamper it. Meditate daily, smile & be the reason behind someone’s smile.
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