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Meditation For Beginners

Meditation conjures up images of devoted monks in beautiful silent monasteries, or great gurus who spend hours in elevated states of consciousness, communicating with celestial beings.


You may read about meditation as a recommendation for greater intellectual focus , and peace of mind. You may hear it is incorporated into healthy lifestyle regimes. You may even hear people say it is a part of their personal practice, and for a beginner, all of this may seem overwhelming.


Meditation need not entail plentiful experience or exotic settings. It doesn’t require a lot of money, unless you want it to. You don’t have to have a certification in meditation under your belt to enjoy the benefits of it. You can always take classes, and read materials published by professionals, and you can also structure your very own simple meditation. One of the many wonderful things about meditation is there is no ONE way to do so, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find out you are already using meditation techniques and didn’t even know it.


There are two ways to meditate, and a plethora of techniques for each. There is the famous “no mind” approach which is designed to clear thoughts, and sometimes go into trance. Then there is active meditation. This is conscious focus on a topic, be it a mantra, or even a scholarly topic.


Getting started meditating is as easy as deciding what your purpose of meditating is, and trying techniques. What are your goals? Do you want to make “me time”? Do you want to improve your focus? Do you want to learn greater calm, and peace of mind?


Me Time

Each person has their own reasons for taking personal time. Some call this a self-care regimen, and others just need to have something they have scheduled so they have time away from everything and to get in  touch with themselves. This can be done by setting aside a certain time of each day, or even a few days a week when you are off limits, and do only what you choose. Parents, caretakers, and people who work long hours find this especially liberating, and crucial for maintaining balance.  Meditative activities for this can be as simple as taking the long way to work so you can have alone time and listening to books on tape.


Waking up earlier than everybody else to journal or read things that help you focus on whatever it is you want or need to is a great way to get that me time in meditatively.

You may want more structured meditation that utilizes measured breathing and body position. This can provide focus without blanking your mind.  It will refocus your mind away from all the things you have to think about for the day, and instead focus on your breathing. It’s a welcome break away from everything for a few minutes.  Sit with your feet on the floor, and your hands in your lap. Take in a deep breath to the count of three and hold it to the count of three. Exhale to the count of three, and hold that on the count of three. Continue this sequence for a while, setting a timer if you like. Focus only on the breaths and counting.


Focus

Learning better focus can be done easily by casting aside any other thoughts that are not part of the topic you are focusing on, and doing so with no distractions can aid this.

Are you trying to find an activity you can zone out with, and use this as for management of anxiety, or to just relax your mind? Listening to music while performing a task is one way to do this. “Whistling while you work”, chanting a mantra, or singing while you do something else counts. Painting, crochet, woodworking, gardening,  cooking, or any relaxing activity that you enjoy that allows you to forget everything else, and just focus on it is a great method of meditation.


Another simple form of meditation is to focus on one topic and write down everything that comes to mind about it. If you feel your mind wandering to another topic, refocus, and continue. Keep your writings on these topics, and go back and read them to see what you came up with. This is an especially useful type of meditation to do when you are working on your healing, and self-improvement.


Meditation on the mysteries or beliefs is an ancient practice that utilizes prayer beads. Each bead represents one concept. You don’t have to incorporate religion to use this. You can string beads together, and hold them between your fingers as you focus on thinking about one idea at a time. You can customize your own structure of topics, even changing them as often as you like. Some will have their meditation beads in their favorite color, or made of some sort of auspicious stone. Rose quartz brings the energy of self-love, for example.


Greater Calm

In the mad dash to get everything done, peace of mind and the ability to relax can be lost. It can result in greater stress, which affects the mind, and can lower the body’s immunities. Being able to find peace and calm is crucial for health and wellbeing. While you may not be able to take stressors off your plate, you can establish a mind control routine that helps you.


When things seem to be spiraling out of control, take a short break to tell yourself “I can handle whatever comes my way.” Get used to saying it to yourself, and remind yourself of past accomplishments if needs be. This quick refocus mantra can help you. Customize your very own mantra and use it often.

Establish a ritual before you get started. “I haven’t had my coffee yet” might make some people laugh, but even a simple coffee ritual can be the little bit of time that helps you gear up before you roll up your sleeves, and dig into your tasks. Besides quiet time with your favorite caffeinated beverage, walking someplace beautiful, working out, stretching, or anything that makes you feel recharged can be your ritual.


Learning to say “No” cannot be stressed enough. When things and people are overstepping boundaries, and pushing you too far, simply refusing to participate is the most calming thing you can do. There are times you cannot do this, however, and emotionally disengaging is a meditative activity. This is trickier than just chanting or having a ritual. It’s consciously controlling your thoughts to the point you don’t allow emotions to intrude. This is a skill that can take years to perfect. The best way to start is to simply tell yourself you are going to do what you have to, and not think about how much you dislike it. This is an especially valuable skill to have at work or any setting when you find yourself dealing with things and people you cannot get away from. It gets easier over time and has to be maintained long term. The more you do this, the easier it gets, and you will be pleasantly surprised when you realize it’s working.


Things to keep in mind

Establishing a set schedule for meditation helps some, while others have busy schedules they simply cannot rearrange, and have to do their meditation whenever they can. Both ways are right. Do whichever works for you and your schedule.


You will see immediate results. If a technique is not working for you, try something else after you have given it a chance.


You don’t necessarily have to have a room in your home devoted specifically to meditation. Not everybody has the space or resources for this. Cleaning an area and having it neatly organized so there is no visual noise competing for your attention can be all you need. You don’t necessarily have to meditate in the exact same spot every time, most especially if you use different techniques for meditation. It just needs to be someplace that works for you.


Your meditation practice will change the longer you do it. You may begin with sitting in a particular position on a yoga mat in classes, and end up soaking in a hot bath three times a week as your meditation setting. Years later, you might be doing mantras during your work, and after this, your meditation may be reading or journaling.

Your journey with meditation starts with trying one thing at a time, and will be something that stays with you for as long as you want it to. Enjoy meditating, and watch how it improves your life.


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