One of the first things I learnt from self-help books is positive thinking, and to visualize your desires. Well, when I first started out on these books I had a difficult time putting what I read to practice. Because as soon as I close my eyes to visualize the thing that I want I found my mind wandering everywhere, everywhere that is, except on the thing that I want! So I did a little research and was told that meditation is a great way to clear the mind and sharpen our concentration. But how to meditate for beginners? Well, I started out with breathing meditation and have been meditating ever since.
Most teachers in self-help books practice daily meditation. It is the fastest way I know of to quiet the mind and gain control over our thoughts. Gandhi once said, “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” 🙂 I have written this post to get you started on meditation. But first things first…
The Many Benefits of Meditation
I have listed below the benefits of meditation that I am aware of:
- Dissolves stress and anxiety
- Enables us to achieve a state of deep relaxation in both mind and body, leading to a great night’s sleep or a day of enhanced energy levels, focus and creativity, or both
- Quietens the mind, allowing us to gain control over our (negative) thoughts
- Higher levels of concentration during visualization – to the point where we are able to manifest our desires very quickly
- Connect with Infinite/Universal Mind, from which all answers, ideas and inspirations can be gotten (for advanced self-help book readers!)
- Greater happiness (which ultimately is why we want all that health, wealth and love in the first place, right?). This in turn will make us feel warm and well-disposed toward others, thereby improving our relationships with them
Meditation 101 – Breathing Meditation
Breathing meditation (which I learnt from how-to-meditate.org) is what I did when I first started meditating. Below are the steps I follow when doing breathing meditation:
Step 1 – First up, choose a quiet place to meditate and sit comfortably. You can sit in a chair if you wish (not necessary to ‘do’ the lotus position!)
Step 2 – Keep your back straight so that your mind does not become sluggish or sleepy
Step 3 – Close your eyes, relax, and begin by becoming aware of the countless thoughts and distractions in your mind
Step 4 – Turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally (without attempting to control your breath) through the nostrils
Step 5 – Be aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is the object of your meditation. Try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else
Step 6 – There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they come up. If you discover that your mind has wandered, you should immediately (but gently) return it to the breath. Just repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind settles on your breath. Congrats, you just meditated!!
There are also numerous Buddhist centers worldwide where you can learn to meditate, even if you’re not a Buddhist. The ones I know have numerous centers around the world are the Kadampa (1100 in 40 countries at the last count) and Diamond Way (654) Buddhist centers. They have qualified teachers who will guide you on your meditations. By the way, there are many types of meditation and some are steeped in elements of Buddhism, so just choose the type that is your cup of tea.
Just 30 minutes a day will do…
Some people said that meditating 5-10 minutes a day is enough to bring about powerful changes in our lives, but if you’re anything like me then I think not. When I first started meditating I usually need that much time just to stop thinking about the day’s (and tomorrow’s!) activities and stresses. So for me, I think you need at least 30 minutes a day.
If, however, you find it difficult to put aside everything for more than 30 minutes per day, or if your mind and body is just too busy and restless to meditate effectively – I recently discovered (well, someone recommended to me) this neat program that’s been termed the next generation in meditation. It’s called Zen 12. Just by listening to an audio for 12 minutes you get the benefits of an hour’s advanced meditation, and the best part? You do not have to do ANYTHING (except put aside those 12 minutes, of course!). If that sounds like something that you might be interested in, please do read my Zen 12 meditation review here.
Anyway, we’ve come to the end of this post. Do share if you’ve enjoyed it :). Thanks for sticking with me, and please feel free to visit the rest of my site. As always, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I’ll be more than happy to connect. See you around!