The art of meditation, focusing your thoughts in one area, this technique has a wealth of benefits on health including clearer thinking, less negative emotions and a general feeling of clarity.
While a lot of people have tried mediation at some point in their lives, many do not go in for the long haul. One possible reason is maybe the lack of guidance to make a sustainable practice.
So shall we begin with a few simple steps to help beginners get away from that initial and usually difficult starting period.
1) Start early in the morning. No question that the ideal time is first thing in the morning. There is good reason for this, for one it is usually quieter, it is not so likely you will be disturbed and your head tends to be generally clearer with no clutter from the day. A good idea is to wake up 30 minutes before you normally do and use this time to meditate.
2) Choosing the room to meditate in. If you have the option, choose a room whee you don't eat, sleep or work. The room needs to feel peaceful, place living plants around and candles, or whatever makes you feel at ease like spiritual paraphernalia or incense.
3) Be sure you will not be bothered. A great issue with first time beginners is not insuring a tranquil environment. It wont be easy to attain deep relaxation when in the background you are thinking the phone might ring or the kids might wake up.
4) A focal point. When you first start meditating, having your eyes closed when meditating might be difficult, you can use a visual queue by lighting a candle and allow your attention to go on it. This can be very useful!
5) Guidance tapes and CDs. Listen to instructional tapes to get a grasp of the feel of the session, and maybe later you can experiment with a nature sounds CD or binaural beats.
6) Have a good stretch before you begin. By stretching, you loosen the tension in your muscles and are more comfortable when you sit (or lie) down when meditating. It also helps you to start focusing your attention to the body.
7) Begin to focus with the breath. To bring the mind focus when beginning to meditate, breathe slowly. This also slows the heart rate and further relaxes you body.
8) Have a purpose for meditating. It is hard to focus at a single point which is an art in itself, you need to understand that it is an active process and you will need purpose.
9) Don't be disheartened. When you first start to practice it is common to feel frustrated with thoughts creeping up like "why am i here?" or "why cant i relax". Just breath in and out slowly and let these thoughts drift away.
10) Have a sense of your body. When you start to feel the meditative state rising a good practice for beginners is to sense different parts of your body. As the mind quiets, put your attention on your feet and move your way up including the organs through your body. You surely be on the right path.
11) Start to notice slight physical movements. Noticing the smallest of physical adjustments can make you feel frustrated or renewed. Even if it cannot be seen by a person watching, it can mean everything for you.
12) Take it easy! This may be one of the toughest to get around as a beginner, whatever experience you get whilst meditating, don't get stressed about it. Whether you get nervous before or upset afterwards, it is what it is and you should just do the best you can.
13) Be with someone. There are many great benefits of meditating with a partner, just make sure you agree on some ground rules.
14) Once you finished, have gratitude. Take a few minutes to appreciate your ability to focus and also for the opportunity to practice.
15) Be still twice a day. To reach the next level, set aside two specific times a day to meditate.
16) Try different techniques. Meditation doesn't have to mean sitting crossed legged with eyes closed, try different techniques (lying, open eyes etc). You might find one that suites you better.
17) Be more aware during the day. Be 'present' and find your breath at points during your day and evolve your meditation habit.
18) Meditation books. Instructions & the benefits of meditation can give you motivation, a good one for beginners is John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are
19) Take note of when you start to loose momentum. There will be a point when you start to lose focus on meditation and chances are it is parallel with a loss of focus other areas of your life. Be re-invigorated, THIS is when you need to practise the most, go back to your books and CD's and remind yourself the purpose.
20) Just do your best. The wonderful practice of meditation is difficult at the start but it is truly rewarding, don't examine results of your daily practice just do your best everyday!