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What is Meditation and How to Practice – A Beginner’s Guide to Inner Peace
If you want to have peace of mind and be happy, then meditation can help you achieve this.
However, you may be wondering: “What is meditation, and how do I practice something that is so new and foreign?”
I’ve been meditating for over 10 years and have tried different meditation practices and listened to different teachers.
My goal is to create a summary of what I’ve learned in the sections below. It’s not the whole picture, but I believe it will be a good starting point if you are a beginner. Even if you are not new to meditation, it can help you continue your meditation practice with a new insight.
What is Meditation
Meditation is the practice of letting go of the mind. On a daily basis we try to control everything in our external surroundings, everything from what we eat, the people around us, the things that we read, which road we take to work, etc.
So when we sit down to meditate we try to do the same…let me try to control my mind.
However, if this is the approach that we have, we will soon be completely frustrated, because we won’t be able to control our mind.
Instead, our thoughts will get louder, busier and our mind will be out of control.
Then we’ll stop meditating and come to the conclusion that this is not for me, and give up on something that has the power to completely change our lives for the better.
Trying to “control” your mind doesn’t work, because you can’t control something that is not tangible.
There is this big misconception that the mind is in the brain, however, no matter how much you look for it there, you will never find it. The mind is formless and can’t be contain to a specific organ in the body.
The mind is like the sky, it is very vast, clear and spacious. On any given day, the sky outside can be clear of clouds or there could be a very strong storm.
The thoughts in our mind are like the clouds. If our mind is calm, there are no clouds and you can see a beautiful blue sky.
If our mind is very agitated, full of anger, or has any negative emotions, then it’s like a very powerful hurricane.
When we start meditating we may believe that we are thinking more, but actually what is happening is that we are becoming more aware of our thoughts.
Before we were in automatic pilot mode, but now we are becoming more aware of our thoughts. When meditating it is important to be aware of the thoughts, but not follow them.
All thoughts that arise from the mind, eventually go back to the mind. Just like clouds dissipate in the sky.
How to Meditate
There are different ways to meditate and one is not better than another. It just depends on your personal preference.
However, the most basic one when starting out is a breathing meditation.
-To begin with, find a comfortable sitting position. Your back should be straight, but not too rigid.
-Then gently close your eyes.
-To help you from salivating too much, and to help with the flow of different energies in your body, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, gently touching the back of your top middle teeth.
-Put your right hand on top of your left hand with the thumbs touching each other. The left hand represents wisdom, and the right hand represents compassion. Also, by having the thumbs touch each other, it lets certain energies flow in your body so you can focus better.
-Take a deep breath through your nose, enjoy it. Then exhale through your nose.
-One more time, take a deep inhalation and exhalation through your nostrils.
-Again, inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose.
-Breathe in and feel the cool air as it enters your nose, breathe out and feel the warm air as it exits your nose.
-Continue this process of gentle breathing.
-If thoughts arise, just watch them, but don’t follow them, let them dissolve back to the mind.
-Breathe in and breathe out.
-Feel the cool air as you breathe in and then feel the warm air as your breath out.
-Enjoy the cool air as you inhale and enjoy the warm air as you exhale.
-Just focus on the sensation of your breath. When thoughts come in, don’t try push them away; observe them and let them go. Continue focusing on the cool air as it enters your nose and the warm air as it exits your nose.
-Breathe in and breathe out.
Repeat this pattern for as long as you wish. Begin with 5 minutes every day, then gradually increase it to 10 minutes, 15 minutes and longer.
The important thing is not how long you meditate for, but that you enjoy it.
When to Meditate
Ideally if you have time, try to meditate in the morning for the following reasons:
-There is usually less noise in the morning, so you won’t be as distracted by hearing people walking their dogs, kids playing outside, cars passing by, etc.
-You have more energy in the morning, so your body won’t be as tired and it will be easier for you to sit still.
-It will be a great way to start the day, and your day is most likely to go smoothly if your mind is peaceful.
Additional time to help with your new practice:
We all have different lives and the morning may not work for you. So in that case try to meditate when it’s convenient for you. As much as you can, try to do it around the same time every day, so you can create a habit.
Also, the breathing meditation is very simple and you can do it almost everywhere. However, please NEVER do it while driving.
To help you feel relaxed and peaceful throughout the day you can also meditate during:
-Before going back home
-Before a stressful situation
-Before going to bed
By the way, if you are at work and feel you are going to explode out of anger, then this is the perfect time to meditate. There is a chance you won’t be able to sit comfortably to meditate.
In this case just go to the restroom and meditate there; even 3 minutes of just breathing in and out will help you tremendously.
Where to Practice Meditation
When meditating find a place that is quiet and free from distractions. Make sure that it is well lit, especially with natural light coming in (in a dark room you are more likely to fall asleep).
You can meditate in a:
-Out in nature
What is Meditation and How to Practice … Creating a New Meditation Practice
For your meditation practice to be successful, you have to do it every day. At first this may seem impossible, but trust me, consistency is the key.
To begin with do it for 5 minutes, just so you get used to doing something new. Do it for this amount of time for as long as you feel that you can stretch it up to 10 minutes. Then 15 minutes, 20 minutes and so on.
Also, our lives change day by day. If you are finally able to meditate for 20 minutes, but something comes up, make sure that at the very least you meditate for 5 minutes that day. Then the next day go back to meditating for 20 minutes.
Creating a new meditation habit
The meditation mentioned above is only a very basic breathing meditation.
Something to get you started with meditating. This is by no means the only meditation available, but since it’s very easy, you can do it right away.
We all have different likes and dislikes, so over time don’t be afraid to try something new.
You can always go back to the breathing meditation at any time.
The breathing in and breathing out meditation is like learning how to walk. It is a foundation so later on you can learn to do other things like running or dancing.
With your meditation practice you can take it as deep as you want. You can do other meditations to help you relax and get rid of stress, all the way to more powerful spiritual and profound meditations that can make you aware of the higher consciousness of existence.
If you are brand new to meditation, then I’m very excited for your meditation journey.
If you have been meditating for a while, just know that you can always go deeper. Have a wonderful time meditating, may this just be the beginning for an amazing and peaceful life for you.
Please share this post with your friends and family. Let us all help one another to have more peace in our lives.
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