Meditation is a powerful and approachable practice that helps to center and align the body, mind, and spirit. Many people are hesitant to begin meditating because they feel pressure to turn off their thoughts. It’s fundamentally impossible to do that. Unfortunately, this misconception of the basic precepts of meditation has prevented many people from enjoying its benefits.
Meditation can be part of an everyday, practical life. Aaravindha Himadra, a spiritual guide and author of the Immortal Self offers these 7 tips to begin your meditation practice and how you can fit it into a busy life for spiritual growth.
1. Start Slow
Many people are hesitant to try meditation because they have never really sat alone with their thoughts for an extended period. Try committing to just ten minutes the first few times. Ten minutes is enough to start experiencing the basics. When you feel ready, try adding another five minutes, and if you’re ambitious add another five later. Soon, you will be meditating for twenty full minutes.
2. Set Reminders
It is easy to forget to meditate in the crush of chaotic activities that fill many of our days. Set a reminder for yourself that you should meditate as soon as you wake up in the morning, or practice your twenty minutes of meditation an hour or two before you go to bed at night. Set your alarm on your wristwatch, or post a sticky note on your fridge. Whichever works for you is fine. Make it a habit, and you will be able to reap the benefits of daily meditation practice in no time.
3. Focus on Your Breath
When you are first beginning to meditate, it is normal that your mind will flutter about anxiously, looking for a place to land. Don’t fight with those thoughts that will only agitate your mind more. All you need to do is to concentrate on your breath effortlessly. Sit down in a way that allows you to breathe without restriction comfortably.
Focus on taking a slow, gentle breath. When you let the breath go, enjoy that special feeling of relaxation that comes with it. Allow your lungs to empty as much as is comfortable, and take another slow, gentle breath.
In the beginning, imagine your inhalation is filled with the warmth of life. Let the warmth fill your body. When you exhale, imagine that you are exhaling all of your tensions and limiting thoughts. This will set the ground for going deeper.
4. Take Note of All of Your Experiences
Take the time to quietly acknowledge any sensations arising through any parts of your body or mind. If a part of your body is sore, acknowledge it. If your mind is busy, acknowledge it. Mindfulness is an especially beneficial practice for the beginner. The goal is to allow all physical and emotional feelings to come and go without pursuing, indulging, or resisting them.
Accept whatever comes and whatever goes, neutrally. When you accept what occurs naturally in mind, you can meditate while letting go of more effort, without the intimidating prospect of emptying your mind.
5. Have an Attitude of Self-Love
Try not to be self-critical. Rather than scolding yourself for having certain thoughts and feelings, simply accept them. Think of meditation as a way of giving yourself some love. Thoughts and feelings are there for a reason. They are a natural part of life. Although when you are meditating, don’t spend your time analyzing them, just let them be and then let go some more.
An attitude of self-acceptance, self-love will help tremendously in bringing peace to mind.
6. Guided Meditation
If you are having difficulty settling down in your meditation practice, be patient with yourself. There are many kinds of meditation, breath awareness, mantra, or just simple mindfulness. If these are a bit difficult, you can also try beginning with a guided meditation. The key is to find a guided format that will focus on the basics of effortless awareness and inwardly directed letting go. Everything you need in your meditation is already in you. In the beginning, meditation is mostly about learning to get out of your own way.
7. Work It into Your Life
Meditation can become an important part of your daily routine. After you get started and when you are accustomed to meditating, you can learn to use the principle you’ve learned in real life situations. Learning to watch your emotions come and go without engaging in them is a good example. Tuning into your center when confronted with life challenges is another. Soon you’ll discover you are meditating all the time. The more you meditate, the more you’ll integrate its process into life.
Benefits of Meditation
Aaravindha Himadra has compiled these 7 beginner tips to help you incorporate meditation into your life. When you meditate, you will find that you have a deeper connection with your innermost self. You will learn to center yourself and relax.
Working meditation into your daily life is easy after you have established the basic. Once accomplished there is a long list of different types and depths of meditations you can advance in. Above all, be forgiving. Meditation should never be a form of punishment. Enjoy the new insights that meditation will bring to your life.