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Meditation For Beginners: 11 Easy Tips

Meditation For Beginners: 11 Easy Tips

Are you wondering about meditation for beginners? Meditation offers immense physical and mental health benefits. It makes you more productive and confident, relieves stress, and empties the clutter from your mind. You’ll be more focused and you’ll achieve more, without trying. In essence, meditation helps you to know yourself.

Let’s look at eleven tips for meditation for beginners.

1. You’re doing it “right”. You can’t do meditation “wrong.”

Beginning meditators worry that that they’re doing it “wrong.” However, as revered Zen monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki points out in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, when you take your posture (sit to meditate), you’re meditating:

“When you have this posture, you have the right state of mind, so there is no need to try to attain some special state.”

Don’t be disappointed if you don’t instantly feel a deep sensation of peace and well-being whenever you sit for meditation. Over time, you’ll become aware that just sitting is all there is to meditating. You don’t need to force yourself to change; meditation does that automatically.

2. Choose a meditation that works for you.

There are many different kinds of meditative practices. Breath-counting meditation is simplest for beginners, because you can do it anywhere.

Here’s how. Once you’re sitting, or lying down with a straight spine, focus on your breathing, but don’t try to change your breathing. As you inhale, say silently to yourself: “… and”. Then as you exhale, count: “… one.”

Continue breathing and counting, as you inhale and exhale. “And… one; and… two; and… three; and… four.”

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When you reach “four”, start at “one” again with the next exhalation.

The numbers are arbitrary. You can count up to ten if you like. However, you’ll be amazed at how much your mind will wander. It will wander when you count from one to four too, but you’re less likely to suffer frustration.

Let your mind wander. That’s what it does. When you realize that you’ve lost the count, just restart your count.

3. Schedule meditation time every day.

As a new meditator, you’ll feel the health benefits immediately. When I meditate, I find that I’m more relaxed, and much more productive. I sleep better, and wake up bright and alert, ready to face the new day. The 10 to 20 minutes I spend meditating each day are amply repaid with my enhanced productivity, and my overall well-being and happiness.

You’ll find that your relationships benefit from meditation too: you’ll be much happier, and irritability from stress will be in the past.

However, to achieve these benefits, you need to meditate daily. That’s not easy, so schedule your meditation as you schedule everything else. I meditate in the morning, in my office, before I start work for the day. Choose a time you’ll be alone, and without distractions. Play music if you wish.

A meditation timer helps too. I use the Insight Timer on my iPad.

 

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insighttimer

     

    4. No time to meditate? Meditate for five minutes.

    Some meditators meditate for an hour, twice a day. Others meditate for 20 minutes, twice a day. I meditate for 10 to 20 minutes, once a day.

    The time you spend in meditation is beneficial, no matter how short it is. So, if you’ve only got five minutes, that’s fine.

    5. Keep your spine straight when you meditate.

    Posture is important in meditation. Whether you choose to sit or lie down for meditation, straightening your spine is good for your health. The Yoga Research Society’s article “Physiology of Meditation” is well worth reading; it discusses the three major benefits of keeping your spine straight. And as Shunryu Suzuki said, when you take your posture with a straight spine, you’re meditating.

    Over time, your mind and body will relax into a meditative state as soon as you take your posture. It becomes a habit.

    6. Meditation may make you more aware of your challenges.

    One of my friends told me he “feels so angry” when he meditates. This is because he’s now aware of his underlying feelings, which were always there.

    Best-selling author Susan Piver recommends that if you feel overwhelming emotions, you:

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    Place your attention on the feeling itself, not the story behind the feeling.

    If you’re doing a breath counting meditation, and you’re overwhelmed with emotions, start focusing on the feeling of the emotion in your body, without getting caught up in any stories attached to the emotion. Accept what you’re feeling, and become curious about the sensation of the emotion in your body.

    7. Although you’ll get fast results when you meditate daily, don’t become attached to self-improvement.

    Beginning meditators are excited when they realize that meditation “works” for them. They want to meditate better, to get faster results.

    You’ll get faster results when your sole goal in meditation is to meditate daily. Meditation is a process. In Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki says:

    “Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.”

    8. Get physical: yoga’s meditative, too.

    As your meditation develops into a daily practice, you’ll find that you automatically eat more healthily. Even if you’ve never exercised much, you’ll find yourself looking for ways to move and stretch your body.

    Consider yoga: it’s a form of meditation too. Yoga teaches you to stay in the moment.

    9. Choose music for meditation.

    Some mediators enjoy music while they meditate; others prefer silence. If you’ve had a busy, frustrating day, meditating with music can help to calm you.

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    Alternatively, treat your music as a meditation. You’ll find lots of links to music for meditation online. I like to listen to Gregorian chants as a meditation. Many people enjoy Bach, or playing the sounds of nature: rain falling or waves on a beach.

    10. Bored? Try a different meditation.

    Image Meditation
      Try an image meditation

      Bored with your meditation practice? Try a different style of meditation.

      Try:

      • An image meditation. Choose a peaceful photo of a nature spot like a beach or a mountain meadow. Imagine yourself there.
      • A chanting meditation. Formal meditative chanting is called kirtan. However, you can choose to sing along (out loud) to any kind of music that appeals to you, whether it’s opera or pop. Just be in the moment, and focus on your singing.
      • A walking meditation. In this style of meditation, you walk very slowly, and are aware of every step you take.

      11. Meditate wherever you are.

      You can meditate anywhere. You don’t need to be sitting.

      Try scanning your body. In this meditation, become aware of your feet, and how they feel in your shoes, as well as the weight of your body resting on the ground. Then become aware of each leg in turn. Place your attention on each part of your body, working your way upward to your head.

      A body scan is the ideal meditation if you’re waiting in a queue, or even at a traffic light. Of course, if you’re waiting for the light to change from red to green, you won’t be able to do more than become aware of your feet, but even a few moments of attention will relax you.

      So there you have it: eleven tips for meditation for beginners. Meditation will not only change your life for the better, it will change the people with whom you come into contact, too. Enjoy your meditation. You’ll soon look on your meditation practice as the best time of each day.

      photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc

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      Last Updated on November 20, 2018

      10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

      10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

      A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

      Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

      1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

      Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

      If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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      2. You put the cart before the horse.

      “Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

      3. You don’t believe in yourself.

      A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

      4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

      The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

      5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

      If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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      6. You don’t enjoy the process.

      Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

      The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

      7. You’re trying too hard.

      Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

      8. You don’t track your progress.

      Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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      9. You have no social support.

      It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

      10. You know your what but not your why.

      The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

      Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

      Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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      Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

      Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

      Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

      • The more specific you can make your goal,
      • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
      • The more encouraged you’ll be,
      • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

      I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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