Meditation has gained a good amount of hype in America over the last several years. People of all faiths and beliefs have found a great deal of peace practicing this ancient art. It clears their mind, relaxes their body and puts them in an overall better emotional state, and what’s best, it can be done by anybody, anywhere. But how does one who has never meditated before get started?
First, it is really important that meditation newbies find the perfect quiet spot for them to meditate. Whether that is outside on the back porch or in a small office or in a spacious living room, it must be a place where there will be little to no distractions. Turn the TV and cell phone off. Step away from the computer. It may not be easy, but it can be done. It is also a good idea to sit on a comfortable mat or pillow. Some people may even want to light a scented candle or meditate in a darker room, or a place they have designed with their own personal spiritual icons. The point is spiritual and physical relaxation, so people might want to invest in these extras, at least a cushion, just for meditating if they think they will take it up as a daily practice.
People may want to meditate in a quiet environment, or they may want to meditate with soft instrumental music like New Age. Either is fine. The music should be secondary to the meditation itself, however, not too loud that it becomes a distraction. Also, it is better if the music is gentle and fluid, rather than rock music, for instance, which has the potential to raise the pulse not lower it.
Advanced meditation experts practice sitting a certain, specific way. But for the meditation newbie, sitting cross-legged with a straight back and head facing forward is fine. People may place their hands palms up or down on their legs or knees. Again, the beginner’s stance isn’t quite as important as the next step.
Once situated, sitting with good posture on a soft cushion in a quiet, undisturbed area, it is time to start breathing. Meditation centers on the breathing. Eyes can remain opened or closed, although closed eyes might help the newbie to concentrate better and not become distracted. Breathe in deeply and slowly let it out 10 times. Pay attention to the way the lungs expand, the way the body slightly lifts and falls upon each breath. Focus on everything happening, even the sound and feeling of the air as it enters and exits through the nose or mouth. Count the breaths. Then repeat.
While doing this deep breathing, newbies may find the next step difficult, but it is crucial to do. People constantly have thoughts and worries floating around in their minds. These thoughts can consume them, stress them out and make their lives miserable. Meditation heals people of their constant worrying. During meditation, it is important only to think about the present moment. Clear the mind, mentally wiping unwanted thoughts clean as if they were on a black board and every breath moves the eraser. Continue pushing away thoughts until the mind is blank and open and only focused on the present moment. Once the head is clear of noise, a person can keep meditating for as long as he or she likes, as long as that blank state is maintained.
Starting out with meditating a few minutes a day helps newbies work up to longer periods of meditation. If all a person can do is half a minute of a clear mind and relaxed body at first, that’s still an achievement. But the ultimate goal of meditation is to be able to sustain that state of mind for longer periods, so the spirit and body can truly relax. Why wait? Give meditation a try today.