Meditation – A beginners guide
By Becci Grant, Sun 14th Apr 2019
Meditate for freedom of the conditioned mind. Where movement is good for the body. stillness is good for the mind.
‘Meditation is the experience of the limitless nature of the mind when it ceases to be dominated by its usual mental chatter’
Think of the sky. If the sky is covered by clouds constantly, can we ever see its true nature?
Take the clouds away and low and behold we magically experience the beautiful blue vastness in all her glory.
If the mind is continuously clouded by thoughts, we can never experience it in and of itself.
We then just see its cloud covered contents
Why should we want to experience the mind in and of itself?
The answer – it represents our true nature, one that is naturally calm, serene, non judgemental, unclouded by the various anxieties and wishes.
To experience the mind without the clouds is to experience the sense of being fully and vitally alive and at the same time deeply at peace within ourselves.
When the mind becomes calm and still in meditation, we come to a much deeper understanding of ourselves and of our true nature.
By stilling and calming the thoughts, meditation also stills and calms the emotions.
“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there.” Deepak Chopra
Thoughts and emotions are linked in our every day lives. The mind goes over painful memories, current worries and concerns of the future which then in turn sporks emotions such as regret, anger and fear so when the mind enters into meditation, the emotions experience a new sense of peace and even when troubled thoughts arise, they lack their usual power and become weaker.
We can simply observe them objectively without getting lost in them.
Meditation does not take us away from the world but helps us become more clear sighted and effective people with in the external world whilst being aware of the goings on in our internal world helping us become more sensitive and compassionate an enhanced feeling of self awareness and self acceptance.
‘The soul who meditates on the self is content to serve the self and rests satisfies within the self; there remains nothing more to accomplish.’
(Bhagavad Gita c.200BCE)
Im often confronted with the following in regards to meditation ‘but how do you meditate?’ ‘How do you get rid of all your thoughts?’ ‘I can’t meditate’ ‘My mind is too active’
The answer is there is no right or wrong way to meditate, I don’t think it is ever possible to rid your mind of all thoughts, that is a thought in itself but there is away to observe your thoughts, to notice what is going on in the mind, just to be aware and offer no judgements, breathe through them and allow yourself to see them, kit is then up to you what you can do with them.
“The goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck.” Dr. P. Goldin
A simple step by step to get you started as a guideline
1.) Choose a technique.
You may be aware of so many different techniques that are available, visualisation, breathing, music, no music, guided meditation, mantra, prayer, Vipassana.
My advice would be to to stress too much about the meditation buffet on offer but to try various methods that gives you access to a meditative relaxed state.
2.) Establish a habit.
It has been noted that it is helpful for beginners to establish a meditation practice that will remain basically constant – the same time, the same corner, set a side a space, do what you need to do to make it a relaxing space to begin with whether that’s candles, a cushion, comfy clothing as neuroscientists believe we form habits of a 3 way loop called a ‘habit loop’ The brain prompts you to perform an act in response to a cue, you do the activity, and you find it rewarding, which in turn strengthens the loop and makes you eager to do it again and continue
When you create the conditions for your meditation practice, you’re not only setting up signals that tell your mind and body it’s time to turn inward, but you are making it that much more likely that you’ll sit down in the first place.
But don’t let the fact that you don’t have a quiet corner (or even a dedicated cushion) deter you.
“Don’t get stuck on the idea that you must meditate at a certain time, or in certain clothes,” It is possible to meditate on the train, park benches, in the shopping queue, just be patient and practice.
3.) I pencil in the 30 minutes first thing on a morning practice and 30 minutes on a night but even 5-10 minutes will serve good purpose. I sit on the floor on a folded blanket with my eyes gently closed, my legs loosely crossed, and my palms resting softly on my thighs. The wall is close by to support my back if I need it.
You should make yourself comfortable so that physical discomfort doesn’t stop you from meditating, Supporting the back against a wall with pillows, or even sitting in a chair is fine, so long as the spine is erect—a slumped posture constricts breathing, reduces alertness, and puts a kink in the energy running through the body.
Some days are harder than others, The amount of time it takes to reach a quiet state varies by person and by level of experience. How to know when you’re there is another question with no hard-and-fast answer. You might experience a deep and relaxed state of awareness, while others might experience visions or sounds. Every meditation is different.
4.) Find joy in it. Make it about you. Think of it as a date with yourself. Quiet time where you have no distractions from the external world and you get to visit the internal world, be intrigued bout what is going on, become aware and the watcher of your being. The observer of thoughts. It may feel like a chore to start with but I promise you after practice and a commitment to keep up to it. It will become your saving grace and another tool at your very own disposal to pull out of your bag of tricks any time of the day to seek peace and stillness in this ever evolving crazy fast paced external world we can get lost in.
5.) Get a good comfortable seat with your spine elongated and begin with your breath.
Sit in a comfortable posture with your spine easily erect. Inhale, letting the hips, thighs, and sitting bones become heavy as they sink into the floor. Exhale, feeling that the breath gently lifts the spinal column up through the crown of the head. Inhale, letting the chest lift and open. Exhale, allowing the shoulder blades to release down the back.
Inhale, and imagine that the sides of your ears move back just enough so that your head and neck feel aligned with your shoulders. Your chin should tilt slightly downward. Place your hands in Chin Mudra, thumb and forefinger touching, palms down on your thighs. Let your tongue rest on the floor of your mouth. Close your eyes.
Notice as your awareness comes gently to the flow of the breath. As the breath flows in and out, notice the sensations in your body. Let the inhalation bring your attention to any places in the body that feel tense or tight, and then, with the exhalation, release any holding there. Let the breath bring your attention to your shoulders, and with the exhalation, feel them releasing. Let the breath bring your attention to your chest and belly, and with the exhalation, release any holding in those areas. Inhale with the sense of allowing the breath to touch any places in your body that still feel tight, and exhale with the sense that your whole body softens and releases.
Allow the breath to flow at a natural rhythm. Notice how the breath flows into the nostrils with a feeling of coolness. It flows in and down the throat, perhaps coming to rest in the chest, and then flows out slightly warm as it passes up through the throat and out the nostrils.
Notice the gentle touch of your breath as your attention gradually becomes more and more settled in the flow of the breath. If thoughts arise, note them with the awareness “Thinking,” and bring your attention back to the breath.
As the breath flows in and out, you might sense that the breath is flowing in with particles of very subtle and peaceful light and energy. They flow in with the breath, down into your body, and out with the exhalation. You may visualise these light particles as white or blue or pink. Or you may simply sense them as waves and particles of energy.
Sense the enlivening caress of the breath, perhaps being aware of the breath filling your body with light particles, perhaps feeling the touch of the breath as it flows in through your nostrils, moves down through your throat and into your heart centre and then gently flows out.
Meditation can feel uncomfortable at first, you may think I don’t even have time, you might find things that are uncomfortable to deal with rising, if this is the case that is good, these are things that are telling you they want your attention to confront them. You don’t have to do anything with them. Just notice them, let them pest you but just notice them.
Take this time to just be, make it a date with yourself. You have to give so much to the world and you have to give so much of yourself to others but what do you give to yourself?
Try it, just like anything we do, it takes time, it takes practice, it takes self discipline to commit this time to yourself but meditation is a mastery of the mind. It is the pathway to owning your own mind and directing it in a positive way and enhance your life.
Share this post