Learning How To Meditate For Beginners
So you want to meditate do YOU?
Or maybe you have researched all the possible benefits meditation has to offer and you want in…
But before you start understand that you are delving into unknown territory and your experience is unique to you and you alone. No matter what others have said or what you have researched…your experience is unique to you so drop the expectations and just experience.
I could and will guide you but your experience is totally your own. Understand there will be frustrating moments, confusing at times but refrain from getting angry with the process…embrace it as the challenge it will be…
YOU have already been convinced of the worthiness of regular, consistent meditation yet you are still unsure how or where to begin.maybe?
Let me share some knowledge that will assist you in your endeavors and hopefully reduce the tension and stigma behind practicing meditation.
Brain Development During Meditation YOU Didn’t Know
Below I briefly, illustrate parts of the brain that are affected whilst meditating and I don’t do the subject matter justice. It is a subject that requires more in depth study to fully understand and appreciate the influence meditation has on the brain.
But for now please understand that during meditation the brain is slowed right down to almost a crawl giving it time to chill. Think of it this way the brain has gone in for a service and checked for faults and the process of repair has begun whilst you meditate.
The Frontal Lobe – During meditation the frontal lobe switches off, the most highly evolved section of the brain takes a break. According to healthline.com the frontal lobe “is the part of the brain that controls important cognitive skills in humans, such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors. It is, in essence, the “control panel” of our personality and our ability to communicate.”
Parietal lobe – During meditation the parietal lobe slows down, broken into two hemispheres at the back of the brain. According to study.com the parietal lobe “functions in processing sensory information regarding the location of parts of the body as well as interpreting visual information and processing language and mathematics.”
Thalamus – During meditation the flow of incoming information is reduced, a small structure just above the brainstem. According to news-medical.net the thalamus “the main function of the thalamus is to relay motor and sensory signals to the cerebral cortex.”
Reticular Formation – During meditation its effectiveness is minimized, it forms the central core of the brainstem. According to Wikipedia the reticular formation “plays a central role in states of consciousness like alertness and sleep.”
So armed with this revelation understand that by quieting the brain through meditation you are giving it the needed “rest time” to repair and better serve you…
Understanding WHY You Are Meditating in The First Place
Trust me this is crucial to your results, understanding WHY you are doing something, having full CLARITY creates the proper mindset to form the right habit from the beginning to enable you to continue when you hit a brick wall which you will many times over.
So first ask yourself why have you decided to venture down this path?
What are you looking to achieve through meditation?
Below is a diagram I have created with help from liveandare.com regarding the benefits of meditation…
Again, once you are crystal clear WHY you are meditating the HOW becomes easier to manage. It gives you a sense of purpose and a commitment to become consistent in your endeavors.
The beginning to everything is the most difficult stage of any process. It includes change, it includes doing something different for the first time and like most people we like to nail things on the first go otherwise we tend to give up on the cause very quickly thereafter even considering the ultimate benefits if you were to persist.
It’s human nature so don’t beat up on yourself you are just one of many that experience the same pattern over and over and over again but never perfect anything.
There’s no shame, just zero benefits…
So avoid the trap understand the WHY, embrace the WHY and make the WHY your motivation when the going gets tough….and it WILL!!!
Establish a Habit of Doing
The first time you meditate like anything you do for the first time you are going to struggle. There’s no avoiding it, it’s just the way it is. Because you are going to have to get your mind to re-adjust to a completely new way of thinking or doing.
So basically it’s like breaking an old habit and forming a new one.
That’s the secret, forming a new habit…”a habit” according to Wikipedia is – “a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.”
A habit according to Charles Duhigg in his powerful book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business…emerges because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. He goes on to explain what constitutes a habit, this is, The Cue; The Routine and The Reward.
Bare with me here because I’m trying to get you to think beyond your first meditation before I introduce you to the best way to approach your first ever meditation session.
Understand the first time will probably be your worst ever meditation session and because the build up has been so epic you may find yourself feeling a little confused, lost and under-whelmed about all the fuss you have heard and/or watched.
You won’t move mountains or bend that bloody spoon the first time you sit to meditate. The first time round you will be lucky to last a full couple of minutes. Especially if you are not guided through the meditation.
You can’t, I repeat you can’t get wound up and judgemental, forget judging the result and focus on the process, tweak the process, perfect the process.
Create the cue, establish a routine, build on the reward. Overtime this 3 step loop becomes automatic. The cue and reward are intertwined until a powerful sense of “anticipation” and “craving”, then a routine emerges and eventually a “habit” is born.
OK, before you actually begin your mediation let’s take a look at the things that could distract your focus and frustrate your ability to see the meditation through from start to finish.
The first time you attempt to mediate will most likely be the hardest so knowing the pitfalls beforehand can be extremely helpful.
The biggest frustration you will encounter is most likely your ability to quiet your mind. The mind chatter, the constant streaming of thoughts can overwhelm you to the point you will become so unsettled that you will refuse to relax and stay in the moment. This is natural so please don’t beat up on yourself it’s part of the process and I will give YOU some tips on how to avoid the overwhelm later.
Initially, not knowing what to expect or rather the other extreme of having high expectations from your meditation can disappoint you. You either feel you have under performed and the results didn’t quite live up to your expectations, or it was all too much effort and you never meditate again.
Please don’t be discouraged and stop judging or looking for instant gratification. We live in a world today where we are in such a hurry to get from A to B that we forget to enjoy the journey along the way. The challenges of breaking through the obstacles leading to new experiences and personal growth.
Drop the expectations, drop the pressure of performing and just do…it’s all in the doing the results will be so profound that in time you will realize them but only when you are “READY” it will be the “ah-ha” moments.
How long will this take?
As long as it needs to take…
Your first mediation may be a quick bing, bang thank you maam.
Again, don’t be discouraged turn up tomorrow and try again. Turn up everyday after that and just keep doing…it’s the best advice I or anyone who meditates can give you.
Just turn up and DO!!!
If you do last more than a few moments than the your posture will start to wain and the aches and pains begin to develop, causing you further distractions. You become fidgety losing focus and the temptation to quit there and then increases.
Feel free to accommodate the root cause of the distraction, be it an itch, a scratch, or a well needed stretch and then quietly return to your meditative state of being.
The phone or the doorbell ringing, others calling out to you, are distractions and frustrations to avoid. Choosing a time of day when such interruptions are minimized is the most ideal scenario, thus creating a habitual daily practice so choose wisely.
Distractions from your surrounding environment, disturbing noises, a stench, lack of airflow, or it’s to windy, too hot, too cold, too congested, too sterile, lack of character or vibration surrounding the environment…
These are just a few hang ups that can affect you from having a worthwhile meditation session. That can distract your thoughts or your ability to still your mind, that can wrongly convince you that this meditation thing is a load of …..
Again, please avoid the traps, avoid the distractions and reflect back on the “WHY” you are meditating.
Setting Yourself Up For A Win
It is extremely important especially the first time you attempt to meditate that you set yourself up for a win. The following will help you achieve this goal…
First of all choose the environment where you are going to meditate. Outside in the fresh air is ideal but could be full of distractions with noise, prying eyes, and unwelcome intruders. The weather could also become a hindrance but if you can find yourself a suitable location outdoors than I highly recommend it just eliminate any or all distractions.
If you choose to meditate inside ensure it’s a well lit, well ventilated location so the temptation to fall asleep is minimised. Also ensure you find a quiet, tranquil location where the likelihood of being disturbed is zero to none.
Whichever location you choose try and make it in a location conducive to producing the best desired results you are seeking. If being happy is your goal pick a bright energy packed environment you can draw on throughout your meditation. If you are looking just to relax and release some tension then seek a tranquil environment.
Thus, whatever desired outcome you are seeking from your meditation create the environment to produce the “LIKE” outcome. This is extremely important because the environment you choose is most likely where you will be doing the bulk of your meditations in the future, so choose wisely and set it up appropriately.
Once you have chosen your ideal environment dress accordingly, ensure you are dressed comfortably considering the temperature, the weather, the airflow. Dress appropriately for comfort this way you eliminate any unnecessary distractions during your meditation practice. Your choice, your style, your dress just make sure you are as comfortable as possible eliminating any chance of being distracted.
Next is what’s the most comfortable posture, are you going to sit crossed legged, sit in a chair or even lay down?
Seriously, don’t stress, whichever is the most comfortable for you. I will set you a guided meditation to follow that will help eliminate the pitfalls of whatever position you choose.
I hope you are seeing a familiar tune here…eliminating as many distractions as possible.
That’s the key to success with your first meditation…setting yourself up for a win.
The best way I know of helping you along your meditative way is to encourage you to follow a well laid out guided meditation script.
It will help you relax, eliminate the unknown and the frustration of constantly losing focus and what to do about it for the uninitiated.
Ok before we begin the meditation…yeh I know enough already let’s “just do it”. We will very shortly I just need to get through the important stuff first.
I’m going to guide you through a powerful “Centering Technique” a technique that helps you connect to the teacher within…your intuition. Basically, where all the answers you seek lays dormant for you to access, but unfortunately rarely ever connect to.
The silent teacher within trying desperately to communicate with you and to give you the needed information and insight on what’s going on in your life right now, but most of the times is muffled and drowned out by noise and the rush of day-to-day living and surviving.
We all possess the quality and skill to tap into our intuition but because of the constant distractions that surrounds us it doesn’t work as effective as it could to guide you through your most needed moments.
However, when you quieten down, become still and venture within, it becomes a very true and faithful servant.
David Ryan explains it this way…
“Its knowledge and its access to the seemingly unknown and unknowable is breathtaking”.
Ok, so let’s take this journey together and connect to our “God Given Gift”.
Follow this guided meditation script and you will eliminate the bulk of the unwanted distractions…remember to enjoy the journey!
You have found yourself a comfortable position in a place where you won’t be disturbed by anyone for a bit…let’s be ambitious and say 30 minutes…sounds good?
Just ensure as stated above the environment is quiet minus the hustle, bustle and noise with plenty of circulating airflow at a comfortable temperature.
And with your eyes closed and your attention turned inwards, allow your imagination to roam freely and unhindered for as long as you feel necessary. Do not place any limitations on yourself, don’t judge just let whatever it is flow…
Notice how still you become, feel your heartbeat throbbing through your chest. Slow your breathing down allowing your whole body just to relax.
Whenever you’re ready and take as long as you need, when you feel totally relaxed and comfortable, imagine yourself in a beautiful scenic countryside setting, where there are no cars, or planes, or buses, or anything, just peace and tranquility.
(Understand that whilst you are in this state, not only are you attempting to connect to your intuition, but your immune system is becoming stronger, your hormone levels are becoming more balanced, your blood flow is re-circulating in a manner that allows any tension and stress to slowly fade away).
When you feel, through your imagination, you are there, in the zone, at the most peaceful and tranquil place you can visualize…
Take a deep full breath in and slowly exhale out.
Now tell yourself you are going to move to the very center of your being in search of that elusive answer to the most pressing question that’s in the foremost of your mind, starting at the count of seven down to the count of one…slowly!
Only when you are ready, content, relaxed very slowly count and dwell on each number as you imagine it closely in your mind’s eye. When you eventually get to the number one, take another long deep breath and slowly exhale.
Stay in this moment of connection for as long as you need to, mind quiet, in silence, letting it wander in and out, don’t force it just let it flow.
Thank your inner mind for taking you on the journey to the center of your being, then start asking yourself silently “what is my natural ability?” over and over again slowly, as if you were saying a mantra or a prayer.
Allow in any information that flows through until the right answer filters through giving you that “ah-ha” feeling…you will know when it hits you, it will just feel right.
When you are done and satisfied tell yourself “I will now return to the land of the living, the outer world and when I open my eyes I will feel refreshed and totally alert” counting from one back to seven…slowly. On reaching the number seven open your eyes, take another long deep breath slowly in…and exhale slowly out.
This is All There is To It…
You have just completed your very first meditation session. How do you feel? Better?
A word of warning if you didn’t get an answer to your question don’t stress it will come, just keep meditating on connecting to the center of your being. Just keep doing and have faith, have belief, have trust in the process.
You will know the answer when it’s delivered because it will bring a rush of positive thoughts and feelings, you will just know it’s right for you. It may strike at any time during the course of the day or in your dreams at night.
Just don’t beat yourself up, embrace the process, embrace the moment, embrace who and what you are.
You are well on your way to understanding, to connecting, to living the life you desire and deserve…
Respectfully yours and until next time stay casual…