If you Google the word ‘Meditation’, you will find thousands of results. You will find the basic idea of what meditation is if you click on any one of those results. You might also find the benefits of meditation and a step-by-step guide on how to meditate.
Meditation, at first, can be a bit confusing because there is a lot of information about it on the Internet. I used to get very confused when I began my meditation journey. I didn’t know how exactly I was supposed to meditate.
Meditation is Not as Hard as You Think
When we hear the word Meditation, we usually have a mental picture of a monk sitting still with his eyes closed, or we might think of the Buddha. You clearly do not have to be a monk or the Buddha to meditate. It is not as intense and difficult as it is portrayed in our imagination.
Sure, there are different types of meditation. The monks probably meditate with more focus and intensity than us. But the technique is the same. After all, it is meditation. You obviously don’t have to develop a monk-like skill. If you can, excellent!
Before you start meditating, you must understand that you are not going to become a super-intelligent or super-powerful human being. Meditation will help you develop focus, awareness, and bring inner peace. Also, don’t expect overnight results. It does not work like that. It takes a lot of practice and commitment to get the most out of meditation.
How to Meditate?
This is the most frequently asked question in every beginner’s mind. How do I meditate? What are the exact steps to meditate? Should I hold my thoughts during meditation? How long should I meditate? Should I listen to a guided meditation?
As I said, there are different types of meditation. But you don’t need to know about all of them. You just need one to start and practice one technique for days, weeks, and months. As you go on, you can gradually follow other techniques once you are consistent with your meditation.
Before I talk about the exact steps to follow, I just want to say that I am not an expert on meditation. But, I have been meditating consistently for about 4 years now. I have learned several techniques of meditation and I have also taken a 10-day Vipassana Meditation course. I will be sharing some of my experiences as well.
Breathing is the way to go. All you have to do is breathe. Find a quiet and comfortable place where you will not be disturbed for at least 20 minutes. Sit in a comfortable position. You can sit on a chair or on the floor. Do not rest your back. Keep your back straight. Close your eyes and start breathing. Focus on every breath of air that goes in and comes out of your nose. Keep that focus intact as much as possible.
This is the most basic meditation that anyone can do. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is simple indeed. But, there are some things you need to know before you begin this process.
There will be somethings that will be on their way to distract you from your focus – your THOUGHTS. Your thoughts will appear on the mind when you are trying to focus on your breath. Here’s a tip – don’t try to fight back your thoughts. Let them come in. All you need to do when a thought comes in is to try to get your focus back on the breath. Then, another thought is going to appear. Get your focus back on the breath. The more you practice this and keep the focus on your breath, the better you become at meditation. The most common myth is that you should not think about anything when meditating. That is not possible. Just sit back, focus on the breath, let go of stress, and let your thoughts come in. Try to observe everything that happens to your body.
People usually get confused when random thoughts appear in their mind during meditation. They are not sure whether to focus on the breath or fight back the thoughts.
How Long to Meditate?
There is no standard rule regarding how long one should meditate. If you are a complete beginner, I recommend you to start with 20 minutes a day – 10 minutes in the morning after you wake up and 10 minutes at night before bed. Longer duration usually requires more experience and practice. You can slowly increase your time to 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and so on once you are consistent with your meditation. You can use a timer on your phone to time your meditation. If you are having a really difficult time making it a habit, then you can follow the 2-minute rule.
Benefits of Meditation
What are the benefits of meditation? The benefits of mediation do not show up overnight. It’s not like you take a pill and your headache vanishes instantly. In order to truly benefit from meditation, you have to be consistent and practice it daily. The benefit of meditation is directly related to how consistent you are.
After a few weeks of practice, you will start noticing the benefits of meditation. You will become mindful – you will be aware of things around you when you are talking to a group of people or sitting in a class lecture. You will be more focused on whatever you do. Meditation can help you reduce stress and fight negative emotions. Self-awareness increases. You will start noticing your body, feelings, and emotions. Your ability to think and become more creative also increases. I have had so many creative ideas during or after my meditation. Meditation is also good for your health – it can boost your immune system and help you fight back diseases such as high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, headaches, and sleep problems.
Watch this video by Mitch Manly on the benefits of meditation.
I think the basic questions about meditation have been answered now. All you need to do is start meditating. If you still have some doubts, please comment on this post so that I can help you. Below is a video by Improvement Pill on how to meditate. You can watch it to get more clarity on meditation. I also recommended you to read books related to meditation. You can start with Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (this is one of my all-time favorite books). You can also try out mobile apps like Headspace, Calm, and Sattva.