Though meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, it has grown popular in the modern world with many beneficial research.
Many doctors and therapists prescribed meditation for their patients. It helps to lessen stress, diseases, and crime rates while increasing calmness, productivity, and health.
Anyone can meditate if they take the time to practice.
This is a beginning guide on how to start meditating. Advanced practitioners can also revisit the basics here.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is powerful and a well-established technique.
As an analogy, meditation is a lot like sleeping. But you are not really sleeping.
When you sleep, your brainwave enters the deepest level of our sleeping state – delta state.
Meditation occurs when our brainwaves frequency changes from our waking state to the delta state, usually between theta and delta state consciousness.
When you are in a different state of consciousness, you receive a different kind of awareness and benefits that you don’t normally get when wide awake.
Meditation is entering the deeper levels of consciousness consciously.
In other words, meditation is sleeping while being awake.
How Meditation Works
Every person carry a thought whether they know it or not.
The average person have over 60,000 thoughts per day. You may recognize this when you are self-reflecting. Thousands of thoughts rummage through your mind nonstop. We call this the “monkey chattering”.
By consciously entering the theta or delta state, you practice taking control of your unconscious thoughts. As a result, you get to control your own mind.
To do that, we discipline the mind to stop the monkey chattering and learn to use the mind constructively.
You are putting your mind and body in a focused way that will naturally make you healthier and stronger.
What can meditation do for you?
Here are some of the things meditation can do:
- Improve focus and high intelligence
- Raise your energy and productivity
- Increase compassion and kindness
- Reduce stress and illness
- Lower blood pressure, heart rate and respiration
There have been over 1500 studies on meditation since 1930. It has also been documented that the practice of meditating can help make you physiologically younger by 12 – 15 years.
From mental clarity to physical health to spiritual awareness, learning how to meditate effectively gives you the doorway to taking control of your life.
How to Start Meditating
There are thousands of ancient to modern techniques for meditation, each working on specific instruction for certain results. However, you may benefit with regular meditation just the same. The practice here is safe and does not harm you in anyway.
Step 1: Preparation
Get into a comfortable position in a comfortable place – the more tranquil the better. Make sure the environment is satisfactory for peace and comfort. Let no one disturb you for the duration of your meditation.
You do not have to sit in a lotus style posture. Sitting in a chair or laying down is good. If you are sitting down on a chair, make sure your feet touch the floor and you are fully seated.
A half-lotus posture is easier for beginner than a full lotus. One is not better than the other in any way.
Whatever you choose, always have your spine straight and erect. A straight spine is a healthy spine.
Often, a straighten spine is not absolutely straight! There are a few curves on the spine: at the lumbar region (lower back), at the thoracic region (middle back), and at the cervical spine (neck).
Due to modern sitting habits like office demands or sitting at a computer, our spine gets overextended. When you start meditating, you may find it hard to realign your spine to its original position.
Imagine a string attached from the crown of your head. As you pull the string up into the air, you notice that your spine naturally straighten. If this doesn’t work, you can also try imagining yourself a tree or mountain. Be still like a tree.
Once your environment is settled and your body is comfortable, you can close your eyes.
Step 2: Relax your Body
Relax all your physical tensions. There is nothing to do and nothing to worry about. You are safe and comfortable.
If you have any tensions physically, you are not relaxed.
Many people who start out meditating grow frustrated because they are not relaxed.
It takes time for you to learn how to relax your body. So take it as a learning process.
One of the ways to relax yourself is to breathe deeply. When breathing deeply, pay attention to your breath. Naturally inhale through the nose and exhale out the nose. We breathe through the nose because the follicles inside the nose filter out diseases and harmful particles while the mouth takes it all in.
Step 3: Stay in Stillness
Once your body is relaxed, the purpose of meditation is to still the mind.
There may still be thousands of thoughts in your mind. That’s okay.
Continue to focus on your breath. Pay no attention to any thoughts which may arise.
Remember that these thoughts are not your own. It will go away when you don’t feed them attention.
If you lose focus, return to your center of attention.
Meditation is like working out: the more you do it the stronger it becomes.
Here are other quick tips to enhance your effectiveness.
- Start small sessions
- Don’t worry about doing it right
- Surrender all expectations.
Meditation does not replace working on yourself but is part of becoming yourself.
As long as you are relaxed, you can start meditating effectively.