Meditation is an approach to training the mind, just like you may use fitness to train the body. With the fast pace and the demands of modern life, most people are left feeling stressed and over-worked. Feeling this way, we are also left feeling tired, unhappy, impatient, and frustrated, which all affect our overall health.
Meditation has helped me to become more peaceful, focused, less worried about discomfort, more appreciative and attentive to everything around me, and while far from perfect, it has helped me come a long way.
I use to say that I had no time to stop and meditate; however, I have found that meditation actually gave me more time by making my mind calmer and more focused. Probably most importantly, it has helped me understand my own mind.
It’s awfully difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and “think of nothing,” or have an “empty mind.” Therefore, I don’t recommend trying, I’m not saying it’s easy, but you can start small and get better as you practice — that’s why it’s called “practice”!
While there are many meditation techniques, these tips aren’t meant to help you to become an expert; however, they should help you get started. The easiest way I found was to begin meditating by focusing on the breath.
Choose a quiet place
Choose a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. Don’t get caught up in the how. Many people worry about where to sit, how to sit, what cushion to use, but it’s not that important to when you are just getting started.
You can choose to sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable for you. You could even sit in a chair, if needed. The essential thing is to keep your back straight; this prevents your mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.
For most people, beginning meditation for 3-5 minutes can feel like a life time, so when you first start meditating, try 3 minutes first.
Sit with your eyes partly closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, if possible through the nostrils, without controlling your breath. Now, try to become more aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.
It is this sensation that is the object of this form of meditation. Try to concentrate on it and nothing else.
The first few times
For the first few times, your mind will seem very busy, to the point that it might even feel like meditation is making your mind busier. This is a good thing, as it means you are becoming more aware of how busy your mind actually is.
You will be tempted to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but resist this and remain focused on the sensation of your breath.
If you discover that your mind has wandered and is following your thoughts, you should immediately return it to your breathing. Repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind settles on your breathing.
If you practice this, the distracting thoughts will subside, and you will begin to experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Your mind will become more lucid and spacious, and you will feel refreshed.
The more you practice, the longer you should be able to stay in this state of mental calm. Even though this is just to help you to start meditation, you will discover just how powerful meditation is.
By practicing, you will experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling your mind. Many of your usual problems will just fall away, difficult situations will become easier to deal with, you will naturally feel warm and well disposed toward other people, and your relationships with others will gradually improve.