Meditation Guide for Beginners

This post is a meditation guide for beginners. 

First of all, I’m really glad you decided to develop a meditation habit. This practice can positively transform every area of your life. I hope my post can give you all the necessary information that you’re looking for. 

I’m going to talk about core basics of meditation, two different techniques, and lastly, benefits and pitfalls that people experience with meditation.

I’m going to say right off the bat that developing a meditation habit is quite difficult. It takes a lot of determination and discipline, but the results are 100% worth it. 

Also, keep in mind that I'm practicing mindfulness meditation so everything you're going to read here is about this specific type of practice.

Core Basics of Meditation.

What is Meditation?
Meditation is a form of direct observation of one’s mind and external circumstances. In this practice, we train our minds to be more focused, clear and equanimous.

Meditation can be used to realize certain benefits and insights. It can also be used to enter specific states of consciousness. Meditation allows us to acknowledge the content of the mind (thoughts, emotions, urges and memories) without identifying with it. It’s an objective way of seeing these things.

Posture during meditation.
Meditation should be practiced sitting down with your spine upright the whole time. Ideally, one should be sitting in full lotus posture, however, meditation can as well be practiced in simple cross-legged position. 

For absolute beginners or people who might suffer from severe back pains, meditation can be done while sitting on a chair. But it’s still important to keep the spine straight the whole time.

The position of arms depends on personal preferences. Place them as you see comfortable.

Whether you should have your eyes closed or opened depends on the specific technique you’re trying to practice.

What to Think About During Meditation.
If you take a close look at a thought, you will realize that it has a substance and a content. 

The substance of a thought can manifest either visually as an image or audibly as a sound. These perceptions are no different than any sound or an image you experience from “the outside world”. 

The content of the thought is just an abstract idea with no reflection in physical reality. It's just a belief that we think is true.

During meditation, all of thougts should be seen as neutral. There are no negative nor positive thoughts, only raw physical and mental experiences.

With this approach, it becomes irrelevant what you think about during meditation, as long as you're able to objectively perceive your thoughts. 

You have to be aware of the substance and not buy into the story.

How Long Should You Meditate For?
The duration of meditation is a matter of personal preferences. Some people like to meditate for 30 minutes a day, and some like to meditate for hours. 

In the beginning, it’s good to shoot for at least 15 minutes a day. As you get more experience you should be trying to meditate for longer periods of time. 

However, the duration of a session isn’t as important as practicing meditation on a daily basis. It’s much better to meditate for 10 minutes every day than for 1 hour twice a week. 

Don't forget that you can join our Meditation & Mindfulness Facebook Community.

Important Things to Keep in Mind Regarding Meditation.

Acceptance. During meditation, everything is alright. Don't try to resist anything. Don't fight sticky thoughts, don't get mad at yourself for failing. Accept everything and allow it to happen.

Not every meditation session will be good. The truth is that most meditation sessions will be difficult and anxious. Don't buy into the idea that if you're not blissing out like a Yogi, you're failing to meditate correctly. 

You can only fail by giving up to try again, not by stepping off course a little. As long as you try to meditate, you're doing just fine. If you can persevere and sit through all these hardships, eventually, you will be rewarded with great benefits.

Don't try to reach some kind of state or goal during one session. Meditation practice is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't focus on entering a flow state during your sessions, instead, focus on the objective of meditation itself. 

If you will be going after some kind of goal, you will fail. 

In the long run, yes, you should have some goal that you're going towards, just don't get frustrated and beat yourself up over not being able to reach it as fast as you want to.

Bring your insights and wisdom into your daily life. Remember that you're not meditating to be calm and focused only during meditation but also throughout the rest of the day. You have to take what you learn during seated sessions and use it to improve the quality of your life, otherwise, you're not progressing.

Everything passes. If there is some obstacle that you can't seem to overcome, don't get discouraged and accept it. It certainly won't help to resist or fight it. 

Most of the times, these problems are just ideas and stories in our heads. They can be overcome by seeing their true substance. Next time it occurs, pay really close attention to it. See the internal talk and images, see the bodily sensations and recognize that your problem is just a collection of perceptions connected to a certain mental idea. 

The perceptions are no different than any other ones, and the story can be let go of easily. Don't give in and sit through it.

Meditation Techniques.

Breath Concentration: During this practice, you sit down in a meditative-like posture and you bring yourself to the present moment by focusing on the physical sensations of breathing. 

This technique is quite simple, but, it can be used to develop a very focused and calm state of mind. 

Breath Concentration is often recommended to absolute beginners since it doesn’t require any experience and it can bring great results later down the road. 

Breath Concentration is perfectly suited for daily practice. If you’re looking for a technique that will reduce stress, emotional pain and strengthen your mind, this is the technique for you.

You start the technique by sitting down cross-legged, then you focus your attention on the physical sensations of breathing. As you breathe, pick one specific sensation such as the feeling of air going through your nose, and count up to 10 of these. Once you hit 10, reset and start again from 0. Keep your attention on this specific sensation all the time. As soon as you notice that your mind wandered off, bring it back to the breath.

Vipassana/Insight Meditation: In this practice, you observe an entire field of experience in order to gain insight into its true nature. The goal in this practice is to see things for what they really are. Through the practice of Vipassana, you can reach profound realization and free yourself from suffering entirely.

There are three elements to this practice. Concentration, sensory clarity, and equanimity. All three must be present in order for the meditation to be successful. 

Concentration is your ability to attend to the objective of meditation. Every time your mind wanders off, you use your concentration skill to bring it back and keep it there. 

The second element is sensory clarity. Sensory clarity means being clearly aware of how the objective of meditation manifests itself in your present experience. 

The last element is equanimity. Equanimity is a skill of being completely non-reactive, non-attached and non-judgmental of any phenomena that arise during meditation, be it physical, mental or external. Equanimity is your inner composure. A skill of radical acceptance of the present moment.

Benefits of Meditation.

1. Attaining emotional mastery.
2. Deeper understanding of the self.
3. Deeper understanding of reality.
4. Improvement of physical health of your brain.
5. Huge boost to willpower.
6. Attaining peace of mind and clarity
7. Improvement of focus and efficiency.
8. The cure to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
9. The best source of eudaimonic happiness.
10. Helps with dropping harmful habits.
11. Spiritual enlightenment and insights.
12. Equanimity.
13. Concentration.
14. Less worry, stress and negativity.
15. Self-control.

Common Issues and Pitfalls of Meditation.

Meditation is emotionally difficult. At first, you will struggle a lot. Your mind will not want to sit still and focus. It will rebel against you, it will play tricks on you, it will do anything to get up and start doing something again. You will have to go through this process of fighting your mind in the beginning, but, with time things will get much easier. 

Don’t get discouraged and quit because it’s hard. You have to struggle a little right now so that you can have an easier life later on.

People think that meditation is about being calm all the time. This one is big. A lot of people think that they are supposed to feel calm and peaceful the whole time, and if that’s not the case then they’re doing something wrong. 

Regardless of how you feel during meditation, you are doing it right. Meditation is about the quiet parts and the noisy parts, it’s being laser-focused and completely distracted. There is nothing wrong about getting off track briefly, as long as you try to center yourself constantly.

Not meditating consistently. Meditation has to be done on a daily basis. There is no other way around it, you have to meditate every day.

Taking your thoughts and emotions too seriously. Meditation is a time when you let go of control and worry. Stop taking your thoughts so seriously. They are just perceptions trying to trick you into believing their stories. 

Don’t be too concern with the thoughts and emotions that occur during meditation, they are natural and you have to accept them. Don’t be judgemental of yourself for thinking about something because it’s going to happen anyways.

Thinking that meditation is a waste of time. Meditation is a training for your brain and mind. It makes it strong, peaceful and clear. It’s going to support you in anything that you’re doing. It’s really like a skill above all skills. 

With powerful mind you will be able to learn other abilities much easier, you will work more efficiently, you will be happy and fulfilled no matter what. I don’t think working for such results is a waste of time considering that everything you’re doing, you’re doing it for the sake of being happy. The only difference is that meditation is a direct way to do it.

Thinking that meditation is not for me. Everyone is capable of meditation, it’s not some special talent. With right determination, you can be as good as Zen Masters or Yogis.

Not accepting thoughts. A lot of people make a mistake of resisting thoughts and being judgemental of them. You have to accept that you cannot control your thoughts at all, so resisting them is just getting in your way.

Trying to meditate when you're tired or sleepy. Meditation should be practiced at your mental clarity peak. It's a different time for everyone, however, try to avoid meditating right after bed or right before it.

Not being acceptive while meditating. During meditation, it's your job to accept the present moment, as it is. If you have a headache - accept that, if you have some problems at work - accept that, if you fail to meditate properly - accept that, if you're anxious and scared - accept that. Allow everything to be as it, don't resist it.

Trying to reach some state during meditation. You're practicing meditation to improve your focus, equanimity, and clarity. With the development of these traits, other things will come such as flow states or enlightenment experiences. 

You should never think "today I'm going to reach this peaceful state" or "this session I will try to reach enlightenment". Meditate just for the sake of meditation, let go of any expectations or goals. 

With practice and time, these cool things will come to you, don't worry about them during your sessions.

Now that you know how to meditate properly, go to the second part of this guide and learn how to start off a meditation habit on the right foot.

A Call to Action!

If you want to get the most out of meditation, I highly encourage you to get on board and stay with me for the long run.

I release new meditation-related content every week. If you don't want to miss anything, join our  Facebook Community.

It's a place where you can talk to others meditators, ask for advice and get the motivation to stay on track.  

If you enjoyed the post, please, share it with your friends. It means a lot to me. Thank you!
Meditation Guide for Beginners Meditation Guide for Beginners Reviewed by Kamil Olszak on 4:27 AM Rating: 5

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