Many of us wish to meditate but are not sure how to start meditation? Even if you do start you are not sure if you are doing it right. You worry that your mind is wandering too much, or that you are falling asleep. You aren’t sure what time to do it and how to do it. There are a million doubts in our mind and most of the time nobody to help with a solution or if someone comes along they make it sound so complex, even before you start you are sure it isn’t meant for you.
I understand it isn’t really so easy for a beginner to take the first step to start meditating. Even this simplest of practice seems like a big deal. I have my friends tell me all the time that the moment they close their eyes there seems to be a bombardment of thoughts. I find it so hard to get into silence.
Who is meditation for?
To start with one wonders should I really be meditating? I mean we wonder, all is good in my life and what big change really can closing my eyes and sitting doing nothing bring.
But the truth is that given the stress in the present time meditation is a necessity for just about everyone, even for a small child. In fact children really must be taught to sit with their eyes closed for a few minutes each day. Especially with the pandemic, kids being home all day long, the way this spread is happening and how it stresses us out.
But of course one needs to start with oneself. Whether you are working or a student meditation is a must include in your life. If your excuse is that I don’t have time you must know that perhaps you need to meditate even more to be able to handle all that work efficiently. Meditation improves your effectiveness at whatever you are doing.
Benefits of meditation:
- Helps release unwanted stress and makes you peaceful
- Helps reduce anxiety. Reduction in stress automatically leads to reduction in anxiety. Also since mediation makes you more mindful you tend to live the present moment and thus anxiety is reduced. Anxiety is majorly being caused due to living in the past and future.
- Makes up for lack of sleep and also helps you sleep better.
- Makes you more mindful. Helps you live in the present moment.
- Energizes you. Bringing the mind to a rest also gives a deep rest to the body and thus having a meditation practice at the beginning of day will keep you energized all day.
- Emotional balance. Helps respond better in emotionally challenging situations. Reduces anger. I feel meditation is especially needed for new moms and parents in general to better address the needs of their child.
- Since it works on emotions, it also helps fight depression and feeling of loneliness.
- Helps develop the virtues of compassion and empathy. Being balanced yourself you see the world around you without being judgmental.
- Medically meditation has been proven to help with blood pressure and heart rate. There has been lot of research to prove this.
- Meditation helps improve memory and retention power. Also improves attention span and self awareness. Hence especially important for students and young children.
This is not an exhaustive list of benefits of meditation. The benefits go much deeper. But yes these are enough reasons for you to start meditating.
How to start meditation
To begin with one needs to understand that mediation does not mean that you need to do something, rather meditation is to not do anything. So meditation is supposed to be very passive. And by not doing anything it also means not trying to control the thoughts or stop them. All that you need to do is sit and be! Below I have listed some very simple ways to start meditation.
- If you are just starting meditating and you find it very difficult to even keep your eyes close and every minute seems heavy, you can perhaps start with a guided meditation. You can also make use of an eye pad and ear plugs in case you are someone easily distracted. A guided meditation is always easier than a meditation where you are totally on your own. But in the true sense of it guided meditation is occupying a part of your brain. You are listening! So the goal of not doing anything is not completely established. It is relaxing nevertheless.
- Another thing that worked for me was to have an alarm on and then sit with my eyes closed. That way I am not constantly thinking about time, for the alarm would sound when the time is up. Start with ten minutes. Five in my opinion is way too less but if you are very anxious maybe you can start with five. Gradually bring it up to 20 minutes and if possible twice a day.
- Sit comfortably. Many meditations are also done lying down. Like the Osho meditations you lie down and meditate but that is a choice given. In my opinion it is best to sit and meditate.
- Be comfortable. Keep your back as straight as you comfortably can.
- Transcendental meditation and also art of living meditation course gives you a mantra to chant while meditating. In a beautiful book Bliss more by Light Watkins, the author a TM teacher gives a universal mantra (referred to as the settling sound). But no worries if you don’t have access to any of these.
- Meditating on the breath is also a very easy way to meditate. Vipasana meditation basically needs you to follow the breath. The following is an easy to follow Vipasana meditation Video. You can initially use the video to guide you and after a few days just set a timer and meditate on your own.
How to start Meditation – The doubts of a beginner:
My mind doesn’t stop wandering:
It is alright! The nature of mind is to wander. If you are doing a guided mediation bring yourself back to the voice guiding you. If you are following the breath or a mantra come back to breath or mantra as soon as the awareness dawns that you wandered away. We are in a passive state and we must accept all thoughts. in fact the more you fight your thoughts the more they will trouble you.
Don’t fight the thoughts, let them come, acknowledge and drop and move on
I fall asleep while meditating:
It is alright to fall asleep. It means that perhaps you are not rested well and the body is making up for it. At the end of the session if you feel tired or sleepy you may go and take a nap. The purpose of meditation is to relax.
I don’t see any results
No magic is going to happen overnight. Its not that meditating a few hours a week will turn you into a saint. But do believe that things are happening. Meditation does its work at different levels. You will see a gradual change come in you, in your response to things around you. Sometimes it may so happen that you fail to notice it but someone else points it out. Could be the change in your nature or the glow on your skin or the sparkle in your eye. Have faith and continue your practice.
What is a good time to meditate?
You must meditate when you can. Ideally it is best done early in the morning. The early morning peace and quite is so awesome to take you in a meditative state. All you need to do is wake up 20 minutes before and use those 20 minutes to meditate.
But if you are not a morning person or if your mornings are occupied with things and waking 20 mins early is impossible, do it when you can.
You may even do it just before sleeping, but for some people it may disturb the sleep. So ideally do it by afternoon or early evening. Though some people also claim that meditating last thing in the day just before they sleep helps with a deeper and a more relaxed sleep.
I have also found that meditating right after my workout session is very relaxing. in fact if i would have the choice I would like to always follow my workout with a meditation. The logic, which I learned in my meditation at Oshodhara, is that once your body is relaxed you are easily able to let go and relax the mind. Otherwise the body would keep taking your attention towards it say an itch that troubles you or restlessness.
Each one of us is different and you will have to do some trials before you come to a conclusion what you like best. And this too won’t happen too soon. For example once I used to love the guided meditations but now I prefer to go within instead of following a voice.
As you practice, your experience changes. You do have moments of bliss in your meditation but not always and not all the time. Sometimes you won’t know how the time flew by and other days it won’t be so easy to sit through for even 15 minutes. I have been meditating for over 10 years now and even now some days it seems
For a beginner or even if you have been practicing for a while, I once again really recommend the book Bliss More by Light Watkins. He really helps dissolve a lot of doubts regarding expectations from and requirements for meditating.
I have tried to cover most everything that could help you start meditation. In case you still have any doubts please feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you may leave a comment below and I shall definitely reply. I would love to hear from you and how this could help you finally start mediation.
Do also check out this video that I made to share tips and clear doubts from meditation. I am trying to motivate maximum number of people to start meditating. It has immensely benefitted me and this is my effort to share and inspire others. How to start meditation is the challenge, once you get started on the journey and start reaping benefits you would automatically want to stay on.
I also love to use affirmations with my meditation. I feel post meditation we are very receptive. The messages by the sub conscious are received very well. Do read this post I wrote to know more about how and why to use affirmations.