How to Meditate: Beginner's Guide
how to mediate - for beginner’s
Most of us have never taken the time to observe the mind, to just in stillness, and just watch.
Why is it that we give our attention to physical objects all of the time in our external reality, but hardly offer awareness to what is within? Yet we identify so strongly with this object, the mind. We become slaves to it, allowing it to guide our decisions, shape our perceptions, and create our judgements. We allow our mind to control what we do, and who we are.
The mind is simply an object that allows awareness to move through. But to know awareness is to go beyond the mind; awareness is a reflection of pure consciousness, which can be cultivated through meditation.
Meditation allows you to sit in stillness and quiet the mind. That doesn't mean "stop thinking". It means watch your thoughts flow by with no judgement, need to “figure things out”, no need to solve for anything.
Just observe, and be in the space between your thoughts.
How to Meditate
Set your intention.
Before you even start meditating, think about your intention for sitting in stillness.
Is it to destress after a long day at work? It is to release any negative emotions you’ve been clinging to? Is it to allow an energizing flow of creativity and positive energy? Is it to help uncover an answer to a pressing question that is blocking you from living your truth?
Whatever your intention may be, acknowledge it, and surrender to whatever answer or realization comes to you from stillness. Let go of any expected outcome, remain open to the universal energy, and just simply be.
Find a quiet space.
While I have meditated in beautiful courtyards in Bali and sandy beaches with warm, salty air, I have also meditated on bathroom floors, closets, and other not so glam places.
Ultimately, you don’t need to be in some mystical garden or a beautifully decorated studio to meditate. You can literally meditate anywhere; the physical aesthetic of the place does not matter.
Simply find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or distracted.
Sit with your spine tall and release tension in the body.
The last thing you want to do while meditating is fall asleep. Napping is not meditation (sorry).
Meditation is about being aware and awake.
By sitting in an upright position, you have to maintain complete awareness to keep your spine neutral and stable. Sitting upright also allows energy to flow up through the seven chakras (energy centers of the inner self) that are located along the spine.
You can cross your legs in half lotus or full lotus position, or you can try kneeling (Vijrasana). Sit in whatever position that allows you to keep an upright spine and remain comfortable.
There are many “mudras”, or hand positions that you can do during meditation. The most common hand placements include...
Palms on knees facing down - Use for grounding energy
Jnana Mudra - Unifies divine and the individual. Use for redirecting energy inwards.
Dhyana Mudra - Brings deep concentration and inner peace.
Softly close your eyes and relax.
Once you’re in a comfortable position, gently close your eyes. Release any tension in your shoulders, face, and jaw. Allow space between the rows of your teeth.
Relax your body.
Take a few deep breaths.
There are tons of breathing techniques to practice during meditation, but the simplest method is by taking a few deep breaths.
Try inhaling through your nose for 3 seconds, hold your breath at the top for 2 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 4-5 seconds.
Repeat this deep breathing sequence 3-5 times.
Continue to breath at a normal pace.
At the start of meditation, it is certainly helpful to become very aware of your breath. However, through your meditation practice, you’ll want to shift your focus away from breathing to a point of observation and awareness.
After a few deep, controlled breaths, start to return to normal breathing. Don’t make an effort to control your breathing. Just allow yourself to inhale and exhale energy at a natural pace.
Draw your attention to your third eye.
Yes, you read that correctly. Your third eye.
The third eye relates to the sixth chakra of the internal body that is the center of intuition and higher consciousness. In the physical body, the third eye is related to the pineal gland which is located between your brows.
Meditation can help activate the third eye and allow you to reach a heightened state of consciousness and connection with the universe.
Under your eyelids, gently move your eyes slightly upward to focus on the center of your brows.
Envision energy radiating from your third eye and let go of any attachments or thoughts that may arise. Feel yourself becoming lighter and lighter, and just being.
Don’t worry if you can’t seem to “open” your third eye. It takes time and practice.
Become aware of your thoughts.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t about not thinking. Meditation is about raising awareness.
Know and accept that your mind will wander. And that is okay.
Thoughts will enter your mind, but understand that those thoughts are surfacing so that they can be let go. Acknowledge their existence, but do not judge or label them. Just observe and release them.
TIP: If you find yourself having a hard time releasing thoughts, try repeating a mantra. Mantras help draw attention to a certain word or phrase, help settle the mind, and can help bring awareness back to the initial intention of the practice.
Use a mantra that aligns with your intention, or one that brings you peace and stillness.
Allow answers and realizations to surface.
If your intention for meditation is to find an answer, use these thoughts that surface as guiding points for uncovering your inner truth. The answer that we often seek external validation for is already resting within us. The problem is that the answer is covered up with all of the thoughts, emotions, doubts, and beliefs that infiltrate our mind on a daily basis.
As you release rising thoughts during meditation, answers and realizations may surface. Just like your thoughts, simply acknowledge them. Don’t try to control, question, or doubt them.
Let them be.
Come back to reality...
As your meditation practice comes to a close, gently open your eyes and release your hands. Take a few more moments of stillness before getting back to “reality”. Reflect on how you feel, and any realizations that may have surfaced during your practice.
Take this sense of tranquility, heightened awareness, and appreciation with you for the rest of your day or night.
Know that you can always come back to this feeling of inner peace.