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The Definitive Guide To Meditation For Beginners.

The Definitive Guide To Meditation For Beginners.

The Definitive Guide To Meditation For Beginners.

Meditation for BeginnersWhat is meditation?” is the first question I ask new students in my class. I get many answers. Sometimes people just say why they want to meditate. I know all want to meditate and enjoy meditation, as it’s the answer to a million questions and the remedy for all kinds of ill health. Similar to yoga, meditation is a journey. Just like enrolling into an MBA program, it’s extra work with effort and awareness, but yet it is rewarding and fun. People who are impatient often quit, saying it’s not for them. Being clear with your intention and having an interest in unfolding your neglected self are signs that you should take up meditation.   We are so technologically advanced today that we spend most of our time chasing numbers. We have lost our true inherited natural qualities of peace and happiness. We now take retreats to look for those qualities. We have lost all connection with our body and mind. We have let the dust of the world cover us, so much so that, even though we are made of happiness, we have started looking for happiness in plastic-stuffs made in China, in possessions with big price tags with multiple zeroes. Now spending and debt make us feel like we are dragging 100 bags up many flights of stairs. It’s hard work; we’re exhausted and unfulfilled, and we frequently lament that today is our worst day ever, life sucks, life’s a bitch, and blah blah blah.   If you are a workaholic, you know that your work means you neglect your relationships. Working is a chore and you must do it to get paid. It is so sad that we are the only species paying to live on earth! But at what expense? From the time earth started its journey, we have come far enough to notice that there are more cons than pros for our negligence of self.

Tips to learn Meditation

Here are a few tips to help you take those first steps to meditation and start having a great relationship with your mind and body.

  • “Meditation” is not just for some set time, like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love. Five minutes is too much for a beginner! Time doesn’t exist in spirituality. Firstly, assign yourself in so-called earth time just 1 minute. We have trained our minds to be a racing horse and want to go horseback riding right away. That’s hard on the horse! So make sure to start slow and be patient – it takes time to build time into your meditation practice.
  • Don’t build expectations. In that 1 minute you are either looking for thoughts or forcibly creating a thought or just counting to create a new thought. Just because one of your friends had a phenomenal meditation experience may not mean that will happen to you. It’s like expecting your new puppy to not pull on the leash and to walk elegantly beside you. Huh haaaa … not happening on the first day!
  • Start to notice what your mind creates as products all day. Every thought is an energy, like a screen on your cell phone draining your batteries. Positive thoughts increase the battery power; negative thoughts drain the battery faster. So pick a few seconds every hour or half-hour to check: What is your mind? How does it think? Practice getting to know your mind.

Many don’t want to notice their mind because they don’t know what they will find. Past traumas, negative emotional roller coasters, dead people still living in their minds, situations replayed several times a day – the mind can seem like a haunted house with so much of different kinds of clutter. Unachieved targets, broken hearts: where to begin cleaning? Your mind is like many flat screen TVs each running its own channels and programs of how someone hurt you or someone cheated you. Seems like a lot of work to bring it all out into your consciousness, right? So you again sit back on your couch and watch reality TV, get addicted to alcohol or shopping or eating or exercising, or indulge in any number of other addictions that are built around various ways to neglect your mind’s clean-up.   Here’s how to know your mind. First, check to notice your thoughts. There are four kinds of thoughts:

  1. Positive thoughts, for example: “I love myself”; “it’s an awesome day”; “nature is beautiful”
  1. Negative thoughts: “I hate my day”; “she looks ugly”; “he is snobbish”; “I am fat”
  1. Past or future thoughts which are not in the present: “I want to do this next week”; “when I go on vacation I will be happy”; “when I buy a BMW I will be happy”; “next time I see her I will say these words”; “how can she say such mean stuff to me?” and replaying that question again and again after seeing someone
  1. Wasteful thoughts: “I want to eat”; “I want to sleep”

Second, treat your mind with love and without judgment, like you would treat a toddler. As with a small child, notice its qualities. Check to see what kind of mind you have here. Changing your thoughts could be easy once you know the sequence of thoughts that you generate.   Third, take responsibility for your mind. Do not be surprised that you are capable of creating certain thoughts. All thoughts are created by you; they don’t happen by themselves. And a single negative thought doesn’t mean you should go on a guilt journey or brand yourself. Your mind is delicate. You have done enough damage depending on your experiences, so be patient with your mind.

Journey of Meditation

If you are truly serious about starting the journey to take up meditation, here’s what you need to do.

  • Handle your mind like a therapist. People take care of their cars and bodies but never take their own mind seriously. What does your mind love to eat? Are you on a steady diet of news, emotional turmoil, drama, guilt, gossip, complaining, and so on? Shut it all down! Throughout the day, check twice and truly notice what you feed your mind.
  • Keep interaction minimal. Your mind loves to binge on judgments, as when you evaluate what your friend is wearing or how she reacted over a situation. That is none of your mind’s business!
  • Your body is important, so be careful about what you eat. If your eating is unhealthy then your mind is definitely not healthy!
  • Get over your name and where you come from and how you look. Yes, we all differ in looks but inside we are all the same. Your body is like a car model. All cars are the same when you look down at them from above. They all have four wheels and similar functions. Just because a Lamborghini is expensive doesn’t mean it flies. Know and treat everyone the same, as just another body with a name and tag.
  • Know how you define yourself. Ego shows up in many ways: “I work out”; “I meditate.” Daily meditation should not be your main aim. Your goal is to know this inner child better and that’s all, not to reach Zen state. You will achieve it someday, but focus first on learning the alphabet before you start trying to create words and sentences!
  • Build on your successes. That 1 minute spent in meditation on the first day can extend to 2 minutes on the second day. One easy approach is to meditate for 1 minute every hour, or 1 minute every 5 hours. It’s like putting your mind on “time out” to check what it is doing. If you can stretch the space in between thoughts, then violà! you are meditating!

Kids are hard wired and a work of art. So is your mind. Love it and it will serve you back. Just wait and watch as you shift your state of mind and the people around you change. Vacuum all that is not required and you will be free of clutter, bondages, and past-life karma.   Om Shanti!

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Vinaya Saunders

Vinaya is an RYT-500 and passionate yogini. Her teaching is a rounded balance of guided meditation techniques, pranayama for overall emotional and physical development, and Ayurveda. Greatly inspired by Bhramakumaris raja yoga and Yogananda's kriya yoga, Vinaya uses the benefits of these teachings to encourage stability in handling life's situations and helping others find ultimate health and transformation in their lives.