Meditation Tips for Beginners

By | January 12, 2017

There are different types of meditation, but most of them have the same goal: To calm and quiet the mind, to center and ground us, to help us be more open to our intuition (Higher Self), and more connected to Spirit/God/Goddess.

There are plenty of great sites on the Web that go into a lot more detail about meditation than I will bother with here. My goal for this page is to simply share some techniques and tips for meditation, and help you to get on your way to a calmer, more peaceful existence.

I am a strong believer in keeping things simple. Meditation, for many, seems so complex and daunting that they don’t know where to start.

I always say, “Just close your eyes – there, you’ve started.” 🙂

Another issue many people have when beginning to meditate is that incessant “mind chatter”.

There is nothing more aggravating than sitting there trying to quiet the mind and millions of thoughts keep popping in, “Oh, I forgot to change the cat litter, I’d better do that… What should I make for dinner tonight? I can’t forget to bring the car in for an oil change… Is that the water heater I hear pinging? Maybe I should call the repairman to come check it out… Okay, am I done meditating yet or what?”

Then you open your eyes to peek at the clock, and see that only two minutes have passed. How on earth do people do this for 20 or 30 minutes at a time?

First, start small. Don’t try to force yourself to sit rigidly for extended periods of time if that feels uncomfortable to you. Start out with 5-minute increments, and then slowly increase the time as you grow more comfortable with it.

You can also split up the time into several increments during the day. For example, meditate for 5 minutes in the morning, again at noon, and again before bedtime.

Finding a quiet, peaceful place to meditate is a challenge all in itself for most of us. Noise and activity tend to be prevalent in our busy lives. Do the best you can, even if you have to use the garage, basement, bathroom, backyard shed, etc. The point is to choose a low-traffic area, where outside noises will be somewhat muffled.

Once you have your spot chosen, you are ready to begin. You can sit on pillows on the floor, or use a straight-backed chair, or even a cushy sofa. The most important thing is to be comfortable – though not too comfortable. You want to stay awake for this. 😉

You can bring in some calming items to help you along if you wish, such as religious statues, soft music, prayer beads/rosary, candles, incense – whatever will help create a soothing atmosphere for you. (Just make sure you don’t fall asleep with candles lit)

Begin by closing your eyes and taking a few slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose, feeling your abdomen expand, then your chest. When your lungs are full, pause for 2 seconds, and then begin to slowly exhale through your mouth until your lungs are deflated again.

Do this several times, and at the same time, notice the tension in various parts of your body: shoulders, neck, back, face, abdomen, arms & legs. As you breathe, imagine this tension leaving you, and feel all your muscles relax.

Visualize brilliant white light surrounding you completely, and infusing your entire body and soul. Feel this soft light tingling against your skin, warming you and making you feel completely at ease. Know that you are protected, safe, and loved.

Now that you are relaxed, there are several options open to you. Here are the different types of meditations I practice. Some of them are solely for quieting the mind, and others are for mind discipline. Choose the ones that feel right to you, and give them a try.

Thought resistance:

Remember all those thoughts I mentioned before, the ones that keep sneaking in while you’re trying to quiet your mind? The object of this meditation is to gently keep pushing those thoughts back out, while staying calm and centered.

With your eyes closed, focus on the blackness behind your eyes. Keep your mind empty of thoughts. Just focus on “Being”. As thoughts come popping in (and they will!), gently push them back out again.

Refuse to get caught up in the cat litter, the car, or anything else that may intrude in your mind. If you catch yourself latching on to any of these thoughts and “thinking”, simply release the thought and come back to your centered place.

A good thing to tell yourself every time you push a thought away is, “I will think about that later.” Then just resume your focused attention on “nothing”.

Don’t get discouraged! At the beginning you will have many, many, many thoughts popping into your mind. Just keep being firm in pushing them back out. Over time you will get very good at just “Being”, and after a meditation of this type, you will feel so refreshed! You will swear you just had a 30 minute nap.

Thought detachment:

Similar to thought resistance, thought detachment means that instead of pushing the thoughts out of your mind, you just let them be. Let them float by, without latching on to any of them. That’s the key. Just sit quietly, observing the thoughts that pass by, but again, not latching on to any of them and beginning to “think”! Just observe.

It’s harder than it sounds. 🙂 But again, practice will help a lot.

Focus and Concentration:

Rather than focusing on the blackness behind your eyes, visualize an object against that black backdrop. It can be anything, as long as it isn’t upsetting to you. It should be something simple like a tree, an apple, a car, the face of a loved one or pet, etc.

See as much detail in this image as possible, and hold it right there in your mind. As thoughts try to intrude and the image fades, release the thoughts and bring the image back again, in full clarity. Hold this image in mind for the allotted meditation time.

Over time, this will help build mental focus and concentration, and will help strengthen your mind discipline.

Breath Meditation:

This is a fairly simple, yet difficult meditation. It consists of focusing on the breath, and that’s it. Breathe slowly and deeply, inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth, and focus your attention on the sound of the air moving into and out of your lungs.

As thoughts come in, release them and return your focus to your breath. It can be hard for beginners to master this, but with practice, you will find the deepest calm you’ve ever experienced!

Sacred Space:

This is more a visualization than a meditation, but it can also be incredibly calming and refreshing, so I include it here.

You are going to create a sacred space for yourself. Not in your house or yard, but in your soul. This will be a place that is always accessible to you, no matter how stressful things in your life become.

Begin by doing some deep, slow breathing. Once you are relaxed, visualize a peaceful place. It can be a sunny meadow, a deep, shadowed forest, a mountaintop, an ocean beach, a stream, beautiful gardens – anywhere that you feel calm and peaceful.

This can be a “real” place you’ve been to in life, or it can be completely made up. Take a few minutes to see the details of this sacred space. Are there flowers, trees, or maybe some trickling water? Is it sunny, or raining? Are there flat rocks, or perhaps benches to sit on? Are there other people or animals there, or are you by yourself? Is it silent, or is music softly playing in the distance?

Incorporate anything you want into your sacred space, even if it wouldn’t make much sense in the “real world”. Don’t be afraid to put stone benches on an ocean beach, or a beautiful garden in the middle of a dense forest. This is your place, and you can decorate it any way you wish. 🙂

Once you have your Sacred Space created, you can go there frequently to calm your spirit and recharge your batteries. Spend as much time as you want there. Don’t be surprised if sometimes others show up there too.

Even though this place is “imaginary”, it really isn’t imaginary. This is a real place you have created in the spirit realm. Your spirit guides may choose to introduce themselves to you there. Or a deceased loved one may stop in to visit.

Don’t doubt these experiences, embrace them! Always trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, remove it. Remember that you are the master of your domain, this is your Sacred Space, and you have the right to remove anything that makes you feel nervous or uncomfortable.

After you come out of your meditation, you may feel spacey and lightheaded.

Take your time in coming back to the physical world. Place your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.

Take a few deep, slow breaths, and look around the room. Eat a little snack to ground yourself, and drink some water. All of these activities will help you transition back to the physical, and you should feel much more calm and centered.

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