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Meditation for Beginners

Posted on by Reverend Tucker

A woman practicing meditation on a beach. If you sometimes feel as if you’re drowning in a sea of information and electronics, it might be time to consider meditation. Meditation is not only for Buddhists. It does encourage you to be more peaceful and more mindful of your surroundings. However, it can be daunting to think about clearing your head for 15 to 30 minutes when you’re getting started. So, here are some tips to help you take the plunge into meditation:

• Start with two minutes. Think of meditation like exercise. You won’t start out running a 5K, you might have to work up to that. You can add more time each week as you become more comfortable meditating.
• Don’t get caught in the specifics, just do it. If you’re comfortable sitting on the ground interacting with nature, great, but if not, just sit on your bed, your favorite chair or somewhere quiet.
• Do your meditation first thing in the morning. Or set an alarm to remind you in the evening. You have to make it a practice to meditate, or it will be like that exercise plan you started in January.
• Before you start meditating, ask yourself how you’re feeling. This way you know what you bring into the meditation session.
• To begin mediation, count your breaths. Take deep, full breaths into your nose, completely filling up your lungs.
• Don’t beat yourself up if your mind wanders. You need practice to stay on task. Just bring your mind back when you do wander and restart your breathing counts.
• Meditation isn’t about clearing your mind as much as it is about focusing on your feelings. Instead of trying to kick out your negative feelings, take a few breaths to understand why you are feeling frustrated or anxious. Meditation is designed to help you focus on positive energy, but if you don’t acknowledge the negative, you cannot deal with what’s making you feel that way.
• Make a commitment to meditation. Try it for at least a month before you give it up.
• Be mindful of what’s around you: the lights, the sound and the smells.
• Find a community of people who meditate.

Concentration meditation is a good way to begin. You focus on a single point for a few minutes. You could count your breathing, stare at a candle flame, listen to a repetitive sound or count the beads on a string. It’s about awareness and focus. You may have random thoughts pop up, but you just have to let them go to concentrate on your object. Over time, your concentration will improve.

Benefits of Meditation

Research has proven that meditation offers many short-term benefits to the nervous system:

• Lower blood pressure and improved circulation
• Less anxiety
• Better sleep
• Lower heart and respiratory rates

However, the goal of meditation should not be your health. The goal of mediation is to be present. Sharon Salzberg said, “Dedicating some time to meditation is a meaningful expression of caring for yourself that can help you move through the mire of feeling unworthy of recovery. As your mind grows quieter and more spacious, you can begin to see self-defeating thought patterns for what they are, and open up to other, more positive options.”

You don’t have to sit for hours and think of nothing to appreciate the benefits of mediation. When you’re having a cup of coffee, take some time to enjoy the layers of flavor in the cup. Don’t do anything else for a few minutes. On your walk into work, smell the air and enjoy the pleasant aromas. Meditation can help you appreciate what you have in your life and let you free up sections of your mind to have more peace.

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