Beginner Meditation Instructions
One of the best things about mindfulness meditation is that it is incredibly easy to learn. It is an extremely simple process that anyone (and I mean anyone) can do. The first and most important instruction is to remember that…..
You don’t have to stop your thoughts:
You don’t have to stop your thoughts!
Yes! That’s right. It is absolutely fine for your mind to be going haywire, thinking, planning, dreaming, agonising whilst you are meditating. Of course it is nice if our mind does quieten down for a bit and if it doesn’t it really is no problem.
Having a busy mind does not mean you are not meditating. It just means you have a busy mind. Welcome to your head! Mine is like that often as is most human beings. It’s just normally when we are distracted by our environment so we don’t notice it.
Many people think they can’t meditate simply because they think meditating means stopping their thoughts. It doesn’t. I have been meditating for over 10 years and I have never had a teacher EVER define meditation as stopping one’s thoughts. What’s more I don’t know anyone who ever has had a meditation session without any thoughts (teachers included). Having thoughts does not in any way prevent meditation taking place or lessen the benefits of meditation.
Right, having got that out of the way. Here are the simple meditation instructions!
How to meditate:
1. Find a place in your house where you will be undisturbed for at least 20 minutes
2. In that room find a chair or sit on a meditation stool or cushion if you have one.
A chair is just as effective and good as sitting on the floor. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise. Meditation is meditation and it really doesn’t matter whether you are sitting, standing or flying an aeroplane. Simply choose whatever is most comfortable for you.
3. Adopt a posture that is comfortable, easy with your back erect.
4. Close your eyes or soften your gaze with your eyes open.
5. Draw your attention to feel your physical body. Focus your attention on the physical sensation of sitting. It can be particularly useful to focus on an area of your body where there is pressure (such as your feet on the ground or your bottom on the chair/cushion)
6. Notice what happens. Notice the physical sensations of sitting. Notice if you feel relaxed, uptight, tense, open, warm, hot etc. Notice how the sensations may change and what the new sensations feel like.
7. After a period of time, move your attention to focus on your breath. Notice the sensation of breathing in and breathing out. Follow the process of breathing with your attention. Follow each in breath and each out breath. This is your ‘meditation object’. Your meditation object is the point that you return to with your awareness. The point that you intend to focus on.
If you find it difficult to focus on your breath, simply widen your awareness to feel the physical sensations of the body again and use that as your mediation object
7. If you want something to do with your mind, you might want to start softly counting with each in breath and outbreath. So count from 1 to 9 and then from 9 to 1 with each breath
8. If you start to get distracted – you start planning, worrying, remembering things that have happened, just notice this and bring your attention back to your body or your breathing. Return to your meditation object.
9. Rinse and repeat! Carry on being aware, noticing what is happening and returning to either your physical body or your breath if you get distracted.
10. Finally notice, notice, notice! Notice how you feel, how your body feels. When you get distracted notice that. When you are undistracted notice that. If you get frustrated notice that! If you are finding it difficult…notice that. If you are finding it easy…notice that!
Meditation is an awareness practice. Your job is to simply be aware, to notice what is going on in your body, in your mind, in your state. That is all.
How long to sit for:
I recommend sitting for a period of at least 20 minutes.
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