When you think of Buddhist meditation techniques for beginners, you probably think of mind exercises to reach a sense of inner peace. What most people don’t realize is that in fact Buddhist meditation is really a combination of mind and body. The mind isn’t the only one who reaps the rewards.
Meditation centers on awareness – an awareness of our bodies that is accomplished through the mind. This awareness is accomplished through various techniques to achieve enlightenment.
People achieve results for everything from stress and depression to pain reduction. Real changes can take place in metabolism and heart rates. Awareness or Mindfulness may help stimulate the brain that can have significant benefits on memory retention and relaxation.
A central tenet of body meditation is sitting. When you sit in a relaxed, attentive, aware way, you create a new person within yourself – a person filled with confidence and strength. From chaos comes order and your self-awareness creates that order.
Naturally, Buddhist meditation consists of sitting. The Buddha is depicted as sitting with a serene look on his face. This is our goal.
Did your mother always bother you to fix your posture? She was right. Posture is essential to proper sitting. What we want to achieve is relaxation and you can’t do that without being comfortable.
Sitting Buddhist Meditation Technique For Beginners
There are different variations on sitting techniques. Most postures are on the floor but if that’s not comfortable for you – it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do it! A chair can get the job done just as well.
People often wonder where to put their hands in a social setting. In Buddhist meditation, your hand settings are essential. If you are on the floor, you want to have your hands be comfortable. Placing them on your lap or on meditation pillows will be perfect. As with all postures, try both to see which feels better. Again, this will bring a simple awareness of your hands.
Your legs should either be cross-legged. Many find this difficult and it is common to sit with your knees bent and your feet facing straight behind you. Discomfort is natural in the beginning.
Sit with your head bowed slightly. You want to be alert. Closing your eyes will also work best for relaxing and focusing on your body. A hunched-over spine will not do. Your posture should make you feel both relaxed and comfortable.
Awareness begins with awareness of each part of your body. Notice each body part as you work your way up from your toes, up to your head, and back down again – picture a massage chair rolling up and down slowly stopping at each body part.
Realize the beauty of your body but also its simplicity – what it really is. Connect your body to the earth and its relationship to it. Consider life, death, bliss and suffering. Relate it back to your body.
Through concentrating on your body, you become aware of your emotions. And that is what we’re aiming to achieve – an absolute awareness of ourselves – inside and out.
How does that feel?
You’ve reached the beginning of Buddhist meditation.
If you would like guided meditations to get you started, we recommend Jack Kornfield’s classic introduction. Jack Kornfield is recognized as one of the great teachers of our time. You can learn more about his Buddhist meditation techniques for beginners by clicking here.