Meditation for beginners
Meditation, I’m pretty sure that you have heard or read it before. It claims to be relaxing, stress-relieving, makes the mind clear and alert, and other health benefits. Many people have tried it, but most of them lost and gave up the battle or just simply didn’t know where to start.
We have a prototype in our minds that when we say meditation, we imagine a person sitting in crossed legs, eyes closed, fingers connected, humming and lastly, the famous inhale, exhale. But meditation is more than that, one must have patience for meditation is not just about breathing in and out.
What is meditation anyway? Meditation has a variety of definitions, and one of the famous explanation is “meditation is like sitting down in the lap of God and being with the divine. It is that which is quiet, transcendent, lives in the stillness of our hearts” by Father Thomas Keating but of course, being religious or having a religion is not required in meditation. In technical terms by NurrieStearns, Meditation gives one’s mind something gentle to focus on, so it has an anchor to hold onto. Anchors include saying a mantra (syllables, a word or phrase used in meditation) or breathing.
Holding onto these anchors helps quiet our minds. It’s from this “safe place [that] we learn to observe how the mind is working,” and “we connect with something that’s eternal [and] more essential than our worry thoughts, our ruminations and the busyness of the mind,” she says.
“Meditation is like sitting at the shore of the ocean of your mind and just watching the waves come and go,” another definition that NurrieStearns likes. This means that you’re not pushing your thoughts away, shaming or judging them. Instead, you’re simply watching your thoughts as you’d watch the waves while sitting on the shore of the ocean, she says. There’s also a sense of connection to something bigger than you can comprehend. As you feel a “palpable presence at the ocean,” you can feel that same palpable presence during meditation, she says.
Based on numerous studies about meditation, it offers abundance in benefits. For example, meditation is said to bring about healthy physiological improvement. A study found that using “Sa Ta Na Ma” as a mantra from a meditative practice of Kirtan Kriya tradition, it can help to improve one’s memory
Also, in our modern, fast-paced life, many of us already forgot how to truly relax, but Meditation is a jumpstart to relaxation. When a person meditates, significant changes occur in the brain. It will start by silencing the body and the sympathetic nervous system. Specifically, meditation stimulates the prefrontal cortex and sends inhibitory neurotransmitters to the emotion-regulating part of the brain causing the heart rate to slow down and breathing to deepen. In a whole picture, meditation recalibrates the body in a more relaxed state.
Getting into meditation
Breathe with a mantra. A mantra is a sound or a word that is repeated and focused by a person who’s meditating or a word that expresses your belief. First, choose or create a mantra that is easy to say and you’re most comfortable with. For example, the most common “umm” or you can create your own like “I can do this” then, start having deep breaths. Breathe in then breathe out, try clearing your mind from all your thoughts and focus on your breathing. When your thoughts drift sometimes, repeat your mantra again until your mind becomes quiet once more.
Look for a peaceful place to sit. In meditation, your goal is to relax and clear your mind, so a hot or a crowded place is a big no no. A great place to start meditating is your own room where you can feel safer and easy to access for practicing. You can sit on a chair, on a cushion, on your bed or even on the floor making sure that it’s clean. Also make sure that it’s quiet for it’s hard to relax the mind if the place is noisy but if you don’t want a deafening muteness, you can have a soft music in the background.
Start small. Try meditating for five minutes a day then after a week, move it to ten to twelve minutes a day, and so on. Some studies has shown that meditating for at least twelve minutes a day can make a great deal in the brain.
Connect your practice to something you do often. For example, if you drink coffee every morning, try meditating every time you finish your cup so that you can build a habit of meditating every morning.
Try moving gently. If you can’t control your body to fidget, have it incorporated in your meditation. You can use gentle movements as a focus in your meditation, for example, touching your thumb and you index finger or rocking your body gently from side to side, and then try going back to being still again.
To eliminate random thoughts, try imagination. If you’re constantly thinking about food, imagine eating it until the food for example, an apple goes into your body and gone from your mind, you can also imagine them drifting away from you. You can think of all the thoughts drifting away from you one by one until your mind is clear.