For Those In Pursuit of Nirvana

How To Meditate

We lower our stress levels, have a better understanding of our discomfort, connect better, enhance our focus, and are kinder to ourselves when we meditate. In this new thoughtful guide on how to meditate, we’ll lead you through the basics.

Welcome to our Mindful meditation guide, which includes a variety of meditation methods, information about the benefits of each practice to help you learn how to meditate and incorporate meditation into your daily life. Continue reading to learn more about the fundamentals of this life-changing technique that allows us to find greater joy in our daily lives.

What is meditation?

What is the best way to describe meditation? We learn to pay attention to the breath as it comes in and out in mindfulness meditation, and to notice when the mind wanders away. Returning to the breath strengthens the muscles of attention and mindfulness.

When we focus on our breath, we are learning how to intentionally return to and remain in the present moment—how to anchor ourselves in the here and now without judgement.

Why Learn to Meditate?

A selection of benefits that are associated with meditating.

Listed below are some of the advantages of meditating.
While meditation isn’t a panacea, it can help you create some much-needed breathing room in your life. Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement to make better decisions for ourselves, our families, and our communities. A little patience, some kindness for yourself, and a comfortable spot to sit are the most crucial tools you can bring to your meditation practice.

We inject far-reaching and long-lasting advantages into our lives when we meditate. Plus, you won’t need any additional equipment or a costly membership.

Here are five reasons to meditate:
  1. Understanding your pain
  2. Lower your stress
  3. Connect better
  4. Improve focus
  5. Reduce brain chatter

How to Meditate

Meditation is something everyone can do, here’s how.

Meditation is both easier and more difficult than most people believe. Read through these procedures, make sure you’re in a relaxing environment, set a timer, and give it a shot:

1) Sit down.
Look for a relaxing and quiet spot to sit in.

2) Establish a time restriction.
If you’re just getting started, setting aside a modest amount of time, such as five or ten minutes, can be beneficial.

3) Pay attention to your body.
You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, cross-legged, or kneel—any of these positions is OK. Simply ensure that you are steady and in a position that you can maintain for an extended period of time.

4) Pay attention to your breathing.
Pay attention to the sensations of your breath as it enters and exits your body.

5) Recognize when your thoughts have wandered.

Your attention will inevitably leave the breath and stray to other things. Simply return your focus to the breath when you notice your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, or five minutes.

6) Be gentle with your wandering thoughts.

Don’t pass judgment on yourself or concentrate about the nature of the ideas you’re having. Simply return.

7) End on a positive note.
Lift your gaze gently when you’re ready (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment to listen to the sounds around you. Take note of how your body is currently feeling. Take note of your feelings and thoughts.

That concludes our discussion. That is standard procedure. You concentrate, your mind wanders, you bring it back, and you do it as gently as possible (as many times as you need to)..

How Much Should I Meditate?

Meditation isn’t any more difficult than what we’ve just stated. It’s that easy… and that difficult. It’s also effective and worthwhile. The goal is to make a daily commitment to sit, even if it’s only for five minutes. “One of my meditation teachers remarked that the most crucial moment in your meditation practice is the time you sit down to do it,” says Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher. Because you’re telling yourself that you believe in change, that you believe in self-care, and you’re putting it into action. You’re not just holding a value like mindfulness or compassion in your head, but putting it into practice.”

According to neuroscientist Amishi Jha’s recent research, 12 minutes of meditation five times a week can safeguard and increase your capacity to pay attention.

Meditation Tips and Techniques

We’ve covered simple breath meditation so far, but there are other mindfulness techniques that use external objects like a sound in the room or something bigger, like observing spontaneous things that come into your awareness during an aimless wandering exercise, to anchor our attention. But there is one thing that all of these habits have in common: we realize that our minds are in charge a lot of the time. That is correct. Typically, we have thoughts and then act. However, here are some helpful techniques to help you switch things up:

How to Make Mindfulness a Habit

It’s estimated that 95% of our actions are pre-programmed. That’s because neural networks are at the heart of all of our habits, converting millions of sensory inputs every second into manageable shortcuts that allow us to function in this chaotic world. These automatic brain signals are so effective that they frequently drive us to revert to old habits before we recall what we intended to do instead.

These default processes are the polar opposite of mindfulness. It’s more like executive control than autopilot, and it allows for deliberate acts, willpower, and decisions. However, this requires time and practice. The more we use the intentional brain, the more powerful it becomes. We boost neuroplasticity by doing something intentional and novel, which activates our grey matter, which is full of newly sprung neurons that haven’t yet been groomed for “autopilot” brain.

But there’s a catch. Our purposeful brain knows what is best for us, but our autopilot brain causes us to take shortcuts in life. So, how can we remind ourselves to remain mindful when it’s most needed? This is when “behavior design” comes into play. It’s a technique for putting your conscious mind in control. There are two ways to accomplish this: first, by slowing down the autopilot brain by placing impediments in its path, and second, by eliminating obstacles from the intentional brain’s path, allowing it to regain control.

It takes some effort to shift the balance to give your deliberate brain more power. Here are a few ideas for getting started.

  • Place reminders for meditation all around you. If you want to practise yoga or meditate, place your yoga mat or meditation cushion in the middle of your floor so it’s easy to see as you walk by.
  • Renew your reminders on a regular basis. Let’s pretend you’ve decided to utilize sticky notes to remind yourself of a new goal. That may work for a week, then your autopilot brain and old patterns will take over. Try making new notes to yourself; vary them or make them humorous. That way, they’ll stay with you for a longer period of time.
  • Make your own patterns. To provide easy reminders to move into the purposeful brain, consider a succession of “If this, then that” messages. As an example, you may come up with the phrase “If office door, then deep breath” as a technique to enter mindfulness as you prepare to begin your workday. “Take a breath before answering the phone,” for example. Your purposeful brain will be strengthened with each deliberate activity to transition into mindfulness.

Some Basic Meditations

These are some meditation practices to get you going.

A Basic Meditation for Beginners

First and foremost, let’s be clear: what we’re striving for here is mindfulness, not some magical technique that will miraculously rid your mind of the myriad and infinite thoughts that erupt and ping incessantly in our heads. We’re simply practicing bringing our focus to our breath and then returning it when we sense it has wandered.

  • Prepare to sit still for a few minutes by getting comfortable. You’ll simply focus on your own natural breathing and expelling of breath once you’ve finished reading this.
  • Concentrate on your breathing. What part of your body do you notice your breath the most? Do you have something in your stomach? Is there something in your nose? Maintain your focus on your inhale and exhale.
  • For two minutes, focus on your breath. Inhale deeply, expanding your belly, and then gently exhale, lengthening your out-breath as your belly contracts.

Thank you for returning. What went wrong? How long did it take for your mind to stray from your breathing? Have you ever noticed how active your mind was even when you weren’t trying to think about anything in particular? Before you came back to read this, did you catch yourself becoming caught up in your thoughts? We often have unintentional narratives going through our heads, such as “Why DOES my employer want to meet with me tomorrow?” “I should have gone to the gym yesterday,” says the narrator. “I have bills to pay” or (the classic) “I don’t have time to sit idle; I have things to do.”

If you’ve ever been distracted like this (and we all have), you’ve discovered something important: it’s the polar opposite of mindfulness. It’s when we live in our brains, on autopilot, allowing our thoughts to wander around, investigating the future or the past, and not being present in the moment. But, if we’re being honest, that’s where most of us spend the majority of our time—and it’s pretty uncomfortable, right? It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

We “practice” mindfulness so that we can learn to identify when our thoughts are engaged in their typical daily gymnastics, and to take a brief break from them so that we can pick what we want to focus on. In a nutshell, meditation aids in the development of a much healthier relationship with ourselves (and, by extension, with others).

More Styles of Mindfulness Meditation

After you’ve mastered seated meditation, you might wish to experiment with different types of meditation, such as walking and lying down. Whereas the previous meditations focused on the breath, the meditations below concentrate on different regions of the body.

Introduction to the Body Scan Meditation

Try this: right now, feel your feet on the ground. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing shoes or not. Then, piece by little, carefully, track or scan over your entire body, all the way up to the crown of your head. The goal of this exercise is to check in with your entire body, from your fingertips to your shoulders, and from your buttocks to your big toe. The only guidelines are to check in with your bodily sensations of being in your body rather than judging, wondering, or worrying (all things that your mind may want to undertake). Aches and aches aren’t a problem. You don’t have to do anything in this situation. You’re only now noticing.

Start focusing your attention on various parts of your body. Toes, feet (sole, heel, top of foot), through the legs, pelvis, belly, lower back, upper back, chest shoulders, arms down to the fingers, shoulders, neck, various regions of the face, and head Focus on each portion of your body for a few moments and note the distinct sensations.

Return your attention to the portion of the body you last remembered the minute you realize your mind has wandered.

It’s fine if you nod off during this body-scan exercise. Take a deep breath to assist you revive and even adjust your body if you find you’ve been nodding asleep (which will also help wake it up). Return your attention to the portion of the body you last recall focused on when you’re ready.

Introduction to the Walking Meditation

Fact: Most of us lead very sedentary lives, necessitating the inclusion of extra-curricular physical activity into our daily routines to compensate. The point is that mindfulness doesn’t have to add to your to-do list. It can be incorporated into some of your current activities. Here’s how to include mindful walking into your daily routine.

As you begin, walk at a natural pace. Place your hands wherever comfortable: on your belly, behind your back, or at your sides.

  • You can count steps up to ten and then start over at one if you find it helpful. If you’re in a small place, pause when you reach ten and find a moment to turn around with intention.
  • Pay attention to how your foot rises and falls with each step. Keep an eye on your legs and the rest of your body for movement. Any side-to-side motion of your body should be noted.
  • Return your focus to the experience of walking, regardless of what else is occupying your mind. Your mind will wander, so guide it back as many times as you need to without becoming frustrated.
  • Maintain a wider feeling of the surroundings around you, especially while you’re outside, taking it all in and being safe and observant.

Introduction to Loving-Kindness Meditation

You can’t force yourself to feel a certain way about yourself or others. Rather, you can practice telling yourself that you, your child, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and everyone else in the world deserve happiness and ease.

Silently repeating statements that give excellent characteristics to oneself and others is part of this loving-kindness exercise.

  1. You might begin by celebrating your own goodness by recalling acts of kindness you have performed and delighting in those memories to honor the potential for goodness we all possess.
  2. Silently recite lines that eloquently express what we most genuinely desire for ourselves. Traditional phrases include: May I be safe; May I be happy mentally (peace, pleasure), or May I be happy physically (health, freedom from pain).
  3. Repeat the words with enough space and stillness in between so that they form a pleasing rhythm for you. Concentrate on a single phrase at a time.
  4. Be nice to yourself and let go of the distraction once you feel your attention has wandered. Return to repeating the lines without criticizing or judging yourself.
  5. After some time has passed, imagine yourself in the center of a circle made up of people who have been good to you or who have inspired you by their love. Maybe you’ve met them or read about them; maybe they’re alive right now, or maybe they lived historically or even mythically. That completes the circle. Experience yourself as the beneficiary of their affection and attention as you envision yourself at the middle of it. Continue to gently repeat the loving-kindness mantras to yourself.
  6. Allow the vision to fade away and simply repeat the sentences for a few more minutes to finish the exercise. You are transforming your old, destructive relationship with yourself each time you do so, and you are going forward, supported by the force of kindness.

After the Beginning

What to know and where to go when you’ve started.

When you’re new to meditation, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. These responses may help you relax.

1) Is it okay if I scratch an itch?

Yes, but before scratching it with your fingers, try scratching it with your mind.

2) Should I breathe quickly, slowly, or somewhere in between?

Only if you’ve stopped breathing should you be concerned. You’re doing good else. Breathe in whatever way that feels natural to you.

3) Should I keep my eyes open or shut?

There are no hard and fast regulations. Both are worth a shot. If your eyes are open but not too wide, and you have a soft, somewhat downward glance and aren’t concentrating on anything in particular. If your eyes are closed, but not too tightly, and you are not imagining anything specific in your mind’s eye.

4) Is it conceivable that I am unable to meditate?
When you ask yourself that question, you’ve officially started your meditation. That is something that everyone wonders about. Take note of it. Return your concentration to the object of your attention (the breath). Come back to the breath when you’re lost and doubting again. That is standard procedure. There’s no limit to how many times you can be distracted before returning to your breath. Meditating isn’t about striving for perfection; it’s about returning to the breath over and over.

5) Should I practice in a group or on my own?

Both are fantastic! Meditation with others is quite beneficial. Furthermore, practicing on your own develops discipline.

6) What is the optimum time to meditate during the day? Whatever works for you. Take into account your personal circumstances, such as children, pets, and employment. Experiment. But be cautious. It will almost always be tomorrow if you always choose the most convenient moment.

7) What if thoughts in my head make me sexually (and physically) aroused?

It’s not a huge deal. The imagination is sparked by meditation. Every thought and sensation will surface at some point (so to speak). And then return. It’s the same old story. Return your attention to your chosen object by releasing the thought, bringing awareness and receptivity to body sensations, and releasing the notion (the breath, in this case).

8) Do you have any suggestions for including pets into meditation?

We don’t have to resist distractions like a knight killing dragons while meditating. It’s not a great concern if your dog or cat enters the room, barks and meows, and brushes up against you or settles down on a bit of your cushion. Allow it to be. Interrupting your session to relate to them works less successfully. If that’s the case, attempt to find a strategy to keep them from interfering with your practice.

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