MoHow Posted By: Dr. MO Meditation is the practice of quieting your mind by focusing your attention. It’s benefits include better concentration, decreased anxiety and stress, and a general feeling of well-being.
Few people begin with perspective required to have a sustainable practice and so most quit.
The purpose of this post is to provide practical suggestions to help you get past the initial challenges and then maintain your meditation practice. Here they are…
1) Inform yourself. Prepare by read a book or two on meditation. Choose an instructional guide and one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. This will get you ready and motivated. I suggest John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are. Listen to instructional tapes and CDs.
2) Pick a special place to meditate. Choose a space other than where you do work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles or incense in the room to help you feel at ease. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not insuring peaceful practice conditions. Turn off the phone, have somebody tend to the children and other things that might come up during your meditation.
3) Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by not examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it go!
4) Make firm appointments with yourself. You will only develop a healthy practice by setting aside a specific time to meditate. Early morning is an ideal time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate.
5) Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to your body.
6) Diaphragmatic breathing next. Learning to do belly breathing, slows your heart rate, relaxes your muscles, focuses your mind and is an ideal way to set the foundation for your practice.
7) Meditate with Purpose. Meditation is an active discipline. The practice of focusing your attention to a single point is difficult, and needs to be done with purposeful engagement.
8) Notice your self-talk. It is very common for beginners to have thoughts such as “This is not working” or “What am i doing wrong?”. When this happens, return your focus to your breath and let your feelings go. No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it is, and just do the best you can at the time.
9) Experiment. Although many of us think of meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged, be more experimental and try different types of meditation…..sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.
10) Feel your body. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once your mind quiets, put all your attention to your feet and then slowly move your way up the body. This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.
11) Be Grateful. Each time you complete your meditation, spend 2-3 minutes appreciating the experience and your growing ability to quiet your mind.
12) Notice when your interest sags. Learning to meditate is difficult and you will likely have thoughts of giving up. This is when you need your practice the most and I suggest you use the thinking skills of the Momentum Mind training course to maintain your momentum and re-charge yourself.
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