A daily meditation practice is simple, cheap, and highly effective, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And to be honest, meditation techniques for beginners is pretty easy, it’s just not quite the experience you may expect it to be. But that’s ok, let me explain.
Beginners have all sorts of challenges when first learning how to meditate, but most of these challenges aren’t really problems. The complaints beginners have are simply part of learning the meditation process and understanding how to meditate effectively with a daily meditation practice.
How To Meditate: Understanding the Purpose of Meditation
Many religions and philosophies advocate meditation. Meditation is also used for self-help and personal development purposes. While all of these things might have slightly different methods, many of these meditation techniques are similar in practice and application.
Most of us feel we have a reasonable understanding of the meditation process, but many of us can’t really describe the importance of meditation and the actual purpose that it may serve in our personal lives.
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Meditation Facts: A daily meditation practice brings many benefits:
* It’s the one time your mind really gets a rest. Your mind is constantly active. It’s thinking about ten different things every 15 seconds. It’s telling you that you need a drink of water. It’s worrying about your date next Saturday and reminding you that you don’t have enough money in your bank account to pay your cable bill and the list goes on.
* Sleep isn’t any better. In your dreams, you’re largely acting and behaving the same way you do while awake. You’re still worrying about the same stuff during your dreams. Sleep is great for resting your body, but it’s not as useful for resting your mind.
In meditation, you create a space where your mind is essentially in a relaxed focus state of being. In many forms of meditation, you focus on one thing and concentrate all your thoughts on that single item or idea. It’s incredibly relaxing for your mind and body once you take the time to learn how to meditate each day.
* You must learn how to focus. Learning how to focus using meditation is one of the main meditation techniques for beginners that will take you down the road to successful meditation practice. When you think of meditation, do you imagine someone sitting alone in a quiet room with subdued lighting? This is the easiest way to meditate, with no distractions. It’s like meditation with training wheels. But you could actually learn to be meditating most of your day as well.
* It’s easiest to learn to meditate under ideal conditions. Then, try expanding your meditation skills to other activities. You know you can really meditate when you can stay calm, happy, and focused on a loud, hot, busy, smelly subway. Don’t live near the subway? Try a long day with the in-laws.
* Most of us focus very poorly. Imagine how much better you would feel and how much more you would accomplish if you could stay focused on the activity at hand. Plus, it’s hard to worry about every other aspect of your life when you’re controlling the content of your thoughts.
* You can find answers to almost any problem in life. When your mind is running a hundred miles an hour, it’s difficult to find elegant solutions to your challenges. Your brain needs a little space and relaxation to find effective solutions to tough challenges. Meditation can provide that needed space for your mind to develop an effective solution.
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Have you ever noticed that many of your best ideas have come while doing something that occupies your mind in a rather mindless way? Activities like mowing the grass, taking a shower, or driving down the highway with little traffic are great for solving problems. Your mind is occupied but free to wander a little. Meditation is similar to this activity, but with meditation, you control the process of problem-solving.
* Meditation is healthy for the mind, body, and spirit. Stress is incredibly hard on the body both mentally and physically. Meditation reduces stress, lowers your pulse rate and blood pressure, and improves sleep on many levels.
* Meditation can be done quickly. You’d be surprised how much more you can accomplish and how much more enjoyable your day is when you meditate for a few minutes several times a day. Five minutes twice a day is a great place to start. Set a timer or find a five minute meditative mp3 to get started.
* Meditation isn’t just for a yogi in India sitting on top of a mountain in solitude. Anyone can use meditation to bring rest and peace into their life. It can also improve your performance in almost all areas of your life. Learn to meditate and enjoy a greater quality of life.
A daily meditation practice can work for anyone that puts in the time and effort. You just need to learn a few basic meditation techniques that appeal to you and your lifestyle. Then, you can expand your practice into a process that you can call your own. Remember, you can’t do meditation wrong, any process that allows you to work meditation into your personal lifestyle is what you are striving for. Learn the basics and build on your success.
The Top 10 Reasons Why Meditation Might Not Be Working For You
Are any of these challenges holding you back?
1. Your mind is too active. Of course, it’s active. It takes practice before the mind quiets down, and it’s rarely silent even after years of practice. It takes about 20 minutes for experienced meditators to notice a complete slowing down of the mind.
This isn’t really a problem. Part of the purpose of meditating is to learn how your mind operates. Daily practice is the key to learning how to relax your mind and create an effective meditation practice.
Key meditation concept: Always return your focus on your breath. This will calm your mind, if your thoughts drift off your breath, just return to your breathing. You may have to do this a lot at the beginning, that’s ok. Some days will be better than others, that’s ok too. Keep it simple and keep meditating each day.
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2. Your mind wanders off like a kitten in a yarn factory. It’s not uncommon to suddenly realize that you’ve been daydreaming for the last five minutes. The solution is the same as the previous issue. Just return your attention to your breath and continue meditating for as long as you can.
3. A lack of consistency. Meditation needs to be done daily to see the greatest benefits. It also needs to be done every day to gain a high level of proficiency. You can’t become skilled at what you don’t practice. Get as much practice as you can, if you miss a day, just get back to meditating the next day. Look at meditation as a gift to yourself each day. You deserve the best life possible!
4. You fall asleep while trying to meditate. This is a very common problem! It’s not easy to fall asleep if you have the proper meditation position. It should be impossible to stay asleep if you have the proper posture, as you’re sure to lose your balance and fall over.
The best position for meditating is to sit up with your spine as straight as possible. If you lie down, you may struggle to stay awake. You will find that over time you may be able to lie down and still meditate effectively. If you have physical problems sitting, by all means, lay down or try a walking meditation method. Any meditation teacher can assist you in learning different meditation methods to help you along.
5. Body aches and pains. Your body will need to get used to this new activity. Holding one position for a long time can be painful, especially when you’re just starting out with meditation. Start with five to ten minutes a day and work up to twenty minutes if possible. Over time, your aches and pains will largely go away during your meditation session.
Meditation, or what some doctors call mindfulness meditation, is a practice that involves focusing on breathing while blocking out the surrounding environment. A study from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health asked patients to engage in meditation while also getting a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Then, the researchers gave participants the medication naloxone (Narcan). This medicine blocks opioid receptors in the brain. Participants then engaged in meditation while they underwent another MRI.
At the end of the study, researchers found that people reported pain relief from meditation, even when they had taken naloxone to block opioid receptors. The researchers concluded that there are many other pathways in the body, other than opioid receptors, that could help relieve pain. This is promising for those who want to relieve pain using other approaches besides opioid pain relievers.
Click on this link from Asana Recovery to find out more information about how you can use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Meditation to Treat Pain Without Opioids and Why You Should Consider an Alternative to Opioids.
It’s best to try to remain as still as possible, completely relaxing into your preferred position. Shifting your position will only give temporary relief, and the process starts all over again. No matter how much it hurts, you’ll find the pain fades away if you stay still.
This, like learning to focus is part of the meditation learning curve. Tens of millions of people all over the world have learned how to meditate, you can too if you just keep practicing each day, it gets easier each time you meditate.
Itches fall into the same category. Just leave them alone and observe them. It’s interesting and amusing how the itching just disappears just by observing the itching. Meditation is about the exploration of your mind, body, and spirit, It’s an amazing learning life process, and you will never be the same.
You can learn how to use these distractions as your meditation object, just like you use your breath as a meditation object. The meditation object can be a word, or a physical object such as a candle, any consistent external noise or body sensation (including pain) that you focus on can become your meditation object.
It could be a mental picture that you can hold in your mind while your eyes are closed. It could also be a meditation mantra that holds special meaning to you. This is a great area of exploration to determine what works for you.
6. Boredom is part of the learning process as well. Yes, meditation can be boring, especially if you’re used to significantly more stimulation. Learn to sit still with your boredom and just observe it. Boredom can be more fascinating than you might think. I know that sounds crazy, I get it, give it a try and find out for yourself. This is your personal meditation process that you will develop over time. I consider meditation to be the ultimate personal development program!
7. Rationalizing that quitting is a bad idea. You have much more to lose than you can possibly know at this time. You are reading about meditation right now for a reason. Listen to your inner self and trust yourself completely. Common thoughts include things like, “This is a waste of time.” “Why am I doing this?” “Is this all there is?” Again, just sit with your thoughts and notice them. Every thought is as meaningless as the next.
Just realize that it’s your discomfort with the stillness that’s bothering you. You’ll come to understand that many of the things you do in your life are to avoid this feeling. This includes things like staring at the TV and overeating. Change can be a good thing here, listen to your inner spirit.
8. Finding time to meditate. This excuse is hardly a valid excuse. Go to bed 20 minutes early and sit in a chair and meditate. Or get up 20 minutes early and do the same. The truth is, after a little practice, you can meditate at your desk or on a bus. Either way, you win!
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If you have time to watch TV, surf the internet, or play games on your phone, you had time to meditate. Put yourself first in line for your daily activities, the payoff is a much better, happier and more productive life.
9. Desiring perfection in your meditation practice. Perfection in meditation isn’t achievable, but you don’t need to be perfect. Put in the time with your best effort. That’s all that’s required. This is a process that will expand over time with accruing benefits for the rest of your life. It’s hard to explain with words but isn’t a few minutes each day worth a truly balanced, awakened, and productive life worth it to you?
10. Expecting more from daily meditation. A daily meditation practice rarely involves earth-shattering insights. It’s a gradual process that brings understanding over time. Your enlightenment is a process like anything worth doing in life, this is a lifestyle that will serve you in ways you can’t even imagine in your wildest dreams. Like all truly good things in life, it takes desire and dedication to produce the desired results.
Look at it this way, the days, weeks, months and years of your life will pass no matter how you choose to live them. Why not add the gift of meditation to your life so that in the future you can look back over your life and say, wow that was a great way to live, I’m so grateful I learned to meditate and achieved the life I truly desired.
These problems above aren’t really problems per se. They’re simply misunderstandings of what normally occurs during a meditation session. Just keep at it and have faith that everything is as it should be.
Start simple, learn and explore the different methods of meditation, listen and trust your inner self to develop a meditation practice that works for you and you alone. That, my friend, is truly living the life you desire.