Meditation Tips for Beginners
In the 2 previous article, Essential Meditation Tips & Tools for Daily Practice and the Top 5 Mistakes in Establishing a Meditation Practice, I shared many important meditation tips to help you establish a strong meditation practice. Today I would like to give you some more valuable meditation help. Today’s article will give you tips which are very practical in nature and should help you deal with common issues that many beginner meditators have.
First, I will do a quick review of the tips from the previous articles I mentioned above and then, I will move ahead to the new meditation tips I would like to share with you today. If you are familiar with the two article above, then you can skip down to the New Meditation Help & Tips Section below.
Meditation Help for Beginners
1- Meditation Space:
This is a must. Gorilla meditation tactics, meditating here there are everywhere are usually just good for short bursts. If you are interested in a sustained campaign, designating a meditation space is a huge help. Those college students who complain to me about this suggestion due to living in a dorm, your entire room is your meditation space … mine was. Of course, in this case just do the best you can.
2- Meditation Tools:
Loose fitting clothing, that doesn’t bunch up behind your knees, an alarm clock, good firm meditation cushion (preferably a Zafu or Smile Cushion) are all very helpful meditation accessories.
3- Set Meditation Time:
This should have been number 1, but I am feeling too lazy to cut and paste it up there now, so here it is incorrectly at number 3 . Set a specific time to do your daily meditation practice. Preferably this should be early in the morning, earlier the better, but certainly before your day kicks into full gear. There are many good reason for this and you can read about those in the article: The Secret to Becoming an Early Riser.
4- Right Meditation Attitude:
Here are attitudes that get in the way of establishing a strong meditation practice. Some of these are the ones I listed in the meditation articles above, but some are from the comments of other meditators offering their ideas and meditation help.
- Think meditation is too hard and give up. Be patient, persist and do as much as you are comfortable doing. Overdoing it and not enjoying your practice becomes an obstacle to long term practice.
- Want enlightenment or positive changes fast. The rewards take a little time to emerge, but they do come and are certainly worth it. Just keep going, without expectations or desire for lollipops and psychic powers.
- Try to Stop/Empty the Mind: It is ok for thoughts to come up, the Big Mind and unearthly silence will emerge. It just takes time for such evolution to happen.
Meditation Help & 5 New Beginner Meditation Tips
Here are 5 more helpful meditation tips which should help you raise the level of your meditation practice. These are very practical tips and deal with difficulties both, beginners and others, will typically encounter during their actual meditation sessions.
Meditation Tip #1- Sitting Through Restlessness:
This is perhaps one of the most common difficulties encountered by beginner meditators. You have set the alarm for 20 minutes and about 10 minutes in, you are cruising along doing your Zen Meditation counting your breath, when you start to feel restless, start wondering how much time is left and start to feel the urge to get up and get busy with life… oh oh!
If this is happening to you, you are lucky. Yes that is correct, you are lucky and I am jealous. This is precisely why meditation, especially silent, still meditation, is so effective and why you will benefit so much from your early practice. At the very end, enlightenment is nothing but the art of being ok with "what is", no matter what that "what is" is. It is the art of embracing the present, and being empty of the desire to change or escape it. Guess what, here is your chance to develop that art.
You see, once you become an expert meditator, that restlessness and boredom tends to come up much less, so really you get less opportunity to practice this great art of staying with the unpleasant present. Developing this art is what Zen Meditation (or other such meditation) facilitates and that is precisely why it works wonders for you during the early days of practice.
So the next time you get the urge to end your session early, bear down… remember this is your chance to grow. Treat this unpleasantness as a gift and remain with it. Neither suppress, nor run away from it. Just observe it. You are now developing your highest potential, the muscle of awareness… you are now developing the Witnessing Consciousness. You are now mastering the Art of Living.
Meditation Tip #2- Just Sit Down:
If you are a gym rat, you know that if you can just get to the gym, you will get some degree of workout done. Half the battle is won if you can just get there. The same is with meditation. If you can just get your butt down on the Zafu (meditation cushion), half the battle is won. And if you can remember meditation tip #1 above, well then the battle is really going to go well, as you are now probably going to complete the entire session.
This is further facilitated if you have a set meditation time and a set meditation space. Although, meditation is the ultimate science and bestows the ultimate freedom, if you need to respond like Pavlov’s Dog (classical conditioning) did to the sound of a bell, in order to jump onto your cushion and start your meditation session, so be it . Just find a way to get on the cushion, the rest will start to take care of itself.
Meditation Tip #3- Make it Count:
Well since you have already sat down, you might as well make the most of it . Of course you could sit and spend the entire time thinking about all the things you need to do that day, but really that can wait till you are done meditating. If many things are on your mind, then write them down before you sit and tell your mind that right after you are done, you will address those issues. This technique works great if you have insomnia from over thinking as well. It puts the mind at ease by telling it that it will get a chance to chew over all those problems later, so it leaves you alone to get your meditation done.
Also, always remind yourself how precious your time here is, remind yourself that life is short and you simply cannot afford to not use your meditation time as best as possible. As Zen Master Charlotte Joko Beck points out, if you are going to sit and not apply yourself in any way to observe your mind or breath, you might as well be out playing golf. So apply yourself as best you can. Thus, you will be doing your part. The rest, as usual, will take care of itself.
Meditation Tip #4- Mind Over Body:
I know your knees hurt and oooooohhhh that aching back. No, that is not reason to stop, in fact, that is not even reason to move or flinch. Unless you are going to blow out a knee and have to go to the emergency room, you are not to move unnecessarily. If its Zen Meditation or other such Insight Meditation Technique, then it is not necessary to move at all, so you should be as if you are frozen in time…. aching knees and all (see meditation tip #1 above for inspiration).
Once you give in and start adjusting during meditation, there will no end to it. Why? Because the body knows then that it is still the master. It knows that it still calls the shots and by a little pain here, a little phantom itch there, a little phantom tickle here, it can still boss you around. Yes phantom sensations. The body is not going to like being subdued and made to be still at your command, so it is going to create ghost feelings to get back on top. Just say no.
If you can endure the first few attempts by the body to regain dominance, the body will understand that the true master is back in the house and it will stop troubling you. Try this and validate it for yourself.
Meditation Tip #5- No Negative Thinking:
I don’t have the discipline. I don’t have the gift of insight. I can’t watch my thoughts. I am not intelligent enough. I can’t concentrate. I am not flexible enough. I don’t have the willpower. After all I am not the chosen one… Eddie Murphy is (The Golden Child).
Look, meditation is arduous. It is not complex, but at it’s highest levels it is arduous, so don’t make it harder than it is. The fact is you just don’t know what is going to happen, so there is no need to think that the worst is going to happen or that you don’t have what it takes to make the best happen.
This type of negative thinking just creates more obstacles and is totally worthless. It serves no good purpose, so just don’t do it. I know those beginning meditation can have such discouraging thoughts and you should guard against believing them. They are just thoughts, don’t give them life by buying into them. Just observe them, smile, and let them go. As I mentioned above, your job is simple to do your best. Leave the rest in the hands of the good Lord.
Summary of Meditation Help & Beginner Meditation Tips:
I think I will need another article on this topic as more and more great tips keep bubbling up into my mind (must be this creativity experiment I am doing, but that too is another article ). But for now I think the above tips will go a along way in getting your started with your meditation practice and help make it into one that is strong and deep. If you have meditation help you can offer others, please do share them with us in the comments section below.
If you are looking for more meditation help or looking to enhance your current meditation practice, you can check out the Meditation for Beginners | Learn How to Meditate Class which is part of the Free Online Meditation Classes offered here.