Learn to Meditate

Learn to MeditateWhen we come across people interested in meditation it’s not always so simple to explain, they often have an image of  a yogi or spiritual leader meditating with mystical powers. The pop culture image of a bearded wizard type individual who meditates in the forest certainly perpetuates this. Reality, however, is far from it, as there are various types of meditation practiced by millions of ‘normal’ people each and every day. You won’t have to move to a Tibet or take up the forest life to learn meditation. It’s really quite simple, and you can learn to meditate in the comfort of your own home.

When you first get started in learning meditation you may not know where to begin, as there are many types of meditation to choose from. The best advice is to start with a simple meditation when you’re just getting started. Once you get the swing of things you can experiment with the other varieties of meditation and find your preference.

Anybody who is new to meditation can start with the simplest of all, the breath counting meditation. This meditation is the easiest to perform, and the easiest to learn, as it’s also a form of natural meditation. To get started you will want to find a quite place where you’ll be comfortable and have no interruptions. You may sit in the lotus position (cross legged) or simply lay on your back if it’s more comfortable for you. It’s important not to get too relaxed while lying down, which can be an issue.  Once you are in a comfortable position you can start you breath counting meditation.  Gently relax your body and mind, as you close your eyes. We start by simply counting each inhale and exhale. Once we reach a predetermined number we start over. You can count up to 3, 5, 10 or whatever suites you. Keeping the number short, however, helps with your concentration. And concentration is what it’s all about. The goal here is to just focus on our breath, as we count each inhaled and exhaled breath. You’ll quickly learn that this is easier said than done, as your mind has other ideas. Don’t be dissuaded by the constant chatter of the mind, as it’s perfectly normal. You’ll develop better control with time.

You can start performing this simple meditation for a few minutes every once or twice a day. Once you begin to do this practice you can gradually increase the duration of the meditation. Remember to just to watch your thoughts pass by. Try not to get distracted by the mind. Or better yet, when you get distracted by your mind, simply return to your breathing. You can use a meditation timer that will not only signal the end of your session, but chime at certain intervals, so that you can return if distracted.  This mind distractions may seem very difficult at first, but consistent practice will help you get control back from your mind.

Learning to meditate is not at all a complicated procedure, it’s actually quite simple. The problem most people face is that it’s a lot like exercise, in that it takes steady discipline.  Understanding the benefits of exercise is not hard to conceptualize, just the action required to get the the results. Most people get motivated with a few visits to the gym, but the excitement quickly fades, and before they know it they’ve lost all motivation. This applies to learning meditation too. You will not see the results you’re looking for if you don’t put in the consistent practice. Meditation is a learned discipline that can provide a number of life changing benefits, but you’ll have to practice.

Before you learn to meditate your objective should be clear. Setting up goals is an important step. These goals need to be realistic for what you plan to achieve. Make meditation a part of your daily routine. If you can meditate twice a day, morning and night, that’s great, but try to allot a portion of your day to meditation. It’s recommended that you at least devote 20 minutes to your daily meditation. This should be a minimum, since the best results are achieved with longer consistent sessions.

Once you learn to meditate and are clear about what you wish to achieve via meditation you can then choose the meditation that best suits you. There are many types of meditation in some cultures that are actually a form of prayer like in Hinduism and Buddhism. You don’t, however, need to change your religion to learn meditation, rather pick up a meditation that will most benefit you. This may be a Buddhist mediation or some other form, proceed with an open mind.

Picking up the right meditation for you can be a bit of a task with so many to choose from, but it really doesn’t have to be. Many of the most experienced meditation gurus make the simple breath counting meditation the mainstay of there daily practice. This is because it works. Once you learn to meditate you’ll find there is no magic meditation that’s better than the others, just the one that’s best for you.

So start with a simple meditation. Set a realistic goal that you can stick to for a certain peiod of time. For example, 30 minutes in the mornings for 2 months.  Make it part of your daily routine. Don’t have unrealistic expectations. In fact, don’t have any expectations, other than your daily devotion. Once you’ve practiced for a few months and reached this goal, you can then reflect on your developement. What you’ll find will be nothing short of amazing.

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