Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
The idea of meditation can be daunting – especially if you’ve never done it before. You’ve heard friends and coworkers swear by it and now you want to try it for yourself. If you’re wondering where and how to begin, you’ve come to the right place.
- Tips for First Time Meditators
- Meditation Basics
- Clearing Your Mind
- Thoughts During Meditation
- Meditating on God
- Benefits of Meditation
First Time Meditators
- Start small. Meditation is daunting enough without committing yourself to an hour-long session. Start with just a few minutes each morning – even five minutes every morning is enough to instill good habits and grow your abilities.
- Do your research. Find out the answers to questions like: how did meditation originate and what religion does it come from? Understanding the basics of meditation and how it relates to you is vital to the beginning stages of meditation.
- Utilize guided meditation. There is a plethora of apps and instructional videos designed specifically for those who are new to meditation. These resources walk you through a meditative session step by step, guiding you through breathing patterns, muscle relaxation, thought clearing and more.
- Give yourself a break. Meditation takes practice and patience – you likely won’t be too good at it when you first start. Do not dwell. Be patient with yourself as you learn this new technique and be willing to forgive yourself if you “fail”.
“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you.”
Guided Meditation - Breath Control and Awareness
It’s great to start with a guided-meditation video. From these guided meditations you can begin to branch out and meditate on your own. While there are many benefits and purposes for meditation the basic building block for all forms and levels begin with creating awareness. This is why a focus on breath is such a great place to start.
(There are many benefits of guided meditation, find out all of them in that article!)
The first thing to do is carve out some uninterrupted time to practice your meditating skills. The last thing you want is your roommate barging in looking for that thing you borrowed and forgot to return. Typically, people meditate first thing in the morning, but the time of day is completely up to you.
Find a comfortable spot to sit down. This could be on the floor, in a chair or even in bed. Heads up, meditating in bed typically results in falling asleep, so don’t do it unless you are willing to risk an unplanned nap. Most first-timers find a chair is the easiest place to practice meditation because it forces them to pay more attention to their posture. Also, finding a room that has the right atmosphere could help. Use some essential oils for meditation to help put you in the mood.
Once you’re seated comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Focus on each inhale and exhale. Then, shift your focus to the different points of contact you feel. For example, turn your thoughts to the point where your feet are pressed flat against the ground. Feel the chair underneath you. Feel your arms resting at your sides and your hands folded in your lap.
Another technique that is perfect for beginners is to start at the top of your head and focus on all the muscles down your body. As you think about each one, force yourself to relax. Relax your forehead, then your jaw, then release the tension from your neck and shoulders. Work all the way down your body until you’re fully relaxed. Then take a few deep, cleansing breaths.
When you’re ready to end your session, take some deep breaths, then slowly open your eyes and return to the present moment. Take this time to think about what you want to accomplish that day and start your morning on a positive note.
Clearing Your Mind
One of the most straightforward ways to clear your mind is to focus on your breath. As you breathe in, feel the way your body responds. Feel the way your lungs expand and the way your shoulders lift. Feel the inhalation in your chest and your stomach as you pull in each breathe. Then explore what happens when you exhale. How does your body respond? Can you feel the tension leaving your body as you focus your mind?
Along with the effects of breath on the body, another technique for clearing your mind includes counting your breaths. Count each inhale and exhale, up to ten, then pause for a moment before starting over. This technique is ideal for beginners who have trouble with wandering thoughts and is often used in guided meditation sessions.
“One positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
Thoughts During Meditation
Clearing your mind completely is not always possible no matter how hard you try. Sometimes it’s best to simply allow your thoughts to flow naturally for a while. Don’t linger on any specific thought, just allow them to come to you, recognize them, then let them go. It’s easier said than done, but with practice it will become easier.
Alternatively, some people find it useful to focus on a single emotive word such as happiness, joy, love, contentment, etc. When focusing on the word of your choice, think about how it makes you feel and what memories you associate with it. Some people chose to assign a color or a smell to the word in order to create a deeper connection with it in their mind.
Meditating on God
Meditating on scripture can bring you closer to God in a similar way as prayer. Many people chose a single verse that holds special meaning and focus their thoughts around it. As you relax your body and clear your mind of other distractions, concentrate on the verse and contemplate its deeper meaning. How has it impacted your life? How could it impact your future?
Others find it easier to focus on a single word or concept, such as forgiveness. During meditation, they explore the meaning of the word. Think about or look up scriptures that feature the concept you’ve chosen. As you read each one, let it lead you to another related passage as you delve deeper and broaden your understanding.
“Prayer is when you talk to God. Meditation is when you listen to God.”
Benefits of Meditation
The benefits of meditation are endless. From reduction in stress and anxiety, to lessening of physical symptoms related to chronic health problems, meditation is a versatile option for anyone to practice. Meditation is also a fantastic way to lift your mood. Remember to start small and practice your skills for only a few minutes.
Don’t beat yourself up if you sense your mind wandering or find it difficult to relax. Meditation is a learned art – it takes time and patience and practice. Be gentle with yourself as you hone this new skill. There are online beginner meditation courses as well, that could help you start your meditation journey!
In just a few short weeks, look back and see how far you’ve come; explore how your self-awareness has changed and how meditation has created a positive difference in your everyday life. You never know, you may learn to love it so much you’ll want to pass it on to others by studying how to become a certified meditation teacher online.