If you have already started practicing breathing you are already on your way to learning meditation. The basics of meditation are simple in idea but challenging in practice. The key that I have found most helpful, in learning meditation, is practice. The more frequent you do it, the more successful you will be and the greater benefits you will achieve.
Simple meditation focuses on clearing the mind. In our busy society we are often planning and problem solving even when we are trying to relax. Meditation can help lower our stress level with frequent use by clearing out our excess thoughts and worries. We can take care of those during our work hours, not during our relaxation.
I always start with breathing. Intention starts with the breath. Depending on my day and if I have had high energy activities, such as dancing, arguing, or anything that might raise my blood pressure, I will chose to also ground and center myself before trying to clear my mind. I ground and center myself if my blood pressure is higher than normal for any reason. I find that doing these grounding visualizations calm me so I can move towards more of a meditative state.
Visualization is always helpful when beginning meditation. If you are new to visualization, when you begin it is not about letting the images come to you. Use your imagination to develop a scene. For instance, after grounding and centering, to clear your mind of your varied thoughts, imagine each thought as it comes to you as a piece of paper. Take that piece of paper and place it in a box, you can get to it later and nothing will change. Another thought? That is alright and you do not need it now, save it for later in your box.
When I first started trying to clear my mind and meditate, I found that I would remember all of the things that I had been forgetting to do. I benefited from having a piece of paper next to me that I could jot down a few words to remind me of it for after I meditated. If I did not jot it down, I would keep thinking about it and not let it go. With a quick note, I put the idea into a box for later. I didn’t need it in that moment. I could let it go.
Letting go is the start of meditation. Releasing what you are holding onto. Some may say, looking for emptiness in the clutter. When you get used to letting things go in this manor, drifting into a place without thoughts can become easy. Start by working towards this for five to ten minutes a day. Over time you may want to increase this as you see benefits in stress reduction and changes in your mood.
- Find a quiet space and breathe
- Ground and center yourself
- Allow yourself to release your thoughts
- Maintain a place without thoughts
More intermediate meditation techniques can be explored when you are able to clear your thoughts for a length of time. Do not worry about this because the real benefits to meditation are found in all of steps 1-4. Happy Meditating!
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