How To Meditate: A Beginner’s Guide

To enjoy Jedi-mind powers, meditate you must. This is the second post in our meditation series. First, why meditate? Now, how to meditate.

In the last post, we discussed how meditation is the perfect tool for sharpening the saw.

By harvesting some of that Jedi-like focus and razor-sharp mental clarity, meditation allows us to stride more purposefully through life’s murky foliage.

“But how does one go about undertaking said meditational activities?”

Very good question indeed. Which will be answered in this very post.

The purpose of this post is not to give an intensive account of meditation, but purely to show how an extreme beginner, read -me, can take advantage of it.

Let’s go!

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

First, what actually is meditation? Well, in Buddhist tradition, the word “meditation” actually refers to a whole group of activities, exactly like the word “sports” refers to all the different sports.

So, “what is meditation?” means many things to many people.

For example, back in the ol’ times, hunter-gatherers would reach meditative states by staring into the fire. (Our world may have changed, but the primal magic of staring into flames hasn’t.)

Then there’s the Buddhists. And the Japanese samurai warriors of old. Then there’s the legions of Tai-Chi advocates. Then there’s Yoda. Then there’s us folks trying to stay focused in the hectic modern world.

Many things to many people.

But in general, the definition –

Meditate: To focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.

 

How To Get Started

The key word in meditation is concentration. If we can find a nice spot where there’s no distractions, we’ve got ourselves some prime retail space to meditate.

Where?

Find somewhere that limits distractions. I.e – neither too hot nor too cold. Not too noisy, but not completely quiet.

Go au natural with the beach, on a mountain, in a park, in a forest….

Or go normal with your room. Or your house.

The choice is yours. Pick somewhere that’s comfortable, but not so comfortable that you’ll fall asleep. Sitting on a squishy mat vs. a bed of nails vs. a bed. (Pick the mat.)

When?

When you meditate is going to depend on what you want out of it.

Do you want to begin the day with Jedi-like focus? Or do you want to end the day feeling completely relaxed?

For the former, meditate before work. For the latter, after work.

I’ve never tried during work, or mid-lecture, so who am I to say that it’s not happening?

Personally, I prefer meditating first thing in the morning. For me, mornings are quiet, peaceful, and the hustle and bustle of the day has yet to unfold.

Yeah, but, how do you actually meditate?

Well, that’s up to you as well. You could listen to music, listen to a meditation soundtrack, or listen to nothing at all. You could meditate for 1 minute, 10 minutes or an hour. You could stand up, sit down, open your eyes, close your eyes….

The possibilities are endless, which is why I’ll share my own experience, and what works well for me. I’m a mere padawan on this journey, so this isn’t gospel – find a way that works for you.

First, I go on to Youtube, and search “Holosync meditation”.

There are two videos to use – one is 7 minutes, the other 15 minutes. If I want a long meditation session (i.e when I was just starting out in the summer, and now), then I pick the 7 minute video. With time, 7 minutes is too short, so I’ll switch to the 15 minute one.

Holosync works with headphones that play through both ears differently (stereo headphones), so I grab myself a pair of those and plug myself in.

I then sit down cross-legged on a squishy mat, close my eyes and press play.

Whilst keeping good posture, I focus on the background music only. The goal: to think of nothing but the background music. (In the 7 minute video, it’s running water. In the 15 minute video, it’s the trance-like background music.)

During the first couple of minutes of this, your mind will wander off like crazy.

Water. Water. Water. Breakfast! Bre…water. Water. Water. Hmmm, wonder what I’ll do tod- water! Water. Water. Water.

Every time your mind drifts off into another topic, return your focus to the background music.

Repeat this process, and BAM, you’re meditating!

As you keep refocusing your mind, you’ll find that your mind slowly empties, whilst also becoming aware of your most “important” (for lack of a better word) thoughts. You may also get some nuggets raked up from your subconscious.

(As you keep training your concentration powers through meditation, you’ll find that you can meditate longer with time. So when 7 minutes becomes very easy, then up the time as you see fit.)

After the music stops playing, I’ll open my eyes, and write down daily goals in a journal.

Holosync, 7 minutes, as soon as I get up, on a squishy mat. That’s what works for me.

But as the Turkish proverb goes, “Every man has his own way of eating yoghurt”.

 

When Turkish proverbs were a thing, they probably didn't have this many ways of eating yoghurt.
When Turkish proverbs were a thing, they probably didn’t have this many ways of eating yoghurt.

Take-away: How to Meditate

  1. Find a peaceful, comfortable place.
  2. Pick a time of day.
  3. Listen to holosync/watch a candle etc..
  4. Focus on something. As thoughts seep into your mind, re-focus on the thing.
  5. As your concentration powers reach Jedi-like, up the meditation time as you see fit.

So there we have it – a Padawan’s guide to meditation. Give it a bash and see how it works for you!

As always, Dream Big Start Small!

Lots of love,

Iain


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photo credit: Not quite Piako via photopin (license)