Meditation: 6 simple tips for beginners

Puloma

Image: Rachel White

Imagine a moment of blissful stillness, a space without a single thought. What if each day you could tap into an inner sanctuary that left you feeling lighter and happier?

Just ten minutes of mental silence each day can free the mind from thought, and in turn, alleviate stress.

1. Dim the lights

Set a relaxed vibe in your surroundings by leaving on just a lamp, or even just a candle. The flickering of a candle flame can aid meditation by offering something to rest the gaze on.

2. Sit comfortably

Sitting crossed-legged can become a strain on the lower back. Sit on the floor with a cushion or block under the sit bone. This will help tilt the pelvis and provide better alignment for the spine. Sitting on the floor with the sofa or wall as a backrest also works well.

3. Rest the hands

A common mudra is the light connection between the tips of the thumb and index finger, while resting the back of the hands on the thighs. In Sanskrit, this is known as the Gyan mudra, and is believed to help impart wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. Mudras can feel a little forced when you are new to mediation. If this is the case, simply rest the hands together, palm upward in the lap.

StressSand

4. Relax the gaze

If the flickering of a candle is distracting, lightly close the eyes. Notice any tension you might have around the eye and consciously release it. Closing the eyes should feel effortless. If your eyes dart around behind the lid, bring them to stillness as if gazing forward, or even slightly upward and inward toward the ‘third eye’. The stillness of the eyes will help release tension in the brow and jaw.

5. Notice your breath

You might sense a shallowness of the breath. Take a few long and steady inhales and exhales through the nose and become aware of the natural rise and fall of the belly. While you focus on the breath, you might sense the rapidness of the heartbeat. In allowing the breath to slow and deepen, have a sense of how this calms the heart. After relaxing the body this way, you can continue to focus on each inhale and exhale. And then…

6. Let go of the mind

Mediation is a practice, and you may find it hard to let go at first. Don’t worry about ‘not doing it right’. When the body has let go of tension, the mind can begin to let go too. You might have an incessant pattern of thought or concerns; you might do a mental shopping list or have irritating lyrics whirring around your head. When you actually start to notice these things, you become conscious of how important it is to break these patterns of thought. Try not to indulge any thought; this will develop the space between each of them – and move toward the bliss of mental silence.

It is normal that in experiencing fleeting moments of stillness, the mind suddenly resurfaces and wants to label it: ‘I just experienced mental silence!’ And so begins the inner chatter of thought and analysis. Bring the attention back to the breath, and again allow the thoughts to slow, subside, and even disappear – if only for a brief and humbling moment.

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Comments
9 Responses to “Meditation: 6 simple tips for beginners”
  1. Puloma says:

    I enjoy meditation. I need a particular environment for meditation, rather than a place. I like to meditate in quite place where I can see the open sky.

    • sarina says:

      Hi Puloma, thanks for your contribution. I agree, sensing the expanse of sky can be a great way to let go, especially when the sun is warming your face!

      • Puloma says:

        Thanks Sarina. Actually, the open sky helps me to think outside the box. May be, it is for the visual effect. It helps me to come out from the limit as I can see the sky 🙂

  2. fonofficial says:

    This is great advice, especially during the busiest time of semester when it feels like assignments and exams are slowly controlling your life. I enjoy meditating, it helps so much and it is great to take time out for yourself and enter another realm free from the stress of assessments. ‘Mental silence’ is a good place to try and get to, but it is sometimes difficult to completely let go of your thoughts and worries.

    • sarina says:

      Yes it is a difficult thing to do, letting go can seem to last only a few seconds. When you have assignments and exams approaching, even a small breather for the mind is a great way to reset the focus for study. Good luck!

  3. bepositive says:

    Great tips! It’s so easy to get caught up in our thoughts and worries, practicing meditation and getting some ‘mental silence’ can make a huge difference.

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