Meditation has existed for thousands of years and is a method of allowing the conscious mind to come to a state of stillness and effortlessness. When done properly it helps to free the mind from fixating on worries and negative thoughts and brings a sense of calm, joy and quiet.
Many people live with constant stress, worry, and can’t seem to find the time to relax. Meditation for just a few minutes each day helps relieve this stress and to improve overall quality of life, including physical aches and pains in the body.
Meditation can be done anywhere, at any time, which means you can unlock that sea of tranquility no matter how chaotic life is around you. This article will cover the basics of meditation for beginners to help you begin your journey to better health, happiness and calm in a few easy steps.
Step One: Commit to meditate every day
If you want to get into meditation, you really need to commit to doing it every day. Even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes, you will notice a big difference if you do it like a morning ritual. Try setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual and wake up, sit up in bed and meditate before you start the day. It’s good to do it first thing so you don’t get busy and forget, but also because when you start to do it properly, you will notice you start the day feeling so much better in yourself when you meditate.
You should probably know that when you start, you’ll be pretty bad at meditating, but be kind to yourself and just keep at it. You might find it comforting to know that everyone is terrible in the beginning, because we are all so used to focusing on our mind and thoughts and it’s hard to break that cycle. But the more you do it, the better you will get at training your attention to be in feeling, rather than thinking.
It often takes at least 6 weeks of meditating every single day to just start to experience the positive feelings associated with meditation – the peaceful feelings, the feeling happy for no reason and relaxation in your whole body – trust that you will experience these benefits if you persist.
And that is the important part – making the commitment to actually sitting down and doing a meditation every day. You will never get better at it unless you practice. The length of the meditation doesn’t matter. The place where you meditate doesn’t matter. The main thing is that you do it!
Step Two: Find Your Comfortable Position
Take a few minutes before you meditate to relax your body and just breathe, as it will help calm your body and your mind.
Finding the most comfortable position to meditate in is crucial to be able to fully relax.
This is because if you are constantly focused on a sore spot, you won’t be able to focus your attention where it needs to be.
Typically, meditation is done while sitting on a cushion on the ground, and in a posture that has you sitting with your back straight. Of course, if that’s not a comfortable position for you, there are several others to try. The whole goal is to provide you the most comfort without having to think about how awkward you’re sitting.
You can use a chair, cross your legs, sit on a meditation bench, or even in bed. Again, all that matters is your comfort, you’re well balanced, and able to relax. It is recommended, though, that you remain in an upright position, so you don’t fall asleep. The pictures and statues of reclining Buddhas indicate a level of attainment rather than a way of meditation. When we lie down, the body is programmed to go to sleep!
Step Three: The Development of Stillness
Although meditation happens by itself when you’re doing nothing, the practice for meditation to occur, is about training our attention. Many people believe they are meditating by sitting and day dreaming every morning for half an hour. This is not the case. They are just day dreaming and while it may give them some rest, it has nothing to do with meditation.
Meditation is about being present, not about being absent. Being in the present is about having a gentle mind and present awareness.
There are so many meditation techniques around, all with varying purposes and results. At AcuEnergetics®, we encourage our students to start with the development of stillness, before moving on to more advanced meditations.
Simple meditations like the Inner Smile and the Inner Breath (enlighten: Vol. 1) work by redirecting our attention from the mind to the body. Attention is like petrol, wherever you direct it, energy will follow. If the attention is chained to the mind, the mind will go spinning forever.
Step Four: The Inner Breath Meditation
This is perhaps the most ancient meditation – The Buddha’s favourite. It is a simple and profound practice of observation of the breath, not from the story mind, but from the feeling and listening sense.
In the beginning of learning the practice of the Inner Breath, it’s best to count the breaths. This is easy. Just notice the breath coming in and out and count one. After one cycle of in and out breathing, count two and so on until you get to ten. Then start counting backwards until you get to one and then go up again and so on. At first our attention will only grasp the beginning of each in and out-breath, but after a while we’ll begin to really feel, listen to and watch the breathing deeply. When this happens, we can let go of the counting.
You should understand that this practice is just about training your attention, so don’t get serious about it. Attention is the one thing we need in everything we do and there is never any specific training for it. When we use our attention, we usually concentrate it instead of relaxing into it. If you watch children playing at the beach building sandcastles, this is the way. Relaxed but involved.
To begin your meditation:
- Don’t be serious
- Seriousness and concentration have no place in meditation. Be light, open and relaxed and just see what happens.
- Let your mind relax
- Be interested in the breath rather than forcing yourself to do this. The Jewish mystic Jesus said, ‘Unless you are as little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom.’ This is a description of our mind in meditation practice. When we were small children, playing on the beach or in the garden, we were happily, gently and vitally interested in the current pursuit. That was before we learnt effort. Put effort away and be vitally and happily interested. Don’t get serious – being serious merely trains us in being serious and we already know how to do that.
- Gently become aware of the breath
- Not by focusing hard on the breath, but by being present in our body and noticing our breath because we are, after all, alive and breathing.
- Watch with your mind, listen with your ears and feel with your body
- If you just watch the breath with your mind, you will be easily distracted or just succeed in freezing the mind rather than freeing it. Put your attention on the physical feelings of air movement in and out of the nose and also on listening to the sound of the breath to become more aware.
- Gradually let your breath become finer until you can’t hear it, but you’re still listening
- When the breathing is noisy, the mind is noisy. When the breathing is quiet, the mind is quiet. Don’t try and hold the breath to keep it quiet or struggle with it at all. Just gradually let it become a little finer, then a little finer again – until you can’t hear it, but you are still listening.
Step 5: Meditate anywhere, anytime
There is always noise and distraction around us. So if you are waiting for the perfect time or place to meditate, you’ll be waiting forever. The time to start is now. Don’t be bothered about seeking out quiet spaces or cutting off from outside noises. Anyone can be quiet in a quiet place. Quiet places have nothing to do with meditation and if you try to block things out of your consciousness, then that blocking is really all you are doing. Just allow everything to be as it is and be with the breath.
You can meditate anywhere you like. Maybe in bed when you wake in the morning, or at the park, or on the bus – wherever you are, just be with the breath…and enjoy yourself!
By Kevin Niv Farrow & Rochelle Taylor
Kevin is the Founder and Director of AcuEnergetics® as well as a Master AcuEnergetics® Practitioner and Teacher of AcuEnergetics®. Kevin has practised and studied meditation and the energetic system since 1974. He has taught since 2000 and his published writings, meditation CD’s and teachings have brought him worldwide recognition as a unique and practical meditation teacher and an expert in the field of energy medicine. He currently teaches in Australia, USA, India, Asia and Europe. For more information about Kevin, visit Kevin’s full biography.
Rochelle is the General Manager of AcuEnergetics®, as well as a Senior AcuEnergetics® Practitioner and Teacher. She has been practicing AcuEnergetics® since 2005 and is fully qualified to teach AcuEnergetics® Level 1 and AcuEnergetics® Level 2. She is currently a co-teacher for AcuEnergetics® Level 3 and the AcuEnergetics® Practitioner Training.