This is Part One of a series of different ways to meditate for beginners. This series is a brief introduction to a variety of ways you can create improved health and happiness through meditation. I hope you will find specific ways to pursue that will work best for your unique being. Advanced practitioners may want to follow along as well. You may find new information to use in your daily practice.
Part One: Stillness Meditation Practices
Stillness meditation practices, with an image of someone sitting cross legged are usually what people think of when they think of meditating. These practices are also some of the more challenging types of meditation for many of us due to their very nature. We are simply out of practice of being still. They are also some of the best practices to use for dissolving blocks and transforming the false understanding you may have of yourself.
I typically recommend a beginner start with three minutes per day of some form of stillness meditation practice. Twice a day if possible. That may not seem like much, but even one minute a day of complete awareness can work miracles.
Meditation is never about forcing yourself. Gentle persuasion is encouraged. So, set three minutes aside each day and try out a new stillness meditation practice until you find the one that feels the best for you.
Starting with your Breath
To keep from sounding completely redundant, every meditation starts with your breath. When I start with my breath I notice how the air feels as it passes into my nose, into the center of myself, filling my belly. With an in breath, you are nourishing and sustaining yourself. With your out breath you are releasing toxins from your body and nourishing and sustaining the world around you. Be present to that and allow your breath to slow and deepen into a naturally relaxed state.
Mantra Meditation or Centering Prayer
These are both very similar, with centering prayer having a higher emphasis on connecting with Spirit or a religious entity. This is probably one of the easiest methods of stillness meditations to begin to practice as it gives you somewhere to focus your attention.
A mantra can be a word or a sentence. OM (Oh-MMMM) is a sacred word and is thought to contain the vibration of “ALL”. Draw the word out through a natural and relaxed in and out breath cycle. Allow deepening of the breath and the word as you settle into your relaxation. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the word.
With centering prayer, you may decide to use the name of your religious entity, or words that resonate with you on that level.
This is another easier form of meditation as it also gives you something to do. It also helps stimulate your imagination and visualization skills. As you become present to your breathing, visualize that your breath reaching down into the ground, like tree roots reaching into the earth. These roots will come from the top of your head down through your spine, down through your hands and feet. Reach deeper into the earth with each out breath, and begin to imagine energy from the earth’s core coming up into your body with each out breath. Feel how you are connected to the earth and that it is accepting all your stress. The stress is melted away from the heat of the center of the earth and comes back to you as peace.
Insight meditation can be done sitting or lying and focuses on the breath, as all the other stillness meditation practices can. Breathe slowly and naturally and just watch what comes up. If thoughts come up, just notice them without judgment and allow them to pass by while you gently return yourself to your following your breath. This is a practice of curiosity in connecting with the part of you that “watches” your thoughts and your senses. In essence, you are watching the watcher without thinking about it, just experiencing it in the moment.
Being silent in meditation, without the mantra’s, centering or guided meditations is an advanced skill. I suggest giving it a try from time to time, but it may take some practice with other forms of meditation until this method seems more comfortable or natural. Turn off all noise, or at least as much as possible. You can lie down or sit down, whichever you are most comfortable with and just be in the quiet, with your breath.
There are a variety of guided meditations addressing many topics and can be listened to and/or watched. They are helpful in reaching deeper states of meditation or attaining a specific meditative goal. I suggest only using them on occasion. They can be the perfect tool, but you don’t want them to become a crutch. Here’s a guided meditation I created just for you! Runtime is 10 min 31 sec.
Use this smorgasbord of meditation techniques to begin or strengthen your practice today. You can mix them, match them, or even create your own. These are just introductions and you may wish to pursue deeper investigation into each specific meditation style. Please contact me with any questions.