A Very Short Guide to Meditation

This is a very short guide to mindfulness meditation. If you want a few reasons for why you should meditate, you can read my post: 5 reasons to start meditating

You will need:

  • Yourself
  • A timer
  • A comfortable place to sit

How to begin meditating:

  1. Sit down with your back straight (or lie down)
  2. Set the timer to two minutes
  3. Focus on your breathing

And that’s it.

You don’t need to get into a complicated lotus position. You don’t need to wait until the world is silent.

All you have to do is sit still and focus on your breathing. When a random thought pops into your head, gently bring your focus back to your breathing.

You’ll find it difficult at first. Your mind will race in many different directions simply because you aren’t used to slowing down for couple of minutes in the day but it will get easier. You only have to do it for 2 minutes. Then do it again the next day. Maybe in a week you’ll increase it to three minutes.

It’ll get easier and you’ll be able to meditate for a longer time. Then you’ll reap more benefits of meditating every day.

You’ll feel calm, relaxed and more mindful of the things you do.

Mindfulness is Beautiful

For my last post, I gave 5 reasons to start meditating and I want to focus on the last point I made about increased mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a beautiful thing.

A few days ago, I was drinking a hot chocolate after my lectures and I realised something wonderful. I was enjoying the drink.

I wasn’t thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of the day.

I wasn’t self-conscious about being alone.

I wasn’t feeling sad because of the pain I was in.

I wasn’t reading anything or looking at pictures.

I was just enjoying a hot chocolate.

I was simply immersed in what I was doing in the present moment and loved the experience. I didn’t need to do anything else . This is something I hadn’t actively done until I began meditating.

Of course, this doesn’t need to be limited to drinking hot chocolate. When I’m talking to other people, I give them more of my attention. When I’m writing, I immerse myself with the ideas I’m trying to get onto the page. When I’m walking, I take in my surroundings instead of rushing to where I’m going.

Throughout the day, I feel that we don’t allow ourselves get properly immersed in the things we’re doing because we’re scared of being bored. Even when we’re walking, the desire to look at our phone becomes overwhelming. When we’re talking to other people, our attention seems to shoot off into a different direction.

The beauty of mindfulness comes from its simplicity. Experiencing what’s happening now instead of being a slave to superficial desires and distractions, allows us to experience what we’re doing with complete immersion. You don’t need to be doing something all the time. You’re allowed to spend time with your thoughts.

The experience of just being without external distractions or harmful self-criticism is something I wish I experienced more.

Being more mindful of the simple things you do everyday definitely takes practice. You’ll need to remind yourself many times to bring your focus back to what you’re doing. Sometimes you’ll be frustrated, other times you’ll feel experience small moments of happiness. You can do this by practising mindfulness meditation or making an active effort to focus on the small things you do everyday.

With this being said, go and enjoy your hot chocolate :)

Do you have any similar experiences you want to share?

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1. The picture comes from dharmaschool.co.uk

5 Reasons to Start Meditating

I’ve been meditating for about 6 months now. It nearly skipped my mind because it feels like such a normal thing to do but I feel like I’ve learned a few important things during that time.

Here are 5 reasons to start meditating.

1. Increased Focus 

Staying focused on things can be difficult because we have to remind ourselves not to succumb to small distractions. That requires energy and it’s significantly easier to be distracted than ignore them.

While meditating, you aim to just focus on your breathing (at least the mindfulness approach to meditation). Meditating daily means that you’ll improve your ability to remain focused on one thing instead of following every thought that pops into your head.

I no longer feel the need to follow everything that pops into my head because I understand them for what they are. Small urges.

2. Less guilt

Noticing that you’ve failed to do something we think you should have done can result in a lot of self criticism. It can be extremely harmful to your overall well-being and difficult to stop. I’m still quite self critical. However, while meditating I don’t have those feelings at all.

It’s a beautiful moment. Even if it is brief.

When thoughts of inadequacy rush into your head, it’s tempting to follow them into an even darker train of thoughts. However, all you have to do is bring your focus gently back to your breathing. You’ll probably find it quite difficult to do but it gets much easier with time.

The practice is something you can do even when you aren’t meditating.

3. Less stress 

When we’re stressed, we’re often worried about things that we need to do in the future or there are too many things that are going on in the present moment. We feel overwhelmed and want it all to stop but we can’t make it stop.

Meditation is fantastic at reducing stress. When you meditate you’re just trying to focus on a single thing instead of allowing yourself get consumed with the various commitments you have. Taking a few deep breaths and slowing yourself down will let you approach the things you need to do with a clear mind.

4. Better posture

I have a bad back problem and tend to slouch a lot because of it. While the problem is far from being over, my posture has improved slightly. Both in front of the computer and while walking.

Meditation promotes a better posture because you need to be fairly alert. Eventually, good posture will become a habit. It’s improved my concentration and breathing is actually easier!

Remember, having a good posture does not mean keeping your back completely straight. That’d hurt more if you have upper back problems.

5. Increased mindfulness

When I think about my position before I start meditating and now, I’d say that meditating is a positive aspect in my life now.

However, the biggest influence it has had on my everyday living isn’t the act of sitting down and meditating. It’s how I go about my day.

I think about the things I’m doing instead of thinking about what it’ll do for the future. I savour meals and drinks more instead of rushing them for no good reason. I get completely involved in what I’m doing instead of continuously dividing my attention with unimportant things.

Ultimately, I actually feel like I’m experiencing the things I do instead of just doing them. That is what it’s like to live in the now.

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If you want to know how it felt after 1 month, you can read my last post on meditation. It’ll show you my experience when I first started. It can be quite frustrating but like anything else, it requires a bit of persistence to get used to!

I hope at least one of these reasons is a reason to begin meditating for at least 5 minutes a day.

If you already meditate, how would you convince someone else to begin? I’d love to hear your reasons! If you don’t, do you think you’ll try it?

1. You may ask why I didn’t do 6 reasons after 6 months to meditate. You may not. Either way, I don’t have an answer to your question.

2. If you feel like a peaceful person after reading this, you can share the peace by sharing this post.

3. I like meditation and will write more about it. If you want to keep updated on whatever I write, you should follow the blog. It’s easier than not laughing at any of my jokes.

My first month of meditation

I’ve been meditating for a month now. It was one of my projects for this whole self development idea and so far I’m glad I started doing it.

At first I thought meditation was silly. It was only reserved for monks and the like. I wouldn’t really benefit from it in the slightest but I could never find much negativity about the practice. It would help with all sorts of things from being more focused to feeling more relaxed throughout the day. I knew I wanted to try it but struggled to put down the crude misconceptions I had about it.

The first 2 weeks were tough. I set my timer for five minutes but I couldn’t even clear my mind for few seconds. I would be thinking about a variety of things. The thoughts ranged from why I wanted to meditate to what I wanted to eat for breakfast. This happened while I continuously told myself to shut up.

Then it got a bit easier. I changed the timer to 10 minutes and focusing on my breathing wasn’t as difficult but the moments of quiet and focus were still rare. However, I did notice that I felt calmer afterwards. Not that I was always stressed in the mornings but I appreciated the silence much more than I had before.

I continuously told myself that it was too difficult because I couldn’t stop thinking about all sorts of things while I kept on saying ‘shut up and be quiet’. It became easier eventually. I had brief moments of peace and quiet when I stopped thinking about useless things and cleared my mind. It was similar to the feeling of finally getting into a good rhythm while running.

Do I recommend you start meditating? Yes. You probably have the time for at least 5 minutes. It might be a bit difficult (in fact, it still is for me) but the benefits are worthwhile and I expect the experience to only improve.