Meditation is an accessible way of calming the body, centering the mind, and developing the human spirit. It requires no lesson plan, no strict textbook – only an openness of mind and a willingness to learn.
So where does one begin on the path? To get started here are 10 basic steps towards beginner meditation practice. The only rules? Breathe naturally, go slowly, and be patient with yourself.
- Begin by sitting. While you can certainly meditate while standing, a seated position will allow you more comfort and stamina as you begin.
- Close your eyes. Turn the focus away from the outside world, and begin looking within.
- Breathe naturally. No need for deep, heavy breaths – simply let the air flow naturally and peacefully.
- Release physical tension. Begin to notice your back, neck and shoulders – listen to the body’s signals and relax your muscle groups as needed.
- Allow the mind to be. Racing thoughts are normal for beginners and experts alike. Become an impartial observer, and allow the thoughts to float by without attaching meaning to them.
- Self-compassion. As you settle in, begin with a statement or feeling of deep compassion for your whole self, physical, mental and spiritual.
- Compassion for others. Move away from the self and begin to project your feelings of loving-kindness towards family members, friends, and cherished teachers.
- Set aside 5 minutes a day. A committed yet simple schedule can help provide a rhythm to your meditative practice.
- Have patience. It is extremely rare to “get it” on the first try – give it time and don’t pressure yourself with all-or-nothing thinking.
- Return to the world. When you feel ready, open your eyes and carry your inner peace into the surrounding environment as you continue your day.