Once the domain of monks and yogis, meditation has recently surged in popularity among everyday people for a variety of reasons. Whether you want to reduce stress, improve your physical health or form a deeper connection with your spiritual nature, meditation is an effective way to enhance your quality of life on every level. Many people are intimidated by the practice, but meditation actually requires no special skills or esoteric knowledge. All you need is an intent to broaden your perspective. The following online meditation guide can help you begin.
Getting Started with Meditation
There are as many ways to meditate as there are meditators. The key to developing a successful meditation practice is to find what works for you. Your own sense of comfort and contentment with the practice will ensure that you return to it time and again. The following guidelines can help you set the stage for a meditation session:
- Disconnect from the world. Tell your family not to disturb you, lock the door and turn off your phone. This is your time to quiet your mind and get in touch with your spirit. The world can wait for a few minutes.
- Create the right atmosphere. While props are not necessary for meditation, some people find them helpful. You can simply sit on the floor to meditate, or you can sit on a cushion or a chair. The point is to make yourself comfortable but not so comfortable that you may fall asleep. Playing soft, peaceful music or burning a scented candle or incense may also enhance your meditation.
- Wear comfortable clothing. There’s nothing more distracting during meditation than tight or itchy clothing. Dress in soft, flowing clothes that do not bind or restrict the body.
- Choose the same place and time every day. While you can certainly meditate anywhere and at any hour, it’s important to have at least one meditation session at the same time and location every day. The more regular your practice, the easier meditation becomes.
- Drop your expectations. Friends may regale you with stories of mystical experiences during meditation, but you should not enter a meditation session desiring a specific outcome. Just allow your spirit to take over and trust that your experience is the one you are meant to have in the moment.
Beginner’s Online Meditation Guide
- Find a comfortable position. Sit upright on the floor or on a chair with your spine erect and your body still and relaxed. Rest your hands wherever they feel most comfortable, which may be on your lap or on your knees.
- Close your eyes softly. While some meditators keep their eyes open all the way or just slightly, beginners may become too distracted with this method.
- Take slow breaths. You will notice that your breathing is shallow in the beginning, but your breaths will become deeper and slower over time.
- Focus on your breath. Clear your mind and observe your breath cycles.
- Let your thoughts come and go. In the beginning, you will have difficulty clearing your mind of random thoughts. Simply acknowledge those thoughts, send them on their way and go back to focusing on your breathing. Occasionally, suppressed emotions will come to the surface and refuse to be sent on their way. In such cases, allow yourself to feel without resistance. These emotions arise for a reason, and the only way to let them go is to feel them first. After you’ve released those strong emotions, return to following your breath.
- Keep it short. Don’t attempt a marathon meditation session your first time. Start with about five minutes and work your way up to longer sessions.
- Gently bring yourself back to awareness of your physical body. Keep your eyes closed for a few minutes as you wiggle your toes, stretch and return to a conscious state.
- Keep a journal. The best way to measure your progress is to journal your experiences after every meditation session. Without judgment, note what happened during each session, and document how you feel physically and emotionally after the session is finished.
The Effects of Meditation
So what’s the purpose of meditation? Aside from its well-documented role in stress reduction, which in turn reduces stress-related medical conditions, meditation offers numerous emotional and spiritual benefits. A reminder of your spiritual nature, meditation adds balance to your waking perspective of just being a physical body and a brain. As you deepen your practice, you will cease to think or feel your body during meditation and receive a daily reminder that you are a spiritual being. When you connect with your higher self in this manner, you take with you a sense of peace when you return to your worldly life, and you’ll find that solutions to your problems and spiritual insights naturally come to you. With regular use of our online meditation guide, you’ll discover the joys and benefits of connecting with your spirit and remembering your divine nature.