For most of us Westerners starting a meditation practice. it can be a big change and sitting at home for the first week can be a little intimidating. Here are some tips and meditation techniques to guide your practice so it’s easy and will turn into a positive habit.
Why Start A Meditation Practice?
Scientists have now confirmed the benefits of meditation are profound. Studies now show meditation can help you reduce anxiety and depression, deeper relaxation, a sharper mind, better immune function, and gain control over your emotions.
A major Stoic meditation is on understanding the things out of our control and those things in our control. And yes there are also Buddhist texts talking about the same thing.
Know why you want to start a meditation practice,and realize your motivations and intentions may change over time.
To do this meditation some teachers will recommend following the breath, a sound, or even an external object like a rock or even a Buddhist statue.
This practice is about letting go of your thoughts and focusing on what ever you are doing. So if you are doing sitting practice then letting go of the thoughts and just be there with your practice.
Wake Up Meditation
Similar to mindfulness while doing a task or activity. It is easier to start out with a repetitive task like shaving or eating. There are a lot of zen books written on bringing your practice to life in everyday activities.
When Is The Best Time To Practice?
- Mornig Meditation is a great way to start the day, clearing the mind to start the day fresh.
- A large number of higher management (some think 80%) practice meditation. Stress can be very high at this level of management and I’m sure some practice at work ususally after lunch.
- Evening Meditation will help relax the body and mind for a good night sleep. This is also a good way to start a dream practice.
Many meditation instructions recommend starting with 10 or 15 minutes but this can be stressful or harmful for someone just starting.
I’ve heard one teacher say,” Get off the cushion just before you’re agitated.” I like this because it makes you pay attention.
Try starting out by setting a time to sit after a daily cycle like brushing your teeth or making the bed and just sit for a few breaths.
After a few days or weeks, your meditation practice will become a strong habit and much easier to extend the sitting or journaling time when you are ready.
Creating the habit as being easy and joyful makes it easier to come back to the cushion day after day.
From someone who started meditating after back surgery and not in good shape:
You won’t find the best meditation cushion.
Remember you will be starting to site in a new posture without support except for the cushion. It’s going to be awkward.
Not to worry, for the first few months try as many different cushions as possible and at home, be creative, try pillows and blankets. And don’t worry it will be a little unsettling and fun at first (well it was for me).
I’ve been using a crescent cotton filled pillow at home for the last 20+ years and just purchased a buckwheat filled round cushion. I’m looking for something that’s more flexible and something to build a strong posture and back.
I would love to hear about your new cushion.
Creating Daily Habits
Starting positive actions like a meditation practice or writing in your journal can seem daunting but by starting with small or baby steps makes it easier to create a daily habit.
Everyone, teacher, monks and simple meditators agree, daily practice is important, even more so the the amount of time you practice. So start slowly and constantly.
Books For Beginner Meditations
These books have been especially choosen for their guided beginner meditation techniques.