Meditation for Beginners
Meditation is something that intrigues many people, particularly in modern society with its transition into modern culture and the prevalence of classes in community centres and the masses of material online; however, rather than being encouraging, this abundance and acceptance of meditation into mainstream culture can actually be discouraging for first timers. The material and advertisements can be overwhelming for newbies who just want to know where to begin and the basics of meditation. This brief guide to meditation for beginners is designed to present the initial benefits of the art to new practitioners and tips and how to get started.
The stereotypical image of meditation is hard to shake
Be honest, when you think of meditation what do you picture? Is it an incense-infused temple full of monks going “omm” or somebody sat cross-legged on their living room rug watching a candle burn? There are many misconceptions over the level of intensity and training that is required to able to meditate and the processes that are involved. Meditation has strong links to spiritualism and Buddhism but it does not have to be this way at all because religious meditation only applies to those using the process to connect to their gods. It is easy for anyone to enjoy secular meditation at home for relaxation and peace without the chanting and there are plenty of ways for newcomers to get involved without the need for specialised training or trips to monasteries.
The purpose of meditation and its potential benefits
Misconceptions aside, the growing popularity of meditation shows that some people are finding it accessible and enjoyable; why is this the case and what benefits are people getting from it? Having a goal in meditation is important if you want to have a result and the quest for spiritual enlightenment is not the answer most practitioners give. Most people will take up meditation for health reasons – although there will of course be a minority that join classes just because they feel they should be seen to be taking part in this new fad.
Meditation has a number of potential benefits for health and well-being, from mental issues like stress relief and aiding depression to physical effects such as blood pressure and immunity. Some people question the real potential of some simple breathing exercises and introspection for medical issues, particularly when the evidence for immunity and cancer links are a little thin on the ground, but there is a growing number of studies into the true implications of meditation and its effect on stress seems to be undeniable.
Some potential health benefits make a lot of sense, like depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia because of the calming, relaxing nature of the approach and stress relief is a simple, common goal that can be achieved.
How do you achieve these goals? What does meditation actually involve?
Now you know that meditation really is accessible and that there are plenty of potential benefits for taking it up, there are still plenty of questions to answer about getting started and the best course of action. Do you want to work alone or in a class and, if you do work alone, what key principles should you be adopting? There are four important factors to consider when meditating – focused attention, relaxed breathing, a quiet setting and comfort.
Each of these can be achieved in the comfort of your own home if you have a focal point or mantra to concentrate on and a nice peaceful space. Alternatively, you could join a group specialising in meditation for beginners and let a teacher guide you through the process with breathing exercises and visualisation techniques.
So what should you take away from this guide on meditation for beginners? If there is one thing to keep from this brief introduction to the misconceptions, benefits and methods of meditation is it the fact that you should forget the stereotypes and concerns that have built up in your mind and see it for the simplistic, accessible act that it really is. You do not have to be intimidated about trying out meditation for yourself because there are beginner classes and resources available to help you and guide you on your own, personal journey to relaxation, anxiety release and beyond.