How to meditate for beginners? How do you meditate and where do you start? We keep hearing about the benefits of meditation – from boosting creativity and productivity to improving blood pressure and connecting with yourself – but if you’re a busy person where on earth do you start and what meditation methods actually work? How do you get around the common roadblocks to meditation and create a practice that works?
Today’s episode is the first of a two-part series on how to meditate for beginners.
I’m regularly asked by my clients and people I meet why is meditation so good for us and how do we do it? I’ve also noticed there are some common roadblocks around meditation – that can easily be addressed.
There is a lot to cover here so I’m creating this series to demystify some of the mystery and help you step into meditation in a way that works for you.
So in this episode, I’ll share with you some of the benefits of meditation, some of the common roadblocks to meditation, why I meditate, and some of my experiences of meditation as a learner driver and now a more experienced meditator.
Next week I’ll cover why meditation is such a vital part of self-empowerment and share with you how to meditate for beginners. I’ll also share with you how to get access to my free How to Meditate for Beginner’s Guide so if you’d like to take this further, then you’’ll be able to access that. To get onto the waitlist for that guide email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Are The Benefits of Meditation?
There is definitely something to meditation. It is something the ancients in every culture did and now scientific research is starting to prove the benefits.
At a Physical Level:
At a physical level meditation improves:
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep problems
- Tension headaches.
At an Emotional Level:
At an emotional level meditation reduces:
At an emotional level meditation improves:
- Overall resilience.
At a Mental Level
When it comes to performance at work meditation is something we can all benefit from. Research has found people in flow state are five times more productive. The US Defence Advanced Research Agency found subjects had 490% better ability to solve problems and creativity more than doubled for people.
At a Spiritual Level
At a spiritual level meditation creates greater self-awareness and self-compassion and is considered to be the path to self-realisation and enlightenment.
If you’d like more detail on the benefits of meditation listen to Episode #28 of Your Freedom Unlimited where I speak to Dr. Andrew Newberg – a leading neuroscientist and physician who wrote How God Changes Your Brain.
There are numerous research studies around and I will provide links to some research in the show notes.
If Meditation Is This Good Why Aren’t More of Us Doing it?
If meditation is this good why aren’t more of us doing it? I believe because there are a lot of roadblocks and myths about meditation that stop us from doing it. There is also a lot of rigidity and dogma that is not necessary. It’s ironic given it is so incredibly beneficial across the whole arc of our lives.
If you’ve listened to this podcast for awhile you may have heard me talk about my strong belief that we need to make a 21st century upgrade to our mind – so we can move from fear and survival mindset into a mindset of thriving and love.
Meditation is a powerful tool to help us do just that. However meditation is still a mystery to many people and for others there are some really clear roadblocks.
How to Meditate for Beginners – Busting the Myths and Common RoadBlocks To Meditation
So let’s talk about the most common roadblocks to meditation and what we can do about them.
1. I’m not sure how to meditate … it looks hard
Not being sure where to start with something that looks hard is one of the big roadblocks. When I first started, I thought this – and my internal perfectionist said I would never master it. Since then I have had many teachers and have done quite a bit of study in this space and I’m pleased to report meditation is a new skill, but it is something that we can learn how to do with the right guidance and support.
Dr. Andrew Newberg’s more than 30 years of research into meditation has found there are three key elements that any effective meditation practice must have: intention, relaxation, and awareness. Self-managed meditation – where you sit quietly by yourself – is also more effective than using guided meditations on apps.
There are many different meditation traditions and many great meditation teachers out there. The key is to find a style and teacher that suits you.
Being someone who was already a high achiever I found I needed a gentle, compassionate approach to meditation that was not overly rigid, harsh and rule-bound. I found I needed a softer, warmer approach.
Recently people have been asking me about my approach so I’m putting together a short “beginners guide” to meditation that shares my particular approach to meditation that is gentle, simple and doesn’t take hours out of my already busy schedule.
Which brings me to roadblock #2 – Time.
2. No Time
People often ask me how long a meditation needs to be – to be effective. At the same time they share their concerns about finding the time to fit a daily practice in.
The research shows as little as 5 minutes can make a difference to your health and wellbeing. Longer meditations do course allow your brain and your being to drop into a deeper space.
But we need to be realistic about modern life. Asking people to sit for an hour or longer when they have never meditated before is a tough ask.
I started meditating many years ago and have practiced different forms of meditation. Many years ago I did a 10 day Vipassana retreat where we meditated for 10 hours a day and spoke to no-one for 20 days. It was tough. I broke through in the end but it was tough for a new meditator.
People who have been meditating for years will typically be able to sit in meditation for longer. They’re practiced. They know what they’re doing. And they have come to really enjoy it as a practice.
My view, supported by Dr Andrew Newberg, is that starting with a five minute practice is the best way you can build a new habit you can enjoy long term.
This is the starting point that I teach from and then help my clients build up to a more substantial practice. The key thing here is to start a consistent daily practice that you look forward to doing.
If you find it hard to say yes to five minutes for yourself a day can I ask you to remember those benefits I spoke about earlier?
3. I Can’t Keep My Mind Free of Racing Thoughts
“No matter how hard I try I don’t know how to keep my mind free of racing thoughts.”
“I get antsy and bored”
“My mind wanders off and I don’t like it and it feels like my mind races even more.”
Do any of these comments sound familiar?
These are real life comments people have made to me and I’ve shared them all.
The bottom line is, we are uncovering one of the BIG myths about meditation. Meditation is not about keeping your mind free of thoughts. It’s actually about building awareness and cultivating focused attention on something like your breath, a candle or a mantra.
As the thoughts come and go the power is in observing them, and letting them go. Eventually over time, and with consistent practice, your thoughts do subside and become less. But this urgent need to rid yourself of thoughts is the best way to put yourself off meditation.
4. I Can’t Keep My Body Still
Another question I was asked recently was “How can I sit still and deal with SO many thoughts running through my brain?”
Finding more stillness in your body is also something that happens over time. In my approach to meditation for beginners you don’t have to be as still as a statue. This is another rule that puts people off. Know that as you cultivate a practice over time your body will naturally become more still.
This is where the more gentle approach I mentioned earlier comes in – meditation is not about looking perfect on the outside – it is about taking authentic daily action that supports you on the inside.
If you need to wriggle and move in the time you’ve devoted to meditation that is ok – just honour your commitment to yourself to spend some time creating a consistent practice daily.
5. Meditation Could Impact my Religious Beliefs
As I said earlier some form of meditation is practiced by most cultures around the globe. Meditation is mentioned 23 times in the Bible.
Dr. Newberg says in How God Changes the Brain that meditation is a practice that is used effectively across many cultures to enhance their spiritual experience. Effectively it is a tool that you can use to enhance your beliefs and strengthen them in your life.
6. Meditation is Another “Chore”
Viewing meditation as a chore on your “to do” list will never deliver you results.
My time in meditation every day is one of my most favorite times of the day. It’s something that I really look forward to. One of the reasons for this is that it is literally timeout just for me. No one else needs anything from me at that time.
This is where my unique approach to meditation and empowerment comes in. Our meditation experience is shaped by the way we approach it, and the way we think about it, as much as what we actually do inside our meditation practice.
For me meditation should be fun. It should be done in loving kindness and compassion to self, and it should be a joy. Something you look forward to every day.
My approach is to make meditation, a joyful and fun experience, rather than make it a chore. So the way I teach people in this space is to come from that place of love, compassion and self kindness, seeing it as a positive time out for you.
7. Meditation Must Deliver Results … Ideally ASAP
The other thing is that people feel that they have to reach a certain goal or get results ASAP.
Two of my favourite sacred musicians Deva Premal and Miten have a beautiful song called “No Goal But This.”
The “this” they are referring to is the peace and bliss of an aligned and quieter mind and heart that we can find in meditation.
Meditation does deliver results – the research proves it – but it does so cumulatively. Putting in 5 minutes, 20 minutes or 1 hour here or there does not equal a 5 minutes, 20 minutes or 1 hour output today or tomorrow.
What happens after you’ve been meditating over a period of time, typically about eight weeks, is you’ll notice shifts within your outlook, your emotions and how you’re relating to the world and engaging with people.
Why Do I Meditate?
Today I’ll share a little here about why I meditate and next week I’ll expand on it.
Meditation is like a tonic for all elements of my life – from the physical, emotional and mental through to the spiritual. It, together with some other daily practices, has revolutionised my life.
At the spiritual level meditation is, to me, a vital component of how we can build and create a very beautiful and deep relationship with our inner selves. When I say inner self I’m referring to our higher self and our Source connection.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that I believe we are all part of a greater consciousness that I call Source but that may also be known as Spirit or God. I believe we are all connected and we’re all part of Source. In this human experience we’ve just forgotten that beautiful connection that we have. So to do that, and to really build this relationship with ourselves, meditation is a very, very powerful tool.
Meditation is also a very strong component of my broader daily routine to raise my frequency and vibration and empower myself so I can achieve my goals.
I’ll share more on this and my approach next week.
Over To You
So in this episode, I shared with you some of the benefits of meditation, some of the common roadblocks to meditation, why I meditate and some of my experiences of meditation.
Next week I’ll cover why meditation is such a vital part of self-empowerment and share with you how you can start your practice. I’ll also share with you how to get access to my free Beginner’s Guide to Meditation so if you’d like to take this further, then you’ll be able to access that. To get onto the waitlist for that guide email me at email@example.com.
Until then it is over to you. What roadblocks to meditation resonated for you? Could you make time to create a 5 or 10 minute meditation routine into your life? Please let me know in the comments.
Until we speak again take great care.