Meditation for Beginners | The Ultimate Guide
This is the most comprehensive guide to Meditation on the planet.
The best part?
I’m going to show you techniques for generating backlinks that are working right now (in 2019).
In short: if you want to learn how meditation can improve your life, you’ll love this guide.
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Meditation for Beginners
What is “inner calm”? I always asked myself that question. I have been on a quest to find that place for most of my life. I have found that it is just as much about the journey as the destination. The closer you get, the longer your journey becomes. The secret I have found is that you can never truly say you have reached or attained “inner calm”. You can always learn more, dig further, and reach deeper levels. Therefore, you never really truly get there, but that is OK. Continuing to search keeps you engaged in the process, path, and journey.
Here at Acorn Holists, you will learn of my journey. You can take what you need from it to serve as inspiration to start or continue on your journey. I encourage you to read on and not get discouraged if you just can’t seem to make it work and calm your mind. I am here at Acorn Holistics to support, mentor, and teach Meditation. Together we will Meditate and find your inner calm. It is a safe place to be when anxiety, pain, and the outside world in crowd your mind and your space.
Just for a historical perspective, I have had anxiety and pain throughout my life. I try not to make too big a deal about it because there are always people worse off than me (or so my mother tells me). I had three back surgeries, the last one being a lumbar fusion surgery (basically open belly, scoop out insides, scoop out discs in spine, put in bone grafts, screw in titanium plates, scoop everything back in and sew up, then flip over and repeat on the other side). I can’t say that I went into the surgery blindly, because I knew that it had about a 60% success rate, and in the end it may not relieve my pain at all. When you are in pain you gloss over such statements. You say to yourself that you will be one of the 40% who have an amazing result and live a spectacular life free from pain. You will be able to exercise an hour a day in the gym and transform your body into an incredible pain free dress size extra small. . . .That did not happen.
Mixed with that is a history of chronic migraines that I have had since I was 6 years old. If I had a nickel for every time doctor told me to do this, do that, take this pill, don’t do this, don’t do that, and let’s try this, I would be writing this from my cabana in Tahiti. All that decades of migraines and a failed lumbar fusion got me was fat, tired, depressed, anxious, and here is the best part – I still feel like crap! Traditional medicine was failing me big time, so I had to find something that I could do to help me relax, relieve pain, and ease my anxiety. So this hard science believing, grounded only in what I can prove girl did the only logical thing. I started to learn to meditate.
So just imagine taking a super Type A personality and asking it to sit and think about nothing. That is what I thought I was supposed to do, which I found was near impossible. Since I was determined to be successful, I started to read books about meditation and I got guided meditation CD’s. I thought, great, all I have to do is sit cross legged humming “OHM” while someone takes me along for the ride through a guided meditation. Sounds simple, right? The answer would be that I might look the part, but meditating is so much more. I decided that I was worth more than just looking the part. You are worth more than just looking the part. We are all worth actually being a more centered people actually doing some real good for ourselves and our lives. Acorn Holistics is here so you will be that centered and focused person and Transform Your Life
How to Start
Sometimes you have to be at your lowest point to actually sit with yourself and say “I need help!!!” And I really did need help. I really didn’t know where to turn. My path to Inner Calm started when I became interested in a crystal point pendant that I saw in an ad. I was thinking that since I have tried everything else, maybe this was a sign that what I really needed was not in the operating room or in a bottle, it was inside of me. I thought that the logical place for me to start is what I had been resistant to for so long. On one cold, spectacularly beautiful day in January, I sat on to of a bunch of pillows in my spare bedroom. Facing towards the morning sun streaming through the room, I turned on meditation music I found on the internet. I sat as quietly as I could and, following some instructions I also found on the internet. I focused on my breathing. Just breathing in and breathing out and clearing my brain. All types of thoughts tried to break through and crowd out the peace and calm. Each time that happened, I acknowledged the thought, then centered back on my meditation. That first day, I lasted five whole minutes. I had brief seconds of that time where I saw and felt a glimpse my inner self. I saw enough that I knew that I needed to find out more.
What I want you to do to test and feel some of those brief seconds of your inner self. You can listen to whatever you feel will help you to settle your mind. You really do not need to listen to anything at all if that is what you prefer. The point is that you spend a few minutes with yourself and just clear your thoughts. The easiest way to start is to just concentrate on breathing in and breathing out. Push all of your evading thoughts just outside of your mind.
You can imagine pushing them outside of a protective bubble that you can feel around your body. You can feel the boarders of this bubble if you imagine feeling above, to the sides, and in front of you. It is a soft, protected place, made just for you. Invading thoughts, anxiety, fears, doubt, and pain are all held outside of this sanctuary you have created. You can imagine pushing invading thoughts out with your hands. These thoughts can go out, but they cannot come back in. You are safe and protected in this place. Now just sit with yourself, focusing only on your breathing. Just breathe and relax. Do this for as long as you feel comfortable with. If it is a minute, that is great. It would be a precious minute towards your Inner Peace.
Finding a Place to Sit
I initially sat on those pillows on the bed in my spare room every morning for a few weeks. I did it long enough to know that meditation was going to be something that I could commit to every day. I needed to know that it was not just a passing state of mind that I would soon toss aside for what I would deem more important in my life. I was sure that I would grow tired or frustrated with meditation. I was sure that I would become bored to tears. None of these things happened. What I did come to find was that in a few weeks it became an important part of my day and my life. I had reached the point that meditation had actually become something that I could not only live with, but something that I could not live without.
Now what? Well, since I knew that I could commit the practice of meditation. I decided that perching myself atop of pillows and blankets on a bed just was not practical. Personally, I knew that I needed to find a more comfortable way to sit and meditate. I scoured the internet for all different types of solutions, including cushions, meditation benches, and meditation chairs. What I can say is that you need to find what will work for you and your situation. If you love sitting on pillows and blankets on your bed, go for it. If you want to sit on the floor, or in a chair, or if you can only lie on your bed, that is fine too. The important thing is that you are comfortable and able to center your mind on your meditation. How you get there is not important.
What worked for me was a combination of cushions and a meditation bench. The base cushion is a large square of soft supportive material that sits on the floor called a zabuton. It helps to cushion your ankles, feet, and knees and works as a base for anything else that you place upon it. You can think of it as your own sacred space that you meditate on. Your own defined area that is a safe protective cloud that anchors you in your meditative space in the universe. You can think of it as the walls of your home or apartment which define and protect all that your own and care about. On top of that I placed a meditation bench. I have to get up a little higher than the average person, so on top of that is a rectangular cushion called a gomden. Other options include a round cushion called a zafu, or a low meditation chair. You can research what works best for you. Different options will be available in my online store to help in your search.
Where to Meditate
You can choose to meditate anywhere. However, when you are trying to make a daily meditation practice, it is helpful to have one special place where you go. It should be known as your “meditation place” both to you and others that share your daily life. Until you know that you can meditate anywhere you happen to be, you should choose one sacred space. A part of a separate room would be great. However, if it is only a corner of your bedroom, living room, or even office, try to pick a place that feels “right” to you. Only you will know what feels right. You will feel at peace and calm, with your mind open and feeling positive. Do not to pick a place that makes you feel constrained and nervous.
You can even choose to meditate outdoors. Look for a secluded area where you can privately meditate each day. Consider choosing an area that has a natural perimeter between you and the outside world so that you can feel safe, secure, and private. Make sure you have a comfortable place to sit and have whatever sacred items you choose to use close at hand. It would be helpful if this outdoor space is covered, both to give you a natural protection from rain and to protect your cushions or chair and whatever items you choose to have at hand.
Wherever you meditation space is, it should feel like a sanctuary to you. It should be a place where you can get away from your daily life and spend some time with yourself. It should be a safe place where you can learn your meditation style, without feeling encumbered by thoughts of what others are thinking about you as you sit and meditate. In this sacred space, you can open your mind and your heart to the peace and joy of meditation.
Other Supporting Parts of your Meditation Space
You honestly do not need more than yourself to meditate. However, you may wish to consider any or all of the following items. These are not things that you need the first time you sit down and meditate. I want you to know about each of them as you begin and establish your meditation practice. Consider taking a few items you feel would help you to relax and center and put them on any old table or tray you have hanging around when you first start your journey to inner calm. At the Acorn Holistics Office on 46 Main Street in Netcong, NJ or at AcornHolistics.com we have crystals, stones, and Meditation Supplies. For me, whatever I needed was there waiting for me wherever I found it. Acorn Holistics is here and has that item that has been waiting just for you.
You can get as fancy or as plain as you want here. A meditation table goes in front of your meditation cushions. It is where you place all of the supporting items you find useful or inspiring as you meditate. You can use a small table that you just have hanging around, or you can purchase a meditation table or altar. I actually have three tables now, because it feels good for me to stretch out and have all I need in an uncluttered, neat, and eclectic style. I did not start out that way however. I started with a small table that held the few things that I decided to start with. As I learned and became more familiar with what made me feel centered and whole while I meditated, my collection of supporting items became larger. Thus my tables grew in size and number.
You can select a table of any height that makes you feel comfortable. As long as it helps you to feel centered within your meditation space, then that is the table that works for you. You want to be able to use and interact with what you are using to guide and inspire you in meditation. Acorn Holistics likes to use tables that are repurposed
The use of candles can set the mood in any setting. The light and warmth can make a room feel alive and peaceful. Candle fragrance can also set the mood, and help you feel more calm and centered. I suggest having at least one candle. For safety sake, it should not be a candle stick, rather a candle enclosed in glass or a votive in a pretty glass holder. Only burn the candle while you are meditating. Light it at the beginning of your session right as you sit down to meditate. It services as your symbol of opening your session so that you can begin the process of centering and being present in the moment.
You can use the candle flame to set your gaze on as you meditate. You do not have to have sharp focus on the flame, rather you should allow your vision to blur so you only have the impression of the light and flicker. When your meditation session is over, extinguishing the flame is another powerful message to you that your session is ended and it is time to go on with your daily life. Once the flame is out, try to take the feeling that you had during your session to follow you throughout your day.
Your journal will be a place where you can take what you have found or learned during meditation and write it down. Recording your experience is important so that the lesson, feeling, and knowledge is not lost. Meditation can be a profound and deeply moving experience. It could be a time when you work out the problems of your life. It could be learning more about yourself and the universe you live in. Or at times it can just be a short time when all you can accomplish is sitting there and trying to settle your mind. All of these types of sessions are important in your reaching deeper understanding about yourself.
The best way not to lose anything that you have seen, heard, experienced, or perceived is to take a few minutes after you have meditated to write it all down. It does not have to make sense at all. Just write it, even if it is just a few words. Sometimes I just record the date and that I tried to rest and center in meditation. That is so often enough to accomplish, and that if fine. Other days, especially on the weekends when I can devote an hour to meditating, I perceive and feel many profound images and revelations. I write them all down too.
Every week or so, I go back and read some of what I have recorded. Many times it seems odd that the words I am reading have come from me. It is important for you to go back and learn from what you have written. It is a way to continue to take what you have experienced and bring it out of meditation and into your daily life.
A journal is your sacred place where you can write down all of your meditation experiences. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook, or as elaborate as a hand bound leather journal. You can even make it yourself, in pages bound or fastened by your hands. The important thing is that the paper and what you use to write feel comfortable to you. Do not worry about full sentences or even full sense. What is important is to just write all that you have seen and felt. You can document words, symbols, scenes, or visions. We should write these things, because they may not make sense for days, weeks, months, or years. Keep your journal close to your meditation space, so that you can easily reach for it.
Crystals and Stones
Initially, I do not want you to go crazy here. Try not to go out and buy dozens of crystals and stones. You will find, later on, that you will need more space for crystals and stones you adopt and bring home. Crystals and stones will choose you. When that happens you adopt them (which means that you buy them, unless you am lucky enough to find them in nature). Friends and family may even give you a stone or crystal as a gift.
I have many sentimental and powerful stones and crystals. Some are not beautiful to look at, but once I hold them I can feel the power and energy in them. I encourage you to find stones and crystals in nature. I have some that have the sweet energy of mother earth in them or the ability to see to the stars. You should use your crystals and stones to hold, gaze, direct energy, or just sit in peace with. As you gain more, arrange them as often as feels appropriate to meet your current needs or mood. They are meant of transform and inspire you to reach beyond your meditation space to places you cannot touch or see.
Crystal Wands are held during Meditation bringing energy and insight to your session. It stores all you learn, feel, and experience within the crystals. It is a powerful tool because it is the keeper of all holistic knowledge and insight you gain.
Crystal Wands are also used in energy work. Clear and draw out negative energy and emotion by circling it with the point upwards. Circle the wand over your chakras or vital centers of your body. Start at the head and work downwards. When you feel energy that needs to be cleared, continue to circle the wand over that area. Say to yourself that you are clearing negative energy, pain, or discomfort. Once you feel that the area is cleared, move onto the next. Once all areas have been cleared, you can them turn the wand point side down. Circle the wand covering the same areas from your head and work downwards. Say to yourself that you are infusing peace, love, healing, or whatever sentiment you would like to evoke. End by holding the wand between both hands with point towards you. Rest and feel the energy of the wand.
A Mala is a string of beads. Each bead is held between your fingers in succession to mark one time reciting a mantra during Meditation. The Mala is used so that one can focus on the meaning or sound of the mantra rather than counting its repetitions. It is a way of focusing your mind, first on the mantra and its meaning. Then, as you go deeper into your meditation, the actual reciting of the mantra will fall to the background as you focus just on your breathing.
Using a Mala is a good starting point when you begin to Meditate. Many people find the thought of sitting to meditate and thinking of “nothing” as an impossible task. A Mala will give you something to do while you quiet your mind as you go bead by bead and recite a mantra to yourself.
Your mantra could be very simple. It could be “So Hum”, which in simple meaning is the sound of the breath. You can think inwardly “So” when you breathe in, and “Hum” as you breathe out. Each time you do you will use one bead on the Mala for that count, then go to the next in the string and again think inwardly “So Hum”.
You could use any Mantra that you want. Choose one that you can readily remember, feel comfortable reciting to yourself, and has meaning to you. You may never have to change your mantra, or you may have a few that you recite at different times. If you would like help choosing a Mantra, you can message me and I will gift you one when you purchase one of my Malas.
What I mean by symbol is any representation you have of a higher power. That can take any form, so I do not want to tell you what type of symbol to use. The important part is that you identify with that power and strive to use it in and through your meditation. It can represent your vision of your world beyond your meditation space. It can also represent your vision of why you are in your meditation space. It can be a statue or picture, or even an object that represents your connection to your higher power.
Do not over think this part of support to your meditation. When I mention a higher power, if you identify with one, you will instantly know what symbol you will need. If nothing comes to mind, leave this part out for now. As you go deeper into your meditation practice, a symbol of a higher power will come to you. When it does seek out a form to keep in your meditation space that represents that higher power to you.
Your Journey to Inner Calm at Acorn Holistics
You will use what you have learned here as an Introduction to Meditation. They are bridge to Daily Mediation Practice. Acorn Holistcs is here at the other side of that bridge. Debbie Cialfi has been a Registered Nurse for 32 years, and is a Meditation Instructor. She can meet with you and learn what you are trying to achieve. We will choose the right type of Meditation for you so that you feel success and are inspired to learn more. You are ready to take this journey and it is really easy to start. Call for a free phone discussion about what you need to achieve and I will tell you how we can achieve it.
This is a comforting place where you can start. You have been breathing since you have entered this world. This has been an automatic process that you do all day and night. Even when you sleep, your body knows how to breathe. You have been breathing to support your life, however you may never have made it your main focus. That is all that we are going to do in this mediation. You can use this now and over again when you feel that this is all that you can accomplish for the day. It is a great thing to accomplish, and you should never feel that breathing is too simple to be doing anything for you. It is the foundation of everything you will do in mediation, but for right now it is all we will do.
Go to your protective meditation space. Light your candle. You can feel is warmth and light. You can close your eyes in meditation, or you can have your gaze go just in front of you. If your eyes are open, just keep them partly open and relaxed. Let the muscles go and your vision blur. You can gaze at the candle, your symbol of higher power, or a crystal. If you keep your eyes closed, bring your attention to the colors and shapes you can see inside of your lids. If you focus on them realize this is also a natural process like breathing. Enjoy the shapes, colors, and images you will see.
Bring yourself within and just focus of on gentle breathing in and out. Feel the air come in and out of your lungs. Feel the breath in the back of your throat and going through your nose. Bring all of your attention just to the process of breathing. Feel your chest quietly going up and down. Feel your abdomen go in and out. Now just breathe and relax in the simplicity of the act and sweetness of being relaxed.
As you breathe your thoughts will wander. When that happens, just gently pull yourself back to center and just breathe. As you quiet your breathing your mind will become quieter. Follow that quietness and just go deeper in the feeling of the breath. Do this for as long as it feels comfortable. Initially is may just be a few minutes. Later it could be as long as you want it to be. Try not to get hung up on time, just breathe and relax.
Now you can practice and just breathe. Even if pain and anxiety creep in and try to steal your peace, imagine that you are pushing them outside of your bubble. Just rest and relax knowing that your pain and anxiety cannot touch you. When you are done with your session, you can bring yourself back to awareness and focus your eyes. Reflect on what you felt and your experience. Date and record what you are thinking or what you experienced while you were resting in the simple act of breathing.
Using Your Bubble to Find Peace
You can use the concept of a bubble around you and your meditation space to help to ease your anxiety. You can even use it throughout your day. First, center yourself in meditation by feeling yourself breathe. Then imagine your protective bubble around you. The outer boarders of this this space are soft like being inside of a large bubble that was made by a very large bubble wand. Inside you can see the rainbows made by the large bubble around you, and the boarders flex as you relax and allow yourself to be carried through the following meditations. It is important to remember that you can also use these techniques throughout your day. When you feel overwhelmed by anxiety or pain, you can go inside of your bubble and push all that is negative out with your thoughts. It is a place that you can go even when it is crowded and noisy. It is not a place to wall yourself off from the world. Rather it is your space in the world for you to briefly rest and let your anxiety and pain be eased. You can still be fully interacting with the world around you, just from a safe place where you can be calm, confident, and free from pain.