Today meditation has gone mainstream and most of the successful entrepreneurs, A-list celebs, music producers and athletes diligently practice mindfulness meditation. But what is meditation for beginners? What does it actually mean to meditate?
Meditation is simply a practice which helps us develop a state of ‘thoughtless awareness’. Through this practice we can cultivate an alert yet calm mind and find a deep and profound experience within ourselves. It is not about turning your thoughts off or blocking out your feelings and emotions. Meditation is about observing your thoughts and emotions without engaging in them or judging them. You simply acknowledge whatever arises in this state of being and let them pass without holding on to them.
The practice of meditation for beginners will not change our personality or make you a better person. It is a 2,500 year old practice for training your mind and being aware. When we meditate, our mind becomes relaxed, calm & inwardly focused. Through practice, our mind eventually becomes clear and silent and there are no internal distractions. This is when you have a deeper meditative experience.
The experience of meditation for beginners
The moment you sit down and start to meditate as a beginner, you need to let yourself become alert, relaxed and still. Once you are relaxed and alert, you bring your attention to a particular thing which can either be your breath or a mantra. As you start the practice, you will feel your mind wander repeatedly. This is natural. However, you need to be aware of this and bring your focus back to your breath or the mantra that you are focused on. It is not important how many times your mind wanders. What is important is that how aware you are about it and whether you successfully bring your focus back every time without engaging in your thoughts.
The practice of meditation for beginners will help you cultivate a highly focused, alert and relaxed state of mind over a certain period of time. The meditative state will not only help you experience a sense of enhanced well-being but it will also have a highly positive neurological and physiological effects on you.
There is no such thing as perfect meditation
Meditation is a practice. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. The more you practice, the better you get at it. Someday you may have a terrible experience as your mind will wander repeatedly, other days you may feel highly calm and relaxed. Training your mind is like training your body. It will take regular and consistent practice to master. When it comes to meditation, your journey will be more important than your destination.
The experience of practicing meditation for beginners is like falling in love or eating your favorite food, which cannot be described easily. You will have to find it out yourself.
The essence of meditation
“Awareness is the essence of meditation, not the experience. Peace …calm …joy are not the essence of meditation, these are all experiences.” – Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Buddhist monk & Tibetan meditation master, believes the essence of meditation is awareness. The practice helps us to explore our own mind and heart. Meditation does not help us to get rid of our negative qualities or things we don’t like about ourselves. It simply allows us to experience the wealth of awareness. You will not become a better person through meditation. However, you will become aware of your thoughts and feelings and realize that you are already complete and whole. We connect with our true self through the practice of meditation.
Rinpoche, author of the New York Times bestseller The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness, believes –
“Meditation is what we call awareness; if you know you understand, then that is awareness; if you don’t understand and you know you don’t understand, that is also awareness; if you know you’re confused, that’s also awareness.”
The Monkey Mind
Okay, so now that you know what meditation is and the true essence of meditation, the only question arises is why should you meditate (although if you are still reading this, you probably know why).