Meditation For Beginners: Everything You Need To Know About Meditation

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).

The most important reason for anyone to meditate, especially those suffering from depression, stress and anxiety, is to get better control over your mind. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable. Our mind is uncontrollable. That’s a given. It’s often acts like a crazy monkey, believes Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. He says –

“Everyone has a monkey mind. Monkey mind says do this and do that, and if we listen, it causes problems and we can become crazy. If we fight the monkey mind, it becomes the enemy, so make friends with it.”

Rinpoche adds –

“The monkey mind is always going here and there, and you cannot concentrate. Sometimes it makes us feel upset, or maybe it makes us angry, or jealous of others. You want to control your feelings, but monkey mind won’t stop talking…you cannot be happy if you just listen to the monkey mind.” 

However, controlling the monkey mind might be easier than we think. In fact, the harder we try to restrain the monkey inside our head, the more difficult it will get. So what should you do? Meditate. Isn’t that obvious by now?

Scientifically proven as the happiest man alive, Rinpoche believes –

“Controlling the monkey mind is too difficult. It is too wild. What I say instead is: ‘guide the monkey mind’. Make friends with the monkey mind.”

So what we need to do is assign some tasks to the monkey mind and keep it busy, like chanting a mantra or bringing your attention to your breath. He says –

“The monkey mind likes when you give it small jobs, like ‘focus on breath. Keep giving it jobs that it’s happy doing. Once you give it jobs, the monkey mind starts to behave better, and you become the boss. Meditation is like giving it a purpose so it has no reason to wander.”

The truth is you can have much better control over your mind and emotions simply by “practicing meditation and awareness.”

Why you should meditate

Relaxation and peace is not the goal of meditation. It is only a result.

Contemporary research has found that practicing meditation on a regular basis, has several long term and short-term benefits on your body and mind.

Practitioners experience a wide range of benefits as regular meditation helps to –

  1. Expand your brain in thickness & volume resulting in enhanced memory, self-control, concentration etc
  2. Create better connection with your own self
  3. Increase the flow of blood to the brain for improved brain functions
  4. Reduce production of stress-induced hormone cortisol reducing stress and anxiety
  5. Calm your mind by decreasing EEG activity
  6. Lower heart rate and blood pressure
  7. Increase neuroplasticity which makes you more efficient
  8. Boost production of good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that control our moods
  9. Trigger the parasympathetic nervous system that helps to reduce stress
  10. Improve your immune system
  11. Boost the amount of grey matter in the brain which controls muscle, vision, hearing, speech, memory and emotions
  12. Lead to enhanced muscle relaxation and reduces muscle tension
  13. Drastically slows down the ageing process by boosting melatonin & DHEA
  14. Reduce and prevent conditions like depression
  15. Improve stress resilience by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system
  16. Increase awareness of the present moment by stimulating the prefrontal cortex
  17. Improve your ability to learn new skills and information
  18. Boost compassion and empathy
  19. Increase your sense of purpose & meaning
  20. Enhance intelligence and emotional stability through regular practice
  21. Makes you more energetic by requiring less sleep

However, the real benefit of meditation, as per Buddhist philosophy, is the liberation of your mind from attachments and things we can’t control. You will experience a sense of inner peace and harmony as you become more liberated.

The Basic Approaches To Meditation

When trying to understand meditation for beginners, you must gain some insight about the 2 fundamental approaches to meditation. All meditation techniques basically fall under two major camps. Irrespective of what type of meditation you prefer to practice, it will largely fall under these two approaches:

  • A focused awareness meditation
  • A free awareness meditation

Focused awareness meditation

When you meditate with a seed, it is referred to as focused awareness meditation. This means you focus your attention on a particular thing like a mantra or the sensation of your body (Vipassana) or even your breath.

Free awareness meditation

On the other hand, when you meditate without any seed, it is known as free awareness meditation. When following this approach, you focus your attention on your awareness itself. As this is an advanced approach, you acknowledge your thoughts and let go as you do not focus on any specific thing.

Both approaches lead to the same destination to deep concentration, inner peace, harmony, relaxation, confidence and clarity.

Theo Harrison
Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.
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