Practicing yoga or meditation can feel slightly overwhelming for someone unfamiliar with the practice.
With so many different forms of yoga and meditation in our world, it might seem difficult to know where to start. Meditation is truly about gaining a better understanding of your own soul—observing your thoughts without judgment and learning more about yourself.
So what exactly is meditation? How is it different from yoga itself? What are some benefits of having a meditation practice, and what are different types of meditation you can try?
“Deep calm, a physiological slowing of the metabolism, and a sense of peace and well-being.” These are the words that Buddhist monk Bhante Gunaratana uses to describe the effects of meditation.
A rich and growing body of evidence points to both the short and long-term benefits of regular practice. We have at our disposal not only a tool for in-the-moment relaxation but also one for fostering peace and well-being throughout our day. Indeed, throughout our life. Surely that’s something worth having?
This article is a concise introduction to getting started. By the end of it, you’ll be well-equipped with all the guidance that you need.
The 1970s book The Relaxation Response is often credited with being the first to widely introduce eastern techniques to a western audience. The author, Harvard physician Herbert Benson, details a host of healing physiological changes that occur during meditation (collectively called the “relaxation response”).
Amongst others, these include a slowing of heart rate and metabolism and a reduction in blood pressure and inflammation. Every time you sit down to meditate, you will be engaging in these responses.
Longer-term improvements have also been well-documented. In particular, test-subjects have shown development of their grey matter (a phenomenon known as “neuroplasticity”) alongside improvements in their resiliency and the ability to emotionally self-regulate.
For a full breakdown of the science behind meditation have a look at our article: Does Meditation Work? An Introduction to the Science-Backed Benefits.
Experiencing the Power of Meditation: A Simple, Pragmatic Approach
So where to begin?
Meditation is usually seen as something that’s done once a day for about ten or fifteen minutes then promptly forgotten about. Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace equates this to, “…eating a wholesome breakfast, then snacking on junk food for the rest of the day.”
What we really want is to imbue our whole day with the positive qualities that our meditation sessions develop in us.
Many teachers and experts recommend a two-part approach. Simply put, this involves a daily practice (of five, ten or fifteen minutes) and two or three short (one or two-minute) moments of meditation scattered throughout your day.
It’s utterly simple!
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a word, and words are used in different ways by different speakers. ~Bhante Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English
The use of the word “meditation” is widespread and varying.
Depending on the context, it can refer to anything from simple relaxation to the contemplation of complex visualizations to the attainment of radically altered states of consciousness. For our purposes, let’s look at a definition by Matthieu Ricard, one of the world’s most respected masters:
“Meditation is a practice that makes it possible to cultivate and develop certain basic positive human qualities in the same way as other forms of training make it possible to play a musical instrument or acquire any other skill.
‘The words that are translated into English as meditation are Bhavana from Sanskrit, which means ‘to cultivate’, and gom from the Tibetan, which means ‘to become familiar with’. Primarily meditation is a matter of familiarizing ourselves with a clear and accurate way of seeing things and of cultivating the good qualities that remain dormant inside us until we make the effort to bring them out.” (From The Art of Meditation)
Couple this understanding with that offered by Herbert Benson and current science, and our understanding becomes clearer. For our modern lives, far removed from the extremes of cave-dwelling hermits and wandering sadhus, the benefits of meditation will manifest in these two ways.
First as a means of letting go of stresses and strains in-the-moment. Secondly, as a method for developing latent inner qualities, like awareness and compassion, that will enrich our lives.
How Does Meditation Relate to Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that stems from India up to 5,000 years ago.
The practice is essentially a system of guidelines or techniques to help you live life to its highest quality—gaining mental clarity, healing, and spiritual growth. The literal meaning of yoga is to yuj or yolk—the connection between the mind, body, and spirit.
Many people who are new to the practice may question whether or not yoga and meditation are one in the same. Thousands of years ago, an Indian sage named Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutra, a guideline for classical yoga.
In it, he developed the eight limbs of yoga or the Eightfold Path. The seventh limb of this path is meditation, Dhyana. Therefore, meditation is actually just a small facet of the practice of yoga as a whole.
So if the practice of yoga encompasses everything, what exactly is meditation itself? While concentration is a practice of one-pointed focus, meditation is a state of sharp awareness without focus.
It’s the process of quieting the mind and observing what comes up for you without judgment.
Through meditation, the practitioner may gain a better understanding of what their thoughts mean and from where they have stemmed. Ultimately, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
What Are the Benefits of Meditation?
The practice of meditation is abounding with benefits for the mind, body, and soul. It’s important to keep in mind that meditation is a process—it’s a skill that will grow with consistency and dedication.
You don’t have to be “perfect” at meditating to reap the benefits of the practice.
Meditation is proven to elicit a relaxation response in the body, which can lower blood pressure and heart rate. This can also lessen anxiety and stress as well as slow down your respiratory rate.
Improved blood circulation and an increased feeling of wellbeing are also fantastic benefits to meditation. Meditation allows you to be fully present with the body and find an inner calm that brings peace of mind.
In Buddhism, it’s said that the greatest benefit of the practice is the liberation of the mind from external factors. The idea is to detach the mind from things that you cannot control.
What Is Raja Yoga?
Raja yoga, or classical yoga, is sometimes referred to as the yoga of the mind. It brings huge awareness to the state of mind and is ultimately practiced in order to achieve control over one’s mind.
A practitioner of Raja yoga spends a great deal of time learning how to calm the mind and find one-pointed focus.
Inclusive of all forms of yoga, Raja yoga emphasizes the practice of concentration and the benefits of meditation for spiritual self-realization.
Raja yoga meditation is ultimately used to control the body using the power of the mind, as well as to gain a better understanding of who you are.
To peel back all of our layers through practicing Raja yoga and bring our attention inward toward our true nature can be achieved by following Patanjali’s Eightfold Path.
The first limb of this path includes the Yamas or abstentions. These are Ahimsa (non-harming), Satya (truthfulness), Asetya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (continence), and Aparigraha (non-attachment).
The second limb includes the Niyamas or moral observations. These are Susha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhaya (the study of the scriptures), and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to God).
The third limb of the Eightfold Path is Asana or posture.
Pranayama, or control of energy through breathwork is the fourth.
Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses is the fifth limb.
The sixth limb is Dharana or concentration of the mind.
The seventh limb is Dhyana or meditation.
The eighth and final limb of the Eightfold path is Samadhi, or Enlightenment and union with the Divine.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Likely the most well-known form of meditation, mindfulness meditation requires that you bring your attention to thoughts that pass through your mind without judging or criticizing them.
Many meditation practitioners will focus on their breath to help keep their thoughts free from wandering. Mindfulness meditation can be incorporated or integrated into different forms of yoga or other meditations as well.
What Is Kriya Yoga Meditation?
Developed by Paramhansa Yogananda, Kriya yoga is said to be one of the most effective forms of meditation for reaching yoga— the union of mind, body, and spirit. It’s believed to hold so much power because of its direct connection to the energy deep within the spine.
Ancient yogis found that breathwork and ultimately breath mastery holds a direct link with human evolution. The belief is that life force or energy flows through the six spinal centers.
Movements of the spine can free these centers up for energy to flow, and the breathing techniques of Kriya yoga awaken this energy.
What Is Kundalini Yoga Meditation?
Kundalini meditation is a somewhat complex tradition. It involves Hatha yoga techniques such as bandha (body locks), pranayama (breathwork) and asana (poses), as well as Kriya yoga and tantric visualization.
It is said that the kundalini energy lies dormant at the base of the spine. Through Kundalini meditation this energy can be awakened, ultimately leading to Enlightenment.
The physical practice of Kundalini yoga focuses on navel activity and activity of the spine.
Selective pressurization of body points plays a huge role, as well as activation of the bandhas—body locks that help control the flow of energy. Breathwork is also used to free up channels for energy flow.
What Is Mantra Meditation?
The Sanskrit word mantra is a syllable or word—typically without any particular meaning—that can be repeated many times for the purpose of focusing your mind.
Though many Westerners often confuse the word mantra with positive affirmation, it is really just a sound that gives off a vibration.
Mantras are used in many different traditions such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jainism, Sikhism, and Taoism. They are simply used as tools to focus the mind during meditation.
What Is Nada Yoga or Sound Meditation?
Sound meditation is just that—meditating while focusing on sound. Some practitioners may start with ambient music on which to focus, eventually leading to placing focus on internal sounds.
Nada literally means, “flow of sound.” it is believed that through this meditation, obstructions will be removed from one’s flow of consciousness, ultimately allowing them to find union through the mind, body, and spirit.
Do You Need to Choose Just One Form of Meditation?
The short answer to this is not necessarily. While some meditations revolve around mindfulness, others revolve around spirituality and connection with the Divine, some revolve around mantra, and some around movement; it is possible to integrate them together in any way that works or feels right for you.
How Do I Get Started with a Meditation Practice?
Meditation is much simpler than many might believe. Though it may seem daunting at first, there are several things you can do to get started with ease!
1. Find a quiet space. Turn off your phone or place it on silent, and find a nice quiet place in your home.
You might even find a seat outside if it’s a nice day! Choosing a space that will have little to no distraction will help make your start to meditation much smoother.
2. Bring awareness to the present moment. Simply notice where you are—your surroundings or environment. If you’re outside, you might bring your attention to the breeze or the warmth of the sun on your skin.
Maybe you hear birds chirping in the distance. If you’re in your home, are there any sounds nearby? Do you have a candle lit that gives off a certain smell? Noticing where you are helps bring you into the present.
Read this article to determine to the best candles for meditation for relaxation and calmness.
3. Focus on your breath. Float your eyes closed if that feels comfortable, and then pay attention to your breathing—the sound, the pace, the depth, and its movement through your body.
Bringing your awareness to the breath while meditating gives your mind a place to rest. It can help to keep your mind from wandering, but it also aids in calming nerves or anxiety.
Often times, those who need to meditate the most are those whose mind wanders constantly. If you’re always thinking about work or things you need to do—if you’re struggling to fall asleep at night because of the stress this brings—then focusing on your breath will be a huge help!
4. Notice sensations in your body. Is there any tension or tightness in your body? Are you sitting comfortably?
How does your body really feel in this moment? If you do notice tension, see if you can send your breath into those spaces to soften and release.
5. Start small. Keep in mind that you don’t need to run before you crawl! Try setting a timer on your phone for just two or three minutes at first.
Then bump it up to five, then seven, then ten, and maybe eventually 20 minutes. See how long you can go! By setting a timer, you have the comfort of knowing that you won’t go over a certain amount of time.
Do you need to get ready for your day? Do you have tons of work you have to do? Some would say this means you need to meditate longer!
In actuality though, setting a time will leave you to rest assured that you’ll be able to get on with your tasks soon enough!
6. Make it your own. There are so many different ways in which you can meditate. Find what works for you and go for it! You might even try guided meditations that can be found online.
These can be really helpful to keep the mind focused on one thing—perhaps guiding your awareness through the physical body or maybe releasing negative thought patterns or limiting beliefs. Practice whatever form of meditation that you enjoy and find effective!
7. Keep practicing. Always keep in mind that meditation is a process, it’s not meant to be perfected. The more you practice, the more effective it will become—like a muscle that needs to be exercised.
You’ll have days where your meditation feels “strong” and days where you struggle endlessly to keep yourself from being distracted. Don’t let yourself feel discouraged from the more difficult days.
You might use this as an opportunity to look inward. Ask yourself if there are reasons why you might be having a hard time focusing, and go from there. It’s all about the practice and the self-discovery!
So, What Type of Meditation Should I Practice?
Different lineages of yoga all incorporate meditation in their own way. There is no one “correct” way to practice or to meditate.
Unlike religion, yoga is a spiritual practice in which the hope is to gain Enlightenment or complete union of the mind, body, and spirit. No matter which way you wish to practice yoga or meditate, you’re working toward the same thing—self-realization, mental clarity, spiritual connectedness, and so much more.
The power is in the practice, so try different types of meditation and see what feels right for you. We are all so different, and we connect internally and spiritually in different ways.
When you find what works best for you, keep practicing and notice all of the incredible things that will happen in your body, mind, and life!
1. Your Daily Practice
Your daily practice is your anchor and you will see benefits even if it is all that you do. Commit to setting aside as much time as you can maintain on a consistent basis. Generally, early in the morning or before you go to bed works well.
You might find starting small with a few minutes and building from there is the way to go. The Sanskrit word Ghatika refers to a period of twenty-four minutes that is supposedly ideal for beginners. This may present a goal to work towards.
Mindfulness of Breathing
This breathing technique is time tested and a perfect meditation for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. It forms the basis of many more advanced Buddhist practices.
- Seat yourself comfortably with a straight spine. Close your eyes and rest your hands in your lap.
- Take a handful of calm, centering breaths.
- With each inhalation feel your whole body fill with relaxing warmth.
- With each exhalation, feel yourself letting go of any tensions.
- After you have settled, let your awareness rest on the sensations of your breathing wherever they manifest. You may wish to “loosely” follow the inhalation from the tip of the nostrils down into your belly and reverse for the exhalation. In and out. Do not make any demands on yourself.
- After a while, you may wish to focus more specifically on the sensations of your abdomen or on the light touch of each in and out breath against your nostrils. Follow whichever method you are most comfortable with.
Meditation With a Mantra
Another option for you to consider is the repetition of a mantra. This is the technique that Herbert Benson personally studied and recommends.
- As in the first meditation, seat yourself comfortably with a straight spine. Close your eyes and rest your hands in your lap. Take some deep breaths.
- Choose a word, preferably of two-syllables, that symbolizes your intent to let go for the duration of this session. It could be “Jesus,” “Happy” “Peaceful,” or any other with which you are comfortable.
- On the in-breath, gently whisper the first syllable, on the out-breath, gently whisper the second. Alternatively, and if you are breathing through your nose, say it silently to yourself.
- Rest your attention fully on the utterance of the syllable. If you become distracted, gently return.
2. Short Moments, or “Micro-Meditations”
If, alongside your daily practice, you can set aside two or three moments for a short period of meditation you will really begin to see a change. Making a little space is something that all of us can manage, despite our filled to-do lists.
This is a principle that Mark Thornton explores in his book Meditation In A New York Minute: “…even the busiest people shower in the morning, commute to work, have lunch, sit in the back of taxis, have moments before and after meetings….”
Choose a handful of techniques (the list of techniques provided below is a good place to start) that suit your temperament and circumstances. Body-scan and “sama vritti breathing” are two examples. Equally, you could simply extend either your mindfulness of breathing or mantra practice into the day.
Meditation for Beginners (Techniques)
The aim here is to provide high-quality, concise meditation tips for beginners. StillMind’s site content is roughly divided into three primary sections: (1) meditation for beginners (guides), (2) guided meditation and (3) product guides.
1. Beginner Meditation Guides
The guide for busy people: Experiencing the Power of Meditation in the Midst of a Hectic Life
- Aum/OM Meditation
- Deep Breathing Exercise (Sama Vritti)
- An Easy Healing Meditation
- Deep Relaxation Meditation
- A Short & Simple Grounding Meditation
- Gratitude Meditation
- Visualization Meditation
- Ho’oponopono Meditation
- Forgiveness Meditation
- Standing Meditation
- White Light Meditation
- Morning Meditation
- The Science of Meditation
2. Guided Meditations
3. Product Guides
- Best Meditation Books (for Busy People)
- Meditation Music
- Best Incense Guide
- Meditation Cushions
- Meditation Shawls
- Meditation Balls
- Meditation Beads
The “Empty Time” in Your Day
It’s possible to find a few minutes in any busy schedule. For example:
- Your daily commute.
- The beginning or end of your lunch break.
- At the end of the working day.
Most Common Types of Meditation
More and more every day, people are coming to realize the effects that meditation can yield on our mind, body, and soul.
Meditative practices have been around for the better part of human history and are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity among those individuals looking for a new approach to health and well-being.
Meditation, at its core, is the ancient and powerful practice of training your mind to go into a certain state of being in which your consciousness or “spirit” detaches itself from your body and become but a mere observer of your life.
This allows your inner self a reprieve from the hardships and stresses of modern living while placing your body into a deeply relaxed state.
It also gives you the time you need to asses your thoughts and emotions one by one which will help greatly in diminishing the constant mental chatter we find ourselves bombarded with in our everyday lives.
This is the very objective that all forms of meditation strive for in one way or another.
Having said, there are meditation types much more suited for certain individuals than others. A practice of meditation that fits you may not necessarily work for others and vice versa.
There are also some meditative practices that might be better tailored to the end result that the practitioner would like to attain such as: losing weight, alleviating stress, or exploring one’s inner self. It is essential that before you begin to delve into your own inner world, you define what it is exactly what you want from meditation and what changes you wish to see happen to yourself and your life.
Take the time needed to explore all the different facets of learning and styles of practice of this very old art form and settle on the one/s that you feel works best for you. In this post we shall outline 8 of the most common types of meditation:
Mindfulness is a favorite among new practitioners and certainly, one of the more well-known forms of meditation. It traces its origin to Buddhist traditions and is about training your mind to be aware or “mindful” of the present.
This is done by focusing primarily on your breathing, accepting any wandering thoughts the float by, acknowledging that they are there, and then returning to the present moment which is your slow, constant breathing. Mindfulness can be practiced sitting down, laying flat on your back, or in motion depending on you.
It may also be practiced going about in your everyday life. This practice will allow you to overcome almost any form of inner suffering and unlocks your consciousness to the natural wisdom that resides within us all. Routine Mindfulness Meditation has been shown to greatly reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.
This is a form of upward meditation in which you concentrate on the energy rising up through your body. A concept of Dharma, Kundalini comes from both Buddhist and Hindu traditions and when translated means “coiled one”.
It refers to the primal energy believed to reside in the base of the spine. By focusing mainly on breathing and how your breath flows through the points of energy within your body, one can learn to “awaken” Kundalini and feel an altered state of consciousness which may be called enlightenment.
3. Qi Gong
Qi Gong is one of the oldest forms of meditation and can trace its roots in ancient Chinese society. It is a coordinated system or body postures, movements, breathing, and meditation.
Qi Gong can be translated to “Life Energy Cultivation” and is the practice of cultivating and balancing one’s Qi (chi) with is “Life Energy”. There are 75 recorded ancient forms of Qi Gong and 56 common and contemporary.
The practice of Qi Gong might require you to do an extensive amount of learning and research but the fact that this art has been in use for centuries proves that it will be more than worth it.
Qi Gong’s focus on movement, breathing, and meditation helps the practitioner master his or her reaction to stress and stressful situations.
Zazen meditation is the cornerstone of Zen Buddhism, and can be literally translated to “seated meditation”. Your posture here is key because how you sit is how you take in the universe.
Sitting comfortably cross-legged with a straight back will give you the centeredness you need to achieve a deeper level of awareness. Zen meditation has its roots in Buddhism and focuses on a union of mind and breath to acquire a deeper insight.
Zazen or Zen meditation is fairly easy to by yourself but will eventually require you to a teacher should you wish to progress into deeper meditative experiences. Benefits include a suspension of judgment and prejudice in all things.
5. Heart Rhythm Meditation
A form of downward meditation, Heart Rhythm Meditation or HRM is a practice which focuses on the breathing patterns and heartbeats to lull you into your trance.
The purpose is to experience a greater affinity between yourself and the environment around you. This will help you feel a greater sense of joy and increased physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
6. Guided Visualization
This meditation is relatively new with inspiration from the teachings of Buddha. The idea is to meditate with a vision of your desired end in your mind.
This can be anything from losing weight to the assimilation of a certain virtue you wish to have. By visualizing your objective with a can-do, positive attitude, you subconsciously flush out any negativity or pessimism that might prevent you from doing otherwise.
7. Primordial Sound Meditation
Rooted in Vedic traditions of India, making a primordial sound or repeating a mantra is sure to take your mind into a deeper place of awareness.
Mimicking the sounds a baby might here when still in the womb, this form of meditating plays ina to deep subconscious level of our psyche that was always there, just forgotten.
Your mantra can be anything that holds any significance in your life. You can look up ancient phrases or chants or simply repeat a phrase you wish to be true about yourself.
8. Transcendental Meditation
A modern school of meditation practice, Transcendental Meditation (or TM) aims to reach a state of enlightenment in which the individual feels an unparalleled state of bliss and inner calmness.
The practitioner sits in Lotus, chants, and concentrate on rising above negativity and strife.
Be patient with yourself as meditation can be a trial and error process in the beginning. Keep a journal to record and compare the effectiveness of each form in relation to you.
Do not despair if you and understand there are those who dedicate their entire lives to meditating so no one expects you to get it on your first try. Keep at it!
Common Problems Experienced in Meditation
“Difficulties and obstacles, if properly understood and used, can turn out to be an unexpected source of strength.” Sogyal Rinpoche
“We don’t meditate to see heaven, but to end suffering.” Ajahn Chah
“Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.” Sai Baba
Whether you’re a beginning or an experienced meditator, you will inevitably come up against problems. It’s in the overcoming of these hurdles that meditation presents an opportunity for growth. One that can have life-changing effects.
Theravada monk Bhante Gunaratana writes: “The reason we are all stuck in life’s mud is that we ceaselessly run from our problems and after our desires. Meditation provides us with a laboratory situation in which we can examine this syndrome and devise strategies for dealing with it.” 1
Here are a few ways you can carve a path around some of the barriers to easeful practice.
Boredom isn’t clear-cut. We might equally say that we are feeling demotivated, lazy or that our mind is dull…all have a similar flavor.
Boredom usually manifests as an aversion to practicing: we can’t muster the energy to sit down in the first place, and when we do we’re just waiting for the session to end.
- Contemplate the advantages of meditation. How will awareness, and its propensity to calm your reactivity, benefit you in daily life? How will physically reducing your stress help? Consider questions like these to cultivate the desire to get your bum on the cushion.
- Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness. Use the arising of boredom as an opportunity to re-establish mindfulness. To quote Bhante again: “If the breath seems an exceedingly dull thing to observe over and over, you may rest assured of one thing: you have ceased to observe the process with true mindfulness.” 2
- Choose a time to practice when you’re well-rested and don’t have any pressing commitments. Often, you might not want to meditate because the need to unwind is more pressing. Research has shown that we’re more likely to follow through on a course of action if our need for recuperation has been met.
Buddhists usually refer to distraction as excitation, and it has varying degrees. Alan Wallace describes it thus: “When coarse excitation takes over the mind, we completely lose touch with our chosen object of meditation. It’s as if the mind is abducted against its will, and thrown in the trunk of a distracting thought or sensory stimulus. …The mind jumps from one object to another like a bird flitting from branch to branch, never at rest.” 3
- Relax more deeply. Take a handful of deep breaths, loosen tensions in your body, reflect on a calming image…whatever works for you. As Wallace goes on to say: “Such turbulence is overcome only by persistent skillful practice, cultivating deeper relaxation, a sense of inner ease.” 4 Relaxing the mind is the key to quieting it.
- Count your breaths. Counting each breath, saying the number silently to yourself after each exhalation, can often succeed in stilling the mind. You are essentially using the conceptual mind to help lessen its intrusion.
- Note the distractions (literally, if you need to). If there are many thoughts vying for your attention, note them. You might want to say them aloud or even write them down.
3. Physical Pain
- Make yourself more comfortable. Top marks for the obvious, I know! You will eventually adjust to your sitting posture. Having your hands rest in your lap and keeping your head level can go some way in reducing neck and upper-back discomfort. You may find a mat useful.
- Direct your attention to the pain. If the pain becomes so pressing that it pulls you from your chosen object, simply use it as the focus of your mindfulness. This is what Bhante G recommends.
4. Am I doing this technique right? Can I possibly succeed?
This kind of negative self-talk is a good thing. You’re illuming some of your latent beliefs about meditation (and perhaps other things in your life). Perfectionism can be let go off, replaced with an attitude of gentleness and impartiality.
- Accept that self-criticism is normal and “return”. You will be frustrated. Accept this, as non-judgementally as you can, and re-establish mindfulness on your meditation object.
- Consciously affirm a playful attitude. Doing so will stop you from becoming frustrated at yourself when you think you’ve done something that’s “wrong.” Remind yourself that there is no exact right or wrong.
5. Ego is the enemy!
Ego isn’t the enemy. This is a usual, but not a useful, belief. Mind, self, ego…whatever you want to call it, it’s not the bad guy.
- Simply being aware of this belief can be enough to quell it. Treat all the rumination and the frustration that you may be experiencing as an opportunity for mindfulness. In doing so you are examining the workings of your mind, growing better able to accept and manage it in the long-term.
So there you go! What problems have you experienced and what have you found helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
If you want to go a little deeper, consider our selection of the best meditation books for beginners. We’ve also written a comprehensive introduction to meditation, alongside an introduction to the scientific dimension of practice.
Bringing it All Together: Setting Yourself Reminders
Once you’ve acquainted yourself with a handful of techniques, you’ll need to incorporate them into your daily life. Identify the best times for practice and then set yourself some reminders, until the habit’s formed.
- Computer background/screensaver.
- Your phone’s background.
- Plum Village mindfulness software.
- A little note on your desk. (This is my favorite)
The Quick Guide
In a rush? Just use this quick guide.
Deep Relaxing Meditation: Making space for relaxation, on a regular basis, is one of the most beneficial things we can do. This article outlines three techniques that have been proven to powerfully engage the body’s healing mechanisms.
Does Meditation Work? The Scientific Basis: If you’re interested in learning a little more about some of the recent scientific research into traditional contemplative practices, and how its conducted, then you might like this article.
Best Meditation Books (for Busy People): A collection of books about meditation specifically chosen for their applicability to busy, modern living.
Meditation in a New York Minute by Mark Thornton
The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson
The Art of Meditation by Matthieu Ricard