Meditation is the art of focusing 100% of your attention in one area. Below are some practical recommendations to help beginners get past the initial hurdles and integrate meditation over the long term:
1) Make it a formal practice. You will only get to the next level in meditation by setting aside specific time (preferably two times a day) to be still.
2) Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.
3) Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.
4) Meditate with purpose. Meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged.
5) Notice when frustration creep up on you. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.
6) Experiment. Be experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.
7) Feel your body parts. Take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs).
8) Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles and other spiritual helps in the room to help you feel at ease.
9) Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by NOT examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it go!
10) Generate moments of awareness during the day. Finding your breath and “being present” at various points throughout the day is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation habits.
11) Make sure you will not be disturbed. For example, if you have it in the back of your mind that the phone might ring then you will not be able to attain a state of deep relaxation.
12) Do NOT stress. No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it is, and just do the best you can at the time.
13) Do it together. Meditating with a partner or friend can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin!
14) Meditate early in the morning. Without a doubt, early morning is an ideal
time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate.
15) Be Grateful at the end. Once your practice is through, spend 2-3 minutes feeling appreciative of the opportunity to practice and your mind’s ability to focus.
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