“Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.”
Many times students hear me talk about Meditation. Everyone thinks of something difficult, sitting down trying to quiet the mind and feel like wasted time because no one can ever do so. What most people do not know is that meditation can be done in many different ways. Meditation for me is a way to be mindful of what I am doing, what I am thinking and not acting in autopilot.
One of the things we remembered the most of our trip through South Asia is meditating with Buddhist Monks at the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple. There is a beautiful temple, full of gold Buddhas and a killer view of Chiang Mai city. What many people don’t know is that on top of the mountain, there is also a retreat center for Vipasana meditation and the opportunity to meditate and learn from monks themselves.
This retreat was actually very intense for the mind even though it seemed simple. However, by the end of the day, we would had meditated about 4 to 5 hours. It was a real way to look deep within ourselves and control our mind. This retreat was intense and challenging but very rewarding.
For those of you who are not ready for a challenging retreat but would like to try meditation, here are some of the tips we learned and how to start meditating today. These are the best meditation tips for beginners and how I started meditating.
People consider sitting down the only way to meditate but as we learned from the Monks themselves, there are many ways to be in a state of meditation, and here are their Vipassana meditation techniques. Consider to start with no more than 5 to 7 minutes, as to not overwhelm yourself the first day. After a week or so, you can start adding more minutes. The idea here is to catch where your mind goes and come back to a still mind. Do not get discourage the first time and say ‘Oh I can’t concentrate, can’t empty my mind, this sucks’. The main thing is to be aware of your mind and thoughts then go back to focus of the meditation.
Find the quietest room in the house and sit in a comfortable position, straight back, close your eyes and put your right-hand on top of your left-hand down by your belly, or by your sides. Concentrate on your stomach, or your third eye. As you breath in, say in your head “Rising”, then as you breath out, say in your head “Falling.” It’s as simple as that. Do it for minimum 5 minutes and then step by step add more minutes. Don’t worry about if you start thinking of something else, catch yourself and go back to “Rising” and “Falling.” The important part here is to make yourself aware of other thoughts coming into your mind and catch yourself.
Walking meditation is a bit more dynamic but requires even more concentration. As you have your right foot forward, say in your head “Moving” then move the left foot forward very slow and say mentally “Rising”, and then “Touching”. Walk a few steps like that then turn around and repeat until time is done. You can even more detail your steps by adding more words such as “Lowering”, “Turning”, ect.
This practice is great before falling asleep. Lay down in your bed or somewhere you find comfortable, stack both hands on your stomach, and just concentrate on your breathing. As you inhale, say in your head “Rising,” and as you exhale, say in your head “Falling.”
Yoga is at the end a form of meditation, which I like to call it yoga meditation. Every asana in our practice help us to stay in a meditated state, where we connect the body to the mind, breathing and drishti (gaze).
You’ll see how challenging each and every one of these techniques are, but it’s been scientifically proven to help you reduce stress and control many other stressors in our lives. It is said that our thoughts control our feelings. Have positive thoughts and you’ll see how good you feel throughout the day.
If you want to see other photos or more information about the retreat in Chiang Mai, visit our travel blog at http://pilotfish.ch
“Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, “What have you gained through meditation.” The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all.” “Then, Blessed One, what good is it.” “Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.”
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