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What beginners need to know about meditation

Intan Tanjung
Intan Tanjung

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, July 9, 2016  /  06:27 pm
What beginners need to know about meditation

A woman meditates. (Shutterstock/-)

With stress and pressure coming from every direction, regular meditation can provide a way to stay mentally healthy. If you are new to it, here are some things every beginner needs to know about meditation.

Return to reality

The purpose of meditation is to train your brain in mindfulness, which involves seeing reality and giving up on overthinking, as we often pollute our minds with negative talk and mix up reality with things created in our heads.

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“Mindfulness is simply the perception of what’s fully happening in the moment not distorted by bias, playing old stories, usually that have something to do with regret, over and over and over, or anticipating future events that most likely will never happen,” said Sharon Salzberg, as quoted by The Washington Post.

Salzberg, who is an author and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, the US, explained that mindfulness is like making and drinking a cup of coffee and experiencing it fully, rather than allowing the mind to wander.

It’s not about clearing your mind

You don’t clear your mind when you meditate, but instead turn your focus to something else, like your breath, for example. When everything goes wrong, we tend to blame ourselves and that is where mind-polluting starts. It can make us suffer and can lead to anxiety, panic attacks or, worse, depression.

By turning our focus from our busy minds to something tangible, like breathing, we begin to pay attention to what is happening aside from being buried by our talkative minds.

Start small

Don’t go straight into an eight-day vipassana retreat if you have never tried meditating before. It is better to take small steps before engaging in extensive practice. It’s like getting used to doing sprints before trying a marathon.

Start with two minutes of analyzing your breath, then continue with closing your eyes. Increase the duration every time you do another meditation session.

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Do it your way

You can sit, lean back, lie down; it’s not about how you do it, but about how comfortable you are. If you think you can only do a two-minute session, do it. The most important goal is being at one with reality and controlling your mind. (kes)

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