Mindfulness is gaining more attention than ever, but this ancient practice can be challenging to master. Even the experts still struggle with wandering thoughts and an unfocused mind during their meditation, but there are some valuable resources available that can help beginners embrace mindfulness and make the most out of their meditative practices.
Creating the Right Meditation Environment
Many meditation newcomers mistakenly believe that the practice should rid the brain of all thought, but the true heart of meditation lies in acceptance and passivity. Rather than being engaged in a forceful battle against the brain’s will, meditation invites everyone to find inner peace as they release power over their thoughts and allow them to pass freely.
A quiet, still the place is the best environment to do this, but some people find white noise or calm meditation music helpful. For those who experience racing or intrusive thoughts when they meditate, an instrumental track or a playlist of sounds like the ones on the Calm app can be highly beneficial.
A Concentration Tool
Holding something or using an object as a focusing tool during meditation can make it easier to concentrate on the breath and soothe the mind. Prayer beads, small marbles, or any other object one finds soothing can be used. The final choice should be something small and easy to pass from one hand to the other, in time with the breath.
A timer can also be used to ensure meditators do not fall asleep. Using a timer also helps beginners learn to accept the act of meditation, regardless of whether or not it was the most rewarding session. There is always the opportunity to come back and try again.
The Right Seating
A chair or bench is most useful in the beginning. It’s recommended that people practice meditation upright to avoid falling asleep during the exercise. Finding the right position is up to the individual, and some may prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor while others feel most at ease in their favorite armchair. Listen to the body to find what is most comfortable.
A Good Guide
Meditating alone is difficult for beginners. A meditation app like Headspace offers guided meditations that introduce people to the fundamentals of mindfulness, breathing, and training the mind to respond to meditation.