While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
Meditation: Meditation for beginners: Learn to build a daily meditation habit, calm your mind, increase happiness, success, health, memory, concentration and reduce stress.
First edition. February 19, 2017.
Copyright © 2017 Gabriel Shaw.
Written by Gabriel Shaw.
What is Meditation? 7
History of Meditation 11
Benefits of Meditation 13
Different Meditation Practices 20
How to Meditate 24
Steps to Meditate 27
Beginner Meditation Practices 30
Meditation Practices for Everyday Life 33
Meditation Practices to
Reduce Stress and Anxiety 35
Meditation and Success 38
Making Meditation a Daily Habit 43
Advanced Meditation Lessons 51
Meditation Quotes 56
Meditation Apps and Resources 65
About the Author 79
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.”
In recent years, meditation has seen a significant rise in popularity, in part due to the number of successful people practicing regular meditation and proclaiming the immense benefits on their life and achievements. No matter how busy they are, they always make time for daily meditation practice, often in the morning before starting their day.
However, despite the recent uptake and awareness of meditation, it is not a new practice but one that dates back thousands of years. While people who meditate regularly claim they feel better physically and mentally, it has only been in the last few decades however that science and technology are able to truly understand the positive benefits on the body and brain.
Meditation has recently caught the eye of many researchers, scientists, and health experts leading to many studies finding great benefits on the mind, brain and body of regular meditation.
There have been numerous studies and research that show the practice of both meditation and mindfulness can have positive impacts such as reducing stress, anxiety, depression along with increasing focus, creativity, happiness, health and countless other benefits.
With regular practice, meditation has been shown to have significant positive physical changes on the brain such as increasing grey matter in the brain in areas associated with learning, memory and regulating emotions. There is also evidence that meditation helps boost the immune system and many other positive health benefits.
If there are so many positive benefits of meditation, why doesn’t everyone meditate?
Many people still find it difficult to learn how to meditate, maintain a meditation practice or even know where to start.
Often when starting a meditation habit, people are motivated at the start but then get caught up with life and don’t make the time to do it.
Meditation is like going to the gym, you won’t notice results just going once, it will seem difficult, you may feel that you’re not doing it correctly and won’t see any short-term gains. Meditation is like exercise for the mind, it takes time to see results and requires regular consistent practice but over time you will notice the changes and enjoy the benefits.
This book will help you build and maintain a meditation practice to enjoy the benefits of regular meditation.
At the start of this book, you will learn the history of meditation, different meditation practices, the basics of meditation and the health benefits as evidenced by research.
In the chapters after that, you will learn practical techniques on how to meditate and build it into a daily habit.
At the end of this book, you will find some meditation quotes to keep you inspired and motivated to practice it as well as some recommended meditation apps and websites to help you continue to nurture this habit.
You do not need any previous experience or knowledge of meditation to benefit from this book.
While this book is a short introduction, it contains a lot of practical exercises that you can apply to your life. You should not try to rush through this book but instead absorb and reflect on the information in the book.
You can start to help build your meditation practice and increase your attention muscle when reading this book by not being distracted by Facebook, emails, TV, notifications, radio, conversations or browsing the internet while reading.
The more we are distracted or multi-task during the day, the more our brain is distracted by thoughts and different stresses which makes it harder to focus and calm the mind.
If you are on a train or feel you don’t have the time to sit and read this then you can just be mindful to not change between apps or websites while reading this book, read it in your head to yourself and try not to let your mind wander to other thoughts while reading.
I hope you find value in reading this book and that it helps you develop a regular meditation habit and enjoy the benefits on your mind, body and life.
Meditation Exercise: Set a time of day and commit to meditate for a few minutes.
One of the biggest reasons that people fail to build a meditation is that they think they are too busy, they get caught up in their day to day life and don’t make the time. They are rushed in the morning and will meditate later but then they get to the end of the day and are too tired to meditate and want to sleep.
It’s crucial that you schedule in some time to meditate, even if it’s only 10 minutes, this doesn’t have to be an exact time but it should be a regular time or event that triggers it. For example, as soon as you wake up, or after you have your morning coffee, after you eat your lunch etc.
The time might vary but you have a trigger that prompts you to meditate on a regular basis.
Personally, I find that meditating first thing in the morning works best for me. As soon as I wake up, I boil the kettle, make a coffee, then go to the couch and meditate. After meditation, I enjoy my morning coffee while writing and reviewing my plans and calendar for the day.
I wake up a bit earlier, to ensure I am not rushed, I don’t check my phone or emails and it gives me calm at the start of the day.
This works for me, but you can select any time you choose, it could be after you come home from work, you could change out of your work clothes, put on some relaxing clothes and start a meditation practice in your room where you won’t be disturbed.
It could be the middle of the day or end of the day, the time of day is not important, what is important is that you commit to doing it. Block it out in your calendar if you feel that will help remind you.
Schedule the time in your day to be a regular time of peace and calm where you will practice meditation.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be a long time, you will notice the benefits from even 10 minutes a day.
At the moment, just pick the time of day and commit to that being your time of day you will meditate.
“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet.
The word “meditation” often evokes images of monks sitting cross-legged in a temple, chanting their mantras with eyes closed in deep concentration. However, meditation isn’t just restricted to monks or people that have studied the practice for years, these days it is accessible to everyone anywhere in the world with a little bit of knowledge and practice.
Meditation is a broad term that refers to a range of techniques that allow one’s self to achieve calm, peace of mind, be present in the moment or a heightened awareness or consciousness.
Meditation can be practiced for religious, spiritual, or relaxation purposes. It can be practiced in complete silence or be accompanied by mantras and music for meditation. Holding prayer beads, doing a specific physical posture, or lighting up incense are also common practices in meditation.
Even taking a few deep breaths or a walk in the park can be considered a form of meditation practice.
The word meditation is also sometimes associated with the words “unknown” and “mysterious”. But this book hopes to shed light on some of the questions regarding meditation, how you can do it, and its many benefits, among other things.
Meditation is derived from the Latin word “meditatio” which means to think, ponder, or contemplate. Being able to meditate means we are able to removing the turmoil in our minds for a period of time while remaining alert and aware. It may seem to be a difficult concept to grasp at first, but once you try practicing it, you will understand.
Meditation is closely associated with religion and spirituality. It has been practiced and developed in many religions all around the world, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, and even Christianity. Meditation has close ties to religion because it cultivates compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness.
Meditation has been defined by Walsh and Shapiro (2006) as a method of self-regulation, focusing on training one’s attention on awareness to make one’s mental processes easier to control voluntarily. Thus, the act of meditation cultivates general mental healthiness and development of a calmness and clarity of mind.
Jevning et al. (1992) define meditation as a stylized mental technique. It is practiced repeatedly to obtain a subjective experience, oftentimes characterized by restfulness, silence, bliss, and a heightened sense of alertness despite all the calming effects of meditation.
With all the complexities and differences in each type of meditation across cultures and religions, the concept remains extremely difficult to define. In fact, there has yet to be a universally accepted definition of meditation in the scientific community.
However, a brief introduction to some of the most common types of meditation as well as familiarizing one’s self with the history of meditation can help further your understanding of what meditation is, and give you a better grasp on the concept.
Because there are so many types of meditation, not all of them can be discussed in this book. However, almost all types of meditation fall under one of three categories: concentration/focused attention, open monitoring, and effortless awareness.
Focused attention involves enhancing concentration by focusing your attention on one specific thing, often a physical object, for extended periods of time. The goal of this type of meditation is to develop a strong and unshakable focus. The object being focused on can also be one’s breathing, a mantra, visualization, or a part of the body, though the things you may focus on are not limited to just that.
Open-monitoring meditation, as the name suggests, allows us to monitor all aspects of our experience in the moment, without generating any kind of reaction or judgment. Internally, we can monitor our thoughts, feelings, and memories. Externally, we can monitor our senses. These are acknowledged and perceived for what they are.
Effortless presence, on the other hand, does not involve focusing on anything. Also called “choiceless awareness” and pure being, this type of meditation requires you to find stillness, tranquillity, and emptiness within. In this type of meditation, you must completely silence your mind and stop thinking or producing thoughts.
In Zen Buddhism, zazen, meaning seated meditation in Japanese, is usually the primary meditative discipline practiced by Buddhists. It can be traced back to Chinese Zen Buddhism and Indian monk Bodhidharma in 6th century CE. The posture is seated, with crossed legs and folded hands and an emphasis on a straight but relaxed back. The legs can be folded in one of the standard sitting styles, namely full-lotus, half-lotus, Burmese, and Seiza. Modern practitioners of zazen also practice it while seated on a chair.
Vipassana, meaning insight or clear seeing in Pali, is also a traditional Buddhist practice. It originates from the Theravada Buddhist tradition and was popularized by Mr. Goenka. This type of meditation often starts by cultivating an awareness of one’s own breathing, then “clear insight” on physical sensations and mental processes without reacting.
Metta meditation, also known as loving kindness meditation and compassion meditation, comes from Buddhist traditions of Theravada and Tibetan lineage. Metta is a Pali word meaning kindness, benevolence, and goodwill. It promotes empathy towards others, especially those who need it, the development of a positive outlook on life, and compassion towards one’s self. The Metta meditation begins by developing loving-kindness towards one’s self, the slowly progressing to others.
The recommended progression of loving-kindness meditation starts from the self, then to a good friend, to an acquaintance, an enemy or difficult person, and eventually, the entire universe.
Mantra meditation involves repeating a mantra over extended periods of time. A mantra can be a syllable, word, or phrase that is repeated to aid one’s focus on their mind. Oftentimes, it has no particular meaning. An example of a mantra is the well-known “om”, which also has its own type of meditation dedicated to it called Om meditation.
You may notice that some of the different types of meditation overlap with each other. This is because most of them have their roots from Buddhist practices. There are many, many more types of meditation, but these are the most popular types as of now.
Mindfulness is very popular practice and many people group mindfulness and meditation together as the same thing.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation however they are different practices.
Mindfulness focuses on being in the present moment without letting your mind wander to the past or future. You focus on what you are currently doing. While meditation often involves closing the eyes and focusing on your breathing.
You could be practicing mindfulness while walking, eating, drinking, reading, or evening working at a computer.
For example, if you are eating food, you focus on the taste, the texture and flavors and focus on the act of eating. You are mindful of your actions and focusing on them without distraction.
As mentioned in the introduction, you can practice mindfulness while reading this book, by focusing intently on the book and nothing else, turning off notifications, avoid other distractions such as switching between apps.
Practicing meditation will help you be more mindful, and practicing mindfulness will help you meditate and focus better. While they are related, and do go together, they are different practices.
This book only covers mindfulness briefly, if you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, please check out Mindfulness for Beginners by Gabriel Shaw.
“Inner stillness is the key to outer strength.”
Meditation can be traced back to prehistoric times, religion at that time was characterized by repeated, rhythmical chants which are today commonly known as mantras.
In ancient civilization, the oldest records of meditation found come from 1500 BCE from Vedantis of Hindu tradition. Dhyana, as they call it, was written in the Vedas that discuss the methods of meditation in early India. Then, around early to late 5th century BCE, other meditative methods were developed in China (Taoism) and India (Buddhism).
In the Indus Valley, archaeologists discovered what seemed to be depictions of meditative practices on walls. The depictions were dated at around 5,000 to 3,500 BCE, showing what we would now recognize as meditation postures— sitting on the ground with crossed legs and hands resting on knees.
The spread of Buddhism to other countries of oriental nature would also lead to more people knowing about meditation, with the first “authentic school” in East Asia being founded by Zhiyi during the 6th century at Central China, while Korean Buddhism and meditation began to develop in the 7th century.
As the middle ages began, with close ties to religion and spirituality, meditation found its way to the Japanese, the Jewish, the Islamic, and Eastern and Western Christians.
Japanese Buddhism began growing during the 18th century. Having travelled to China in 653, Dosho, a Japanese monk, was able to learn about Zen. When he returned, he opened the first meditation hall of Japan at the Nara Prefecture.
The Chinese continued to influence the Japanese with meditative practices, which would then be given a few modifications.
Jewish meditation began to grow and change at the beginning of the Middle Ages. Meditative praying, studying, and mitzvot (613 commandments) were developed.
Sufism or Islamic mysticism also involved meditative practices that involved controlling one’s breathing and chanting holy words in the 12th century.
During the Byzantine period, Eastern Christian meditation involved repeating a phrase while holding a specific posture. From the 10th to 14th century, hesychasm was developed which involves chanting prayers, and is still being practiced today.
Western Christian meditation, on the other hand, requires no chanting or specific physical posture, in contrast to the other meditative techniques at that time.
During the 12th century, four steps of meditation were coined by Guigo II. The four steps, compared to a ladder, consist of the Latin words lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio which mean to read, think deeply, pray, and contemplate, respectively. Christian meditation would then continue to be developed around the 16th century by some saints.
Meditation began to increase in popularity in the middle of the 20th century. At that time, it was introduced to the United States by Swami Vivekananda.
From prehistoric times to our current time, meditation has come a long way. Even until now, meditation is still practiced for religious and spiritual purposes.
In fact, all the major religions have adapted various types of meditation in one way or another. Aside from religion and spirituality, meditation is now being practiced for relaxation, stress-relief, as well as health benefits.
“Generally, we waste our lives, distracted from our true selves, in endless activity. Meditation is the way to bring us back to ourselves, where we can really experience and taste our full being.”
Reasons to Meditate
When you start integrating meditation into your daily routine, you may begin to feel subtle changes. However, as it starts to become a daily, regular habit, the changes become clearer and more prominent. You will experience distinct changes within the self (a positive change in thoughts, feelings, and instincts) and your relationship with external forces (your new perception of reality and a heightened sense of awareness). Many have claimed such positive changes occurring after they made meditation a regular habit.
Meditation can become a crucial part of our lives and our self-development— mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Here are the reasons why.
Achieve Inner Peace
Imagine your body and soul as a physical place. Every day, we are subjected to junk that clutters up our space as negative thoughts, emotions, and energy pile up. This junk can come from anywhere. It can come from the media, from people, our workplace, our surroundings, or even from ourselves. If you have ever experienced unnecessary thoughts suddenly popping up, such as negative memories you don’t want to bring up, this is a sign that you are experiencing inner clutter.
When you meditate, all the negative thoughts, emotions, and energy are disposed of in a healthy manner. All the junk is slowly cleared out of your system, like cleaning out a cluttered house. All the built-up emotions from the past are expelled. Positive energy is drawn from negative energy. And in the end, those negative things that weigh you down no longer affect you, as you have achieved a sense of inner peace. And that’s one of the greatest benefits of meditation.
Upon meditating regularly, you will be able to reach the highest point of calmness in mind. You will realize how much background noise your mind had prior to making meditation a regular practice. Your mind is now clear, silent, and cleansed.
Attain a Heightened Sense of Self-Awareness
You may not be aware of the thousands and thousands of thoughts that run through your head every single day. You may not know or even be aware of what you are thinking all of the time. You may also experience moments of uncertainty in your thoughts and in what you desire.
But meditation can change that. It gives you clarity on what you are thinking, what your inner desires are, and enhances your self-awareness. A person who meditates regularly picks up considerably more on one’s own thoughts, as opposed to a person who does not meditate. By being able to become aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and desires, you can discern better when it comes to decision-making. Such clarity is also important in choosing your path in life. Without this level of self-awareness and clarity, you become easily influenced by external factors. But by meditating, you begin to know what you want, how you think, and how you feel.
Increase Your Consciousness
To be conscious is more than just to be physically awake or aware, both of which are knowingness at a physical and mental level, respectively. Consciousness is a state of knowingness that encompasses the mind, the heart, and the spirit. To be conscious is to be aware, on another level, of one’s thoughts, feelings, surroundings, and even one’s own existence.
The perceptions, beliefs, and outlook on life that we have right now are a result of the consciousness that we are operating in— our “lens” of reality. An epiphany, a sudden change in direction of life, and meeting new people that impact our world are some of the things that can change our consciousness in some way or form.
By meditating, you achieve a higher consciousness level. You become more connected to the places and people that surround you. There is an increased consciousness of the interconnectivity of everything in the universe. Negative emotions begin to loosen their grip on your thoughts and are replaced with positive ones such as bravery, clarity, and passion.
Become Grounded and Calmer
While you meditate, your attachment with the physical world ceases to exist. You become a sort of observer of reality. Feelings and thoughts run through you, which you can observe deeper than before. This, in turn, stops you from being overruled by your ego.
With that detachment, your observation skills peak, and you become more aware of people’s actions, as well as changes in the environment. You become calmer and more level-headed, being able to handle situations of negativity and adversity objectively in a detached manner.
Increase Your Sense of Presence
Being grounded begets a higher sense of presence in reality. The events of the past or anticipation of the future stop bothering you. With this newfound freedom, you are able to function to your fullest potential. By seizing the day, you are able to live life to the fullest.
Increase Your Spiritual Connection
The higher levels of consciousness achieved in meditation make you naturally predisposed for being spiritually in tune. It also improves your intuition, which can have a huge impact on your life and decision-making.
Spirituality has been a big part of meditation ever since its inception. Though, even if you are not the spiritual type, you can still practice meditation for its relaxing effects and benefits to the mind and body.
Feel More Fulfilled in Life
All in all, the benefits that meditation has on your mind and soul combine to give you a great sense of fulfilment. You gain increased control of yourself, become better at dealing with emotions and problems positively, and start to feel more rejuvenated. With meditation, you get more out of yourself and out of living.
It may be shocking to think that a process that involves sitting down and closing one’s eyes can do so much to improve one’s life. But there is much evidence to back it up. Meditation has been practiced since ancient times and the benefits of meditation have been recorded since then.
Meditation costs you nothing, and the benefits easily outweigh the struggle that may be involved in starting out. Many people have said it, but everyone should try cultivating meditation as a habit. It’s one of the best things you can do to improve yourself, your way of thinking and your mind, your health and your body.
And those are the reasons why you should meditate. Next, we will go over the many benefits of meditation on the mind and body.
Meditation has countless benefits for the mind and body aside from the ones stated in the previous section. It is a means of improving one’s mental processes and making one’s body stronger and healthier. It can benefit a person in infinitely many ways.
Mentally, meditation increases mental strength, focus, memory retention, and recall. It encourages better cognitive skills and creative thinking. It also makes for better decision-making and problem-solving skills. Emotionally, it enhances self-acceptance, improves resilience against pain and adversity in life, and promotes a positive outlook on life.
Meditation is also known to reduce stress. And with the reduction of stress, many health benefits follow. It also improves cardiovascular and immune health, gives you more restful sleep and increases longevity.
Spiritually, meditation allows for an effortless transition from a state of being, to merging with the immaterial and the infinite and recognizing one’s self as an inseparable part of the universe. With this, you will find yourself in a vast space of tranquillity and joy.
Additionally, meditation helps us detach from the trifles of life, allowing us to live life to the fullest. By not letting little things be magnified into what we perceive as bigger problems, we are freer, more productive, and less agitated. We are aided in our goals to reach our dreams and begin to feel a sense of fulfilment in life.
We are freed from the fear, anger, frustration, and negative emotions that build up and constantly plague our minds. And as inner peace is achieved, we feel a sense of restfulness, clarity, and relief.
Meditation makes way for epiphanies regarding life, one’s self, and the nature of reality itself. With deep ties to spirituality, it is a way of gaining access to our soul and inner self, enabling us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Meditation is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It can drastically affect your quality of life, as well as your perception of anything and everything— all in the most positive way possible.
There are so many benefits of meditation that it’s hard to think of a reason not to. Through meditation, we can gain a better understanding of our purpose in life. We attain a better understanding of ourselves and the universe as a whole.
With all the benefits of meditation, you begin to feel a strong sense of rejuvenation and a newfound strength in life. It may be hard to believe, but meditation really is beneficial to all aspects of yourself and your life. Once you try and make it a regular habit, you’ll realize soon enough.
It’s not difficult to find time to meditate, and it doesn’t require you to invest in anything. All you need is yourself. With meditation, you develop a healthier mind, body, and spirit. No side effects, no spending, and no time wasted. That’s why you should at least give it a try— you have nothing to lose and possibly many more things to gain.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation can be useful if you have a medical condition, particularly ones that can be worsened by stress. Research suggests that meditation can help people manage symptoms of conditions of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety.
In fact, its therapeutic effects have made it a recommended practice by therapists and counsellors alike. Meditation may also help with asthma, as stress is a common trigger. The breathing practices involved in meditation also help in regulating your heart rate and respiratory rate.
Research also suggests that meditation is beneficial for patients with cancer, clinical depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, and sleep problems.
A study published in late 2012 observed a group of individuals at risk of heart diseases and stroke. The individuals were asked to take attend classes on transcendental meditation. During the next 5 years, researchers found that individuals who took meditation classes attained a 48% reduction in their overall risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.
A recent research also states that just half an hour of meditation daily reduces the risk of heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s and early death later in life.
In general, meditation has shown positive effects on patients with certain diseases and conditions. Your circulatory system, respiratory system, and even your immune system can benefit from meditation.
Benefits of Meditation on Your Mind
Meditation provides a sense of calm, peace, and balance. It improves your focus and gives you a sense of clarity in your thoughts and the way you perceive things. It also helps you control your thoughts by freeing the mind from self-doubt and internal chatter.
It can help in dealing with fears as well. Meditating before speaking in front of a crowd, for instance, can significantly improve the performance of those who suffer from the fear of public speaking. Most likely, this is because meditation has calming effects, enhances focus, and promotes positivity. Repeated meditation is also shown to help in conquering fears and anxiety in the long run.
Meditating cultivates willpower, builds concentration, and boosts cognitive function. In fact, a study has found that meditators scored higher on tests of cognitive skill, in some cases scoring significantly higher than non-meditators.
Another thing that meditation is well-known for is its ability to reduce levels of stress, as well as improve the performance of individuals when put under stressful situations as studies have shown.
People who struggle with feelings of loneliness have been shown to feel better with meditation. Some report that meditation effectively reduced their feelings of loneliness and helped them cope with such feelings.
In general, meditation gives you a stronger mind, resilience in times of adversity, and a higher level of emotional intelligence. It also improves one’s learning skills, memory, and self-awareness.
Meditation is truly a means of transforming one’s mind. One can reap countless benefits for their mind just from practicing meditating and making it a daily habit.
Benefits of Meditation on Your Brain
Meditation physically changes the brain— in a good way. It reduces the amount of gray matter in the brain that is related to anxiety and stress, thus reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders like panic disorder and social anxiety. It also increases cortical thickness in the hippocampus area, which is responsible for learning and memory skills.
It has also been shown that people who meditate regularly have increased grey-matter density in areas concerning learning and memory, mood regulation, sense of individuality, and perceptiveness.
Meditation is not only a means of transforming the mind but the physical brain, as well. All these positive changes amount to a healthier and more capable mind.
Benefits for Work and Productivity
Meditation is recommended for work and productivity for many reasons. Because it effectively reduces stress and fear, you are less likely to procrastinate on the job. In fact, it can even help you quit the habit of procrastinating, as stress and fear are known to cause procrastination.
Stress can reduce your productivity and make work unenjoyable. Just to name a few, stress can cause health problems such as anxiety, stomach ulcers, hypertension, and heart disease. However, meditation can help reduce your risk of getting these health problems by training your body to release stress, thus lessening the amount of stress you go through daily. As you feel more energized and refreshed, you will feel that it is easier to concentrate on work. Since meditation also lessens fatigue, your ability to work benefits from that, too.
Meditation makes for more restful sleep and a feeling of restfulness in general. This sense of calmness within one’s self can be a huge boost in performance and motivation to work. The sense of inner peace and well-being that you gain from regular meditation can also make you feel good about what you do for a living. Learning to love your job works wonders in improving your performance and productivity.
Meditating at the beginning of the day will prepare you and make you feel ready to take on another day’s work. And, at the end of the day, you can meditate once more to recharge, relieve stress, and clear your mind. Integrating this into your daily routine can improve your work performance, productiveness, and stress levels significantly.
Meditation also improves your concentration and presence of mind— giving you a boost in performance. It allows you to work on things one at a time with great focus, which actually helps you accomplish more and produce the best quality in your work. Additionally, your brain is trained to shut out distractions and background noise, increasing your efficiency.
Another benefit you can get from meditation is increased creativity. By clearing your mind, you become more imaginative and creative. Ideas flow through your mind easier, and you are more aware of them as they come and go.
Meditation is definitely helpful for handling a stressful job. Whether you are a doctor, retailer, or artist, you will find improvement in your performance and mindset after making meditation a daily practice.
“Meditation stills the wandering mind and establishes us forever in a state of peace. “
There are thousands of ways to meditate, just as there are thousands of techniques involved in meditation, from focusing in candles, to holding prayer beads, to chanting mantras and listening to music.
[* Concentration/Focused Attention Meditation*]
One of the easiest ways to start meditating is by focusing on the breath or concentrating on anything for extended periods of time. This practice is called concentration or focused attention meditation. Common practices include chanting a phrase or mantra, starting at a candle flame, listening to a rhythmical or repetitive gong, or counting prayer beads.
If you notice your mind wandering from the object you are trying to focus on, you simply redirect your attention. Rather than letting yourself get swayed by random thoughts, you must try to let them go. Through the practice of refocusing, redirecting, and letting go, your ability to concentrate improves.
Focusing the mind may become challenging as it requires stronger mental effort, so it is recommended for beginners to meditate for shorter periods of time and then work on focusing for longer periods of time.
Open-monitoring meditation, on the other hand, only requires moderate mental effort and encourages you to observe random thoughts that go through your head. You must not get involved with the thoughts or react to them, but simply be aware of each mental process as it rises and falls.
Through mindfulness meditation, you learn how thoughts and feelings move in particular patterns. You become aware of the inclination to quickly judge an experience as good or bad. However, with practice, an inner balance develops and you are able to see things outside of how they make you feel.
TM (Transcendental Meditation)
Self-transcending meditation or transcendental meditation is a technique that requires no mental effort at all. It involves the use of sound or mantra for 15-20 minutes a day while sitting with the eyes closed. In some cases, the mantra is recited silently.
It is a technique for avoiding distractions and inducing a state of relaxed awareness that is said to be one of the most widely practiced meditation techniques in the world. During a session of transcendental meditation, practitioners say that the ordinary thinking process is transcended and replaced with a state of pure consciousness, completely free from mental boundaries.
Another popular meditation practice is the previously mentioned Vipassana. This meditation technique was popularized by S.N. Goenka. This technique involves practicing Samantha, usually done by being aware of one’s breathing. This is done to stabilize the mind and cultivate concentration. As you begin to notice other perceptions and sensations while observing your breath, the practice then progresses to observing bodily sensations and mental processes, observing them and then letting go.
The object or sensation that you are focusing on is called the primary object, while anything else that comes to your mind is the secondary object. When a secondary object diverts your attention from the primary object, you must take a few moments to focus on it, and label it with a mental note such as “feeling” or “desire”. This practice is called noting, identifying an object in general only and not in full detail.
Next, we have Taoist meditation. There are several different types, such as emptiness meditation. The concept is simple— one must sit quietly and empty the mind of all thoughts, emotions, and so on to achieve inner silence and emptiness.
Another technique is breathing meditation, one of the many practices that involve focusing all attention on your own breath. In certain methods, breathing patterns are also implemented.
Neiguan, on the other hand, involves visualizing your own body including internal organs, bodily movements, and thought processes. This is done to acquaint one’s self with the wisdom of nature in our body.
These Taoist meditations are done cross-legged and seated on the floor, with the back straight. These meditations are recommended for people who are connected with the human body and nature, as well as those who are into martial arts like Tai Chi.
There are also many types of meditation practiced during yoga, which is called Yoga Meditation. The most common practice is third eye meditation, which is done by focusing on the area between the eyebrows. This area is often called the third eye or Ajna chakra. The attention is constantly refocused on this area in order to silence the mind as time passes.
This practice is sometimes accompanied by physically “looking” at the area, with eyes closed.
One can also practice Chakra meditation while doing yoga, wherein one must focus on one of the seven chakras of the body, usually accompanied by visualization and chanting mantras for each chakra.
Another form of yoga meditation is Gazing meditation or trataka. This is a type of focused attention meditation that involves fixing the gaze on an external object, usually a candle, image, or symbols called yantras. After a while, the eyes are closed. The practitioner must then keep the object visualized in their mind. Thus, this meditation technique trains both focus and visualization skills.
Kriya Yoga, taught by Paramahamsa Yogananda, is a set of rejuvenation, breathing, and meditation exercises. This meditation practice is recommended for those who are spiritual or want to get in touch with spirituality. One can learn the technique by applying for Self-Realizations, completely free of charge.
Yet another yogic meditation is Nada meditation or sound yoga. It starts by focusing on external sounds, such as relaxing and atmospheric music. The practitioner must focus all his awareness on hearing alone to silence the mind. As time passes, the practitioner must then move on to the internal sounds of the mind.
Also spelled chi kung or chi gung, it is a Chinese word meaning “life energy cultivation”. It is a mind and body exercise for health, meditation, and training one’s self for martial arts. Though there are thousands of different Qigong exercises, it typically involves slow body movements, inner focus, and regulated breathing.
What meditation technique should I practice?
The type of meditation technique you choose to practice is up to you and whatever you find work best for you.
Vipassana, Concentration/Focused Attention Meditation and Open Monitoring are very common and easy to get started with especially as they used in many guided meditation apps that are available.
These techniques are a great place to start for beginners so this book along with the resources listed cover these practices in greater detail than the other techniques.
“You should not be carried away by the dictation of the mind, but the mind should be carried by your dictation. “
Now that we’ve covered the history and all the different meditation techniques, it’s time to discuss how you yourself can meditate.
Think about what you want to get out of meditation.
The first thing that you need to do is to think of what you want to get out of meditating. Some people meditate for health reasons; some see it as a way to deal with stress and anxiety, while others meditate to establish a spiritual connection. When you have a clear objective, it will be easier to get more out of it.
Find your ideal place to meditate.
The next thing you need to do is to find a quiet, non-distractive area— especially if you’re just starting out. While there are some meditative techniques you can practice while working or moving in general, meditating while sitting down is recommended for beginners. A quiet, dark room (either dim the lights or turn them off) is recommended for these types of meditation.
Choose your equipment.
You can also use a meditation chair or cushion to enhance your experience. For beginners, this is especially helpful. Meditation cushions, also known as zafus, let you sit on the ground while meditating. However, if you think sitting without back support hurts your back, you can still use a chair, with the spine kept erect during meditation.
Candles or scented incense also help to increase your relaxation and settle you in for meditation. You may also want to consider using prayer beads depending on what type of meditative technique you’ll be doing. An example of a meditative technique that uses prayer beads is mantra meditation, where the practitioner uses the prayer beads to count how many times they have chanted their mantra.
Wear comfortable clothing.
Wear clothes made of breathable fabric. Avoid tight clothing that may distract you. Loose clothes, such as ones you would sleep in, are much better.
Choose the time you are most comfortable with. While meditation can be used to ease anxiety and agitation, it may be easier for beginners to meditate when they are already in a calm state of mind. For instance, you can try meditating in the morning after just waking up, or after work when you are free to relax and unwind.
Do some stretches.
Meditation usually requires you to stay in one spot for a certain period of time, so it helps to decrease any tension or tightness in your body before starting. Stretching can also help you relax, which in turn helps you calm down and focus. Doing some light stretches will prepare your mind and body for meditation. The areas you should stretch are your neck, shoulders, and lower back.
Get a timer or a guided meditation app.
Getting a timer or guided meditation app will help you manage your time and clear out the possibility of getting distracted by checking the time.
Set up everything you need.
Dim or turn off the lights, close the windows and put your phone on silent mode. If you want to keep track of time, set your timer. You may start with short, 3-5 minute sessions. Slowly but surely, you may work your way out to half an hour or even hour-long meditation sessions.
You may also want to use candles, incense, meditation music or any calm and ambient music to help you relax. You can even choose a mantra to chant repeatedly to help guide your focus, such as “om”, “ma-ra-na-tha”, and “nam myoho renge kyo”. You can either repeat it to yourself silently in your mind, or chant in soft, quiet whispers to calm yourself down. Chanting a mantra can help you achieve inner peace and enter a deeper state of mind.
Start by positioning yourself comfortably on your cushion or chair, with your back straight. You can also sit with your back against the wall. This posture aids your concentration and helps in breathing exercises and techniques. You can position your legs any way you want, as long as you are relaxed and comfortable. Additionally, you don’t have to worry too much about your hand positions. The only important thing is to keep your posture straight, yet relaxed.
Tilt your chin.
Though this is not necessary, tilting your chin slightly downward opens up your chest and helps with breathing deeply. You can choose to do this with your eyes opened or closed, though beginners may find it easier to block out physical distractions with their eyes closed.
Keep your mouth closed as you breathe.
In this particular meditation technique, you should inhale and exhale through your nose. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles should still be relaxed. Don’t clench or grind your teeth, as this may get in the way of relaxation.
Be aware of your breathing, but don’t make too much effort to control it. Try to make it as natural as possible.
Focus all your attention on your breath.
Focus on how you breathe, as well as how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. You may also focus on the sound of breathing. By focusing only on the rise and fall of your breath, you are able to clear out all the internal chatter and background noise that may be stressing you out.
Experience your breath through your senses, but don’t analyze it. Also, bring your attention back to your breath if your mind wanders. You can do this by counting your inhalations and exhalations, or concentrating on the feeling of breathing, especially as the breath leaves your body.
Most important of all, don’t be too harsh on yourself if you don’t get it right or can’t seem to concentrate on your first time. You may stumble and fall with your first few tries, but you will get there eventually.
This type of meditation exercise is a great introduction to other meditation techniques. As you gain more experience meditating, it doesn’t hurt to try other methods too, like the ones mentioned in the previous sections.
“Let the mind come as it wants; just you don’t go with it.
Many of the steps to meditate are already covered in the other sections, but here are some more detailed instructions on one of the ways you can meditate:
Step 1: Preparation
Before you start, you need to take a few things into consideration, like what time you want to do it each day, how you can remind yourself to do it, and if you really want to commit yourself to it.
The first step is committing to a short but regular practice. Taking 2-10 minutes out of your day shouldn’t be too hard. Some good times are in the morning, at night before sleeping, and during quiet afternoons, but you can pick any time you are comfortable with. As much as possible, try to meditate daily.
Choose a space where you won’t be disturbed or interrupted. Lock the door and put a “do not disturb” sign outside. Close the windows, turn off the TV, and put your phone on silent. Make sure distractions are as far away as possible.
Step 2: Positioning
Once you find a quiet place where you can sit and be at peace, the next step is to sit comfortably in a chair with your hands resting on your lap or on your knees. Make sure to keep your back straight, but relaxed. Your neck should be also relaxed.
Keep in mind that this is not the only position you can meditate in— just doing the most comfortable position also works, but in this position, you are able to breathe easier.
Step 3: Breathing
The third step is to breathe. Defocus your eyes and gaze gently into the middle distance. Inhale and exhale deeply and audibly five times, making sure to breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Step 4: Checking in
Step four is checking in. Take a few seconds to settle your body into the position you are currently in. Observe your posture and notice the sensations you feel while sitting. Feel the weight of your own body against the chair. Acknowledge what you can see, hear, smell, or feel, but don’t pass any judgment.
Step 5: Perform a body scan
Step five involves scanning your body. Scan yourself from head to toe, and in the process, try to observe any tension or discomfort. You may take 20 seconds for each scan. Once you are done scanning, scan again, but this time taking note of which body parts feel relaxed.
Step 6: Focus on your thoughts
In step six, you must turn your awareness to your thoughts. Take note of what thoughts arise, but do not attempt to change them. Also, note your overall mood and become aware of anything on your mind without making any judgments. Taking note is the key.
Step 7: Introspection
Step seven is to introspect. Pause for around 30 seconds and ask yourself why you are meditating today. Let go of any of the expectations and desires you’ve brought along meditating. Think of things such as the benefits of meditation to you and to others; the ripple effect it has on people.
Step 8: Observe your breathing
Step eight is one of the universal methods of meditation: observing the breath. Bring your focus to your breathing and your breathing only. Don’t make any efforts to alter it, just observe the rise and fall of your stomach, and the sensations it causes for the rest of your body. Focus on the characteristics of each breath: whether it was quick or slow, deep or shallow. Then, begin silently counting your breaths, starting from 1 (inhale) to 2 (exhale) to 3 (inhale) and so on until 10. Repeating every time you miscount or reach 10. If thoughts start to pop up, simply guide your focus back to your breathing gently.
Step 9: Don’t chase your thoughts.
Starting with just a minute or even 30 seconds, just remain seated. Whatever thoughts may pop up, let them pass. Don’t chase your thoughts or get lost in them. If you find yourself thinking or distracted just say the word “thinking” in your head and bring your focus back to your breath.
It will be difficult at first but over time will become easier and you will be able to catch yourself thinking and bring your attention back to the breath faster.
Step 10: Prepare to Finish
Become aware once more of what you feel, your bodily sensations, and your thoughts. Once you are ready to finish meditating, or your timer has run out, open your eyes slowly.
“Meditation is offering your genuine presence to yourself in every moment.”
Here are some beginner meditation practices to prepare you for more complex and advanced techniques. These practices are fairly simple, as opposed to most advanced meditation techniques that require you to exert a lot of mental effort.
Focus on your breathing.
Following your breathing is one of the most common and basic of all meditation techniques, and it’s fairly easy to do. Focus only on your breathing— don’t judge it or react to it. You must only be aware of it, freely. If you notice your mind wandering, don’t worry. It’s normal for beginners and all you have to do is to gently nudge yourself back to focusing on your breathing. Visualizing things like an object bobbing up and down on the ocean as your breath rises and falls may help.
Repeat a mantra.
From ancient Sanskrit, the word mantra can be transliterated as “instrument of thought”, guiding our minds and allowing us to enter a deeper level of consciousness by giving us a greater sense of awareness. Mantra meditation is another commonly practiced form of meditation wherein you must chant a mantra repeatedly until you achieve a silent mind. You may chant until you reach a full meditative state, or continue chanting for the rest of the session.
For beginners, starting with short and easy-to-remember mantras is recommended. You may even use non-traditional mantras by using words like “one”, “peace”, and “love”.
Concentrate on a physical object.
This form of open-eye meditation involves directing all of your focus on one object. For some people, this may be easier than focusing one’s attention on their breathing as there is an actual physical object to concentrate on. Doing this allows your mind to enter a deep meditative state and, in a similar manner to mantra meditation, reach a deeper level of consciousness.
The physical object can be anything, though candle flames are a particularly popular choice. Anything that is pleasant and not too hard on the eyes can be used as the physical object to focus your attention on.
Use visualization techniques.
Visualization meditation involves visualizing a peaceful place in your mind and exploring it. This meditation technique is great for people who can visualize well. You can visualize wide fields with flowers swaying in the wind, a quiet beach, or even a seat by the fireplace.
Visualize anything that you allow to be your sanctuary, and once you have created it, allow yourself to explore it.
Imagine the things that can stimulate your senses in your happy place, such as the sounds, scents, and views. You may “go back” to this place the next session, or create a new one if you wish to do so.
Try doing a body scan/progressive muscle relaxation.
When you do a body scan, you scan each body part one by one and consciously release tension from it. This technique allows you to relax the mind and body at the same time. To start, you should close your eyes and pick a starting point, such as the navel if you want to start from the center, or the toes if you want to start from the bottom.
Concentrate on what sensations you can feel on your selected starting point, and make a conscious effort to release all tension and tightness. Once a part is fully relaxed, move on to the next part until your entire body is relaxed. By then, you should focus your attention on your entire body.
Do some chakra meditation.
The seven main chakras or centers of energy are the crown chakra, brow chakra, throat chakra, heart chakra, solar plexus, sacral chakra, and root chakra. Chakra meditation involves the use of special hand positions called “mudras” to open one of the chakras.
The steps you need to do depend on which chakra you are focusing on. For each chakra, there is a mantra associated with it that you may chant as you exhale. For the root chakra, the mantra is “lam”, “vam” for the sacral chakra, “yam” for the heart chakra, and so on and so forth.
Try walking meditation.
In walking meditation, you must observe the movement of your legs and feet in the same way you focus on your breath in breathing meditation. You must also feel your connection with the earth through the ground and its gravitational pull.
You can do this in any place, but a quiet place with few distractions is recommended for beginners. You must then take a slow first step with the left or right foot and observe its movement while doing so. It helps to trace a walking path and repeat it over and over again, slowly and deliberately.
“If you have time to breathe you have time to meditate.
Meditation isn’t strictly limited to scheduled and timed sessions in certain places. You can also do meditative techniques throughout your daily life, such as mindfulness.
For instance, in highly stressful situations, you can take a few minutes to relax and focus only on your breathing to relieve yourself of pressure, anxiety, and other negative thoughts and emotions. Focusing on your breathing helps you relax and release all the tension from the stress you are experiencing.
Eating and Other Activities
You may also practice mindfulness while eating by focusing on the food and observing the sensations felt while eating. Savor the food and focus on the flavors, textures, and sensations that you feel in your mouth and throat as you swallow the food. As eating is a pleasurable activity, you may find it easier to relax and clear your mind from the things that weigh you down.
This can be incorporated into any activity as well, such as biking, working, or even washing the dishes as long you can observe your body’s movements and how you feel while doing said actions. If you focus on the experience and stop your mind from wandering to other things, it can serve as a sort of “mini-meditation”.
If you find yourself in unpleasant situations, such as feeling carsick inside a vehicle or feeling overwhelmed with work, you may repeat a mantra silently to yourself. This will help you calm down and divert your attention from the unpleasant situations at hand.
Anytime and anywhere you walk around, you can practice walking meditation by focusing on a single object, such as the sound of birds chirping, the color of the sky, or the scent of grass.
Meditating While Waiting
While waiting in line, stuck in traffic, or waiting for your appointment, you can take a few moments and begin concentrating on your breath. Don’t close your eyes, though. You may also repeat a mantra silently to yourself, take in the surroundings, and observe the sensations you feel in your body at the moment.
Meditation exercise: Pause and take a few deep breaths
Meditation doesn’t have to involve sitting down or taking a long time for it. No matter where you are reading this now, you can take a few moments to take some deep breaths and relax.
If your mind wanders, notice it, think the word “thinking” and catch your mind wandering and bring the attention back to the breath.
If it helps you can think in your mind “breathing in” when you breath in and “breathing out” when you breath out. You could also try counting 1 when you breath in and 2 when you breath out, try to do this up to 10, then start again.
Take slow relaxed breaths, breathing in through the nose, then out through the nose or mouth, whatever you prefer but remember to follow the breath as it comes in, notice the pause of breath, then follow it as it goes out.
This can take less than 30 seconds and can be done at any time to help calm your mind and relax.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
Meditation is known to relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Just a few minutes of meditation can do a lot for your own well-being. Here are some meditative practices which help reduce stress and anxiety.
While you can do just about any type of meditation technique to relieve stress and anxiety, research suggests that mindfulness is the most recommended practice for the anxious or stressed brain.
Research finds that it is very helpful for anxiety, even more so than other meditation techniques. It is also considered to be one of the easiest meditation techniques to start with, as well as the choice of meditation for people who deal with extreme or unusual amounts of stress. Mindfulness rewires the brain to be less anxious and changes the way our brain responds to stress in a positive way. By training your brain to view your thoughts differently, you find a better way to deal with anxiety and stress.
One way to start mindfulness exercises is by focusing on the breath, one of the universal meditative practices out there. As it has been mentioned in this book several times, you may be familiar with it already— focus on the sensations felt while breathing, such as the contraction of the lungs or the rise and fall of the stomach.
In mindfulness, the aim is to concentrate on the present moment without making any judgments or reactions. When you do find yourself making judgments, just make a mental note that it did happen, and then it let go. When your mind wanders, observe the distractive thoughts without observing and, once again, let go. As sensations and thoughts will naturally come to your mind as you focus on breathing, you may practice the same procedure with these naturally-occurring thoughts.
You may also search for guided meditation in audio or video formats. Thousands are these can be easily accessed online, each for specific things like stress, depression, and work. Rather than doing it all on your own, guided meditation makes it easier to reach a deep, undisturbed state of peace and silence in your mind.
Meditation to Help You Sleep
Getting enough rest regularly is vital for a healthy mind and body. The lack of sleep can make it hard for us to get through the entire day without feeling completely drained and exhausted by the end of it— not to mention the many negative side-effects that lack of sleep has. That’s where meditation comes in. As meditation gives us a relaxed and calm state, this allows for deeper and more restful sleep. Meditation can also help when you have trouble sleeping or have insomnia.
Guided meditation is basically listening to a person read out instructions to you, occasionally giving out tips and generally guiding the flow of your thoughts and the movement of your breath.
Guided meditation is recommended for beginners learning to meditate however even experienced meditators can get a lot of benefits from guided meditation, especially aimed at specific topics such as stress and anxiety.
Guided meditation is available in many of the meditation apps, with a lot of them having meditation practices specifically aimed at helping you sleep and reducing stress and anxiety.
Body Scan/Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As mentioned in this book before, doing a body scan is a great way to relax the entire body and induce sleep. By tensing and relaxing different parts of the body, and then eventually moving on to the entire body, you can help yourself fall asleep and wake up feeling more rested and refreshed in the morning.
Similar to counting sheep, simply count backward from 100, restarting every time you miscount. Don’t dwell on your mistakes and just start over with the counting. Make sure to focus completely on counting and the flow of one number to the next. Once you are done counting down, repeat until you achieve a meditative trance. You can even do this until you fall asleep.
Writing your thoughts
Writing with pen and paper can actually be a form of meditation that can help you reduce stress and anxiety, often when we are stressed unable to sleep, our mind is racing with thoughts and it seems there a million thoughts that we can’t stop.
Writing without planning or structuring your thoughts, just writing all the things on your mind can help you get these out of your mind and onto paper. Forcing yourself to write them, slows your thoughts to the speed of your writing.
Keep writing until you can’t write anymore and everything that is racing around in your head is on paper.
If you are stressed or anxious about work, a project or task you have to do, write down all the things that are required to complete it successfully. You will be surprised that often when you write it down and it’s out of your head, you will find it’s not as much as your thought it would be and it’s quite manageable.
Meditation can be difficult if your mind is racing with thoughts or you are feeling stressed and anxious, this practice before meditation, can be a great benefit to relax you knowing that you don’t have hold all these worries in your mind which can help you have a clearer calming mind before beginning a meditation session.
“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is.
Most people with high positions such as CEOs, presidents, and entrepreneurs can agree that their field of work is very taxing. It demands them to be dynamic, focused, and constantly willing to achieve self-development. In these fields of work, they are required to handle multiple tasks and duties all at once.
People like these have no time for negative thoughts, self-doubt, and frustration. In order to succeed in these fields of work, there is a lot of focus, concentration, energy, creativity and clear thinking required, making meditation highly effective at helping successful people achieve.
Many famous and successful people in different parts of the world have incorporated meditation into their daily routine and give it plenty of credit for their accomplishments and achievements.
Famous and Successful People Who Meditate Regularly
Some examples of famous/successful people that have openly credited meditation as an important daily habit that has contributed to and helps them with their success are below.
Oprah Winfrey, the CEO of Harpo Productions Inc., meditates twice a day and has encouraged thousands of others to incorporate it into their everyday lives. According to Winfrey, meditation gives her a sense of stillness that helps her cope with daily stress and make her best out of each day.
Ellen Degeneres is quoted as saying that meditation is like resetting and refreshing your brain. It’s like a computer, sometimes the computer goes crazy and you have to restart it and then it works fine. Meditation is like restarting and refreshing your brain so it works properly again.
Paul McCartney has meditated for decades after learning and practicing the techniques in India. He says that meditation has helped him find serenity, especially in difficult times. He hopes that young people meditate to find peace and quiet in a loud distracted world.
Arianna Huffington, the president of the Huffington Post, encourages her employees to meditate every day as well. She believes that meditating can reduce stress, promotes happiness, a healthy mind, body, and makes one more energetic and active.
Hugh Jackman regularly meditates and is stated as saying that meditation calms him and reduces his distractions and obsessive compulsive behaviors.
Jerry Seinfeld believes that meditation is directly linked to productivity, he says that if you meditate you get more work done. Meditation is like getting a good nights sleep, you feel energized and refreshed and can get more done during the day.
Rick Goings, the CEO of Tupperware, meditates 20 minutes every day. He claims that this practice makes him focus better, reduce stress, and concentrate on important things. He claims that meditation is one of the things that improve his performance at work and lets him deal with challenges better.
Padmasree Warrior, CTO of CISCO systems, meditates to detoxify, handle work-related pressure, and refresh the soul and brain on a daily basis.
Richard Gere is a strong advocate of meditation and says it provides him positive energy during the day and helps with motivation and focus.
Clint Eastwood is a not the typical of image of someone you would expect to meditate and yet even he is a supporter of meditation, claiming he has practiced meditation for decades and he helps him as a tool to reduce stress.
Steve Jobs immersed himself in meditation after a trip to India when he was a teenager, he is quoted as saying that the mind is restless and if you try to calm the mind, it will become more restless but time and practice it will calm.
Once you achieve this level of calm, you start to see things more clearly, be present more, notice subtle things and more that you could before.
However it’s a discipline that requires a lot of regular practice.
George Lucas has meditated for decades and it is rumored that he based Yoda on the famous meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the person that taught the Beatles and many other famous people to meditate.
This is just a short list as the number of people is extensive but it should give an idea of the large number of people that believe meditation has been an important part of their life and they practice it regularly.
How Meditation Benefits Success
If you want to become successful, here are some reasons why you should meditate:
It eliminates distraction. Meditation can help you achieve success by helping you reduce or even eliminate distractions. By meditating regularly, you are more in control of yourself and your thoughts, making it harder for you to get swayed by emotions and negative thoughts. You will also be more focused and your brain will be able to process negative feelings and pain in a more positive way. This heightened focus helps you concentrate more on what matters in work, and less on what wastes your time and drags you down.
It gives you healthier and more restful sleep. If you want to be able to handle packed schedules and hectic workdays, you’ll need plenty of sleep. Due to stress and pressure, however, it may be difficult to get some restful sleep. This is where meditation comes in— by making the mind relax, meditation improves sleep quality and allows you to be active throughout the whole day.
It reduces stress. Research has shown that meditation reduces the amount of stress hormones released into our bloodstreams. By lessening or even eliminating stress and anxiety, it aids you in retaining a calm and composed disposition at your workplace. In turn, when your co-workers or colleagues see you like that, they also become less anxious and start being more positive with their attitude towards work.
It improves social skills. Meditation can make any person more empathetic, optimistic, and patient. With these qualities, you can associate with others better and make connections that may, later on, become a valuable part of your success. Arguably, in life, one needs social skills in order to succeed. With an improved relationship with the people in your field, you gain more respect and positivity from others. Having a good image will boost your chances of being promoted, and overall give you a better chance of succeeding in your field.
It improves your patience with others, patience is an underestimated qualities for becoming successful. You can be passionate, knowledgeable, or determined to become successful. But being able to be patient with others is an invaluable skill in success. An entrepreneur, for instance, cannot make their products and services they want to sell into a reality if they cannot handle people patiently or be patient with the time taken to build a business, especially if it is not profitable in the initial stages.
Meditation bestows upon us a sense of stillness and positivity that allows us to achieve goals and deal with failures more patiently. By meditating for just a few days, you can see the positive changes it has on your mindset and attitude.
It makes the brain more productive. A productive brain has the advantage of being able to multitask, recall, and think much clearer. It has also been proven that meditation improves the speed of electrochemical transmission between neurons, thus making the brain work faster and more efficiently. By meditating every day, you can use your knowledge more effectively and improve your performance at work.
It enhances creativity. By eliminating all the background noise and inner turmoil in your mind, you are able to be more creative and imaginative. There is more room for ideas to surface, and less for negative thoughts. By giving you a higher level of consciousness, meditation enables you to reach into the untouched parts of the mind. Thinking, visualization, and imagination are enhanced. Any person who wants to become successful can gain much from being creative and coming up with new ideas.
It makes work more enjoyable. When work is enjoyable, we are happier, more productive, and less stressed. Without any passion for what you do, everything will seem like a chore. Doing things with passion is one of the keys to success. Showing others that you are happy with your job can motivate others as well.
Visualizing your goals and success
Visualisation is a form of meditation that involves focusing on positive outcomes or how a goal or scenario will go.
This can be visualizing your day and how you want your day to go, or it can be visualizing yourself achieving a goal months from now.
This is different from thinking about how your day will go or your goals. Often when we think about the day ahead, we get caught up with all the things we need to do or conversations we will have with people and we get stressed and feel overwhelmed, as our mind wanders and dwells on our worries and self-doubts. This technique focused on images rather than thoughts, seeing the images of you doing it rather than how you feel or your thoughts about it.
If we have a presentation to give in front of a lot of people, our mind might worry that it won’t go well, we stress about it and become anxious. With visualization, we imagine ourself just before the presentation, the equipment we need, setting up the computer etc. We then imagine giving the presentation and then the questions afterwards. We walk through this in our mind, step by step, seeing ourselves give a successful presentation.
Often when doing this, we will pick up on something that we may have forgotten, this could be an item we need to bring as we visualize needing it.
This technique helps you feel more prepared and confident, you can see unexpected events that may occur and be ready for them. You see yourself being successful in this scenario and know step by step what you need to do to achieve that.
Often there will still be unforeseen events that may occur, but using this technique has saved people from disaster on a number of occasions by seeing something that they didn’t pack in a bag or prepare for. By visualizing they were able to see what they had missed or forgotten before getting to a meeting or event.
You can also visualize much larger goals, seeing yourself achieving this success, then breaking it down into the steps required to get there. You can then go through the process using images in your mind, making the goal realistic, knowing the steps required to get there and seeing yourself go through the motions and obtaining success.
“Make meditation a daily practice, and it will soon turn into a habit.”
Making meditation a daily habit has numerous health benefits on your mind, brain, and body, however it can be difficult to make it a habit.
Below are some tips and techniques to make meditation a daily habit and help with your meditation practice.
Try to meditate at the same time every day.
By meditating at the same time daily, you can incorporate it into your routine with more ease and feel the benefits of meditation more profoundly.
Set a trigger or prompt for meditation.
This could be an action that you do before meditation, such as making a coffee in the morning, when you get home after changing into comfortable clothes etc. This acts as a reminder to meditate after doing this and helps build a meditation habit around an action you do daily.
One of the keys to building a habit, it to reduce the resistance to starting and completing it. If you aim to meditate for an hour, you will have to schedule it in and then feel you don’t have the time, there will be resistance to starting as it seems like a long time, you may not have the time some days and will feel like you are failing and eventually give up.
While 10 minutes a day doesn’t sound like much, even this can be hard to create into a habit, especially if you aim to meditate in the morning, you wake up late and are rushing.
Remember that even a few breathes is fine if you don’t have time. If you get up late and are rushing, instead of skipping your meditation session, just pause and take 10 deep breaths instead of completing a meditation session. This will take less than 30 seconds or less, it will give you some calm, and you can feel that you still completed your habit so you won’t be discouraged or feel you don’t have time to meditate.
While this may not seem like much, building the habit though even a 30 second pause and some calm breathes especially at the start will provide you the foundation to build upon for longer meditation sessions and into a daily habit.
Avoid making excuses not to meditate.
If you can take 3-5 minutes out of your day (in most cases, even more than that) to check your social media accounts, you probably have enough time to meditate. Reducing stress, boosting your immune system, and overall making yourself happier and healthier should be a priority— and meditation is one of the most powerful ways you can achieve those.
Anything of value to ourselves and our well being generally takes consistent practice and discipline. Meditation is no exception. Meditation has so many benefits and you have so little to lose from it that there should be little reason not to do it.
Download guided meditation apps.
The apps and websites listed in the resources section of this book are a great way to get started with understanding how to meditate. Starting with short guided lessons will help you understand how to meditate correct as well as providing timers for sessions and prompts to build a daily habit.
Once you are done meditating, reward yourself with a treat, a walk, or anything small that makes you happy. This positive reinforcement will subconsciously make you more eager to meditate.
Keep track of your days in a row meditating
Some of the meditation apps such as calm and headspace keep track of the days in a row you meditated. This can be very motivational as once you get a few days in a row going, you don’t want to break the streak.
You can do this on a calendar or just with a pen and paper. Each day you meditate, mark it down, look at the days in a row you have and try to keep it going.
Don’t worry if you miss a day, instead of being discouraged and thinking you failed to meditate. Think about what a great job you did meditating so many days in a row. Then write down the number, if it’s a record then make that your target to beat. Start again and try to break your previous record of days in a row. This can make meditating daily into a game which can be rewarding and fun.
Practice other meditation and mindful techniques
Being mindful of your actions and your breath in everyday situations can also count as meditation or meditative practices. Doing this as much as you can help you instill meditation as a daily practice.
Take meditation classes.
It’s recommended that beginners start by using guided meditation or face-to-face classes. This will help guide them through the basics of meditation and assist them in getting started with the practice. Meditation classes are generally available for free or are donation-based.
Typically, these classes will guide you through the basic steps of meditation and offer advice on how to be more successful with your meditation. There are also retreats that last for a few days that allow you to immerse yourself in meditation and connect with spirituality and/or religion.
Do it while maintaining good posture.
When you have proper posture during meditation, it will be easier to breathe and thus easier to regulate your breathing. As observing the breath is one of the most common and universal techniques in meditation, this can help significantly in making the process of observation easier.
Be determined and committed.
If you’re just starting with meditation, it’s normal to feel like you are unable to concentrate. However, you will get used to it if you practice daily. You won’t feel the benefits and positive effects instantly, and you won’t achieve inner peace right away. But if you keep on persevering, you will get there eventually.
Have a healthy lifestyle.
When you have a healthy lifestyle, it can make meditation more effective and beneficial. Having a balanced diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep are some of the things you can do to have a healthy lifestyle.
You should also avoid smoking, watching too much television, and drinking alcoholic drinks before meditating as these may alter or numb the mind and stop you from achieving the level of concentration needed for a successful session.
Don’t worry that you’re not doing it correctly.
Many people start meditation and feel discouraged that they can’t stop their thoughts from racing, they feel that they can’t do it properly and are always doing it wrong.
Remember, it’s like going to the gym, you can’t expect to lift the heaviest weights at the gym at the start.
The hardest part at the start is just showing up, starting with what you can do and then building from there.
You won’t see results at the gym overnight and may not feel like the light weights are almost impossible to lift so you’ll never be able to lift the bigger ones.
Yet, by showing up continuously and repeating the weights you can do, they become easier, you can then move onto the heavier weights and eventually over time you will see significant results.
The weights never get lighter, you just get stronger, gradually, session by session over time. The change may be slow and you won’t notice it day to day, but if you look back over weeks and months you will be able to see a difference from when you started.
This is the same with meditation, concentration, attention and focus are like a muscle. You may find it impossible to go even a minute without thoughts rushing through your head.
Distractions and thoughts pull your attention away however each time you bring your attention back to concentrate on your breath, it is like lifting a weight that strengthens your meditation muscle.
It will take time, perhaps weeks or months, but over time it will become easier, you will be able to bring your attention and focus back to the breath faster and meditate for longer periods without distraction. Over time you will notice significant benefits to your concentration, focus and other areas of your life.
“If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life.”
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
As mentioned at the start of the book, mindfulness is a form of meditation however they are not the same practice.
Mindfulness is form of meditation, that generally focuses on being in the present moment, observing the sights, smells, sounds and feeling of not desiring to be anywhere else or having thoughts unrelated to where you are at that time.
Practicing mindfulness is about directing the way you think about the world. Learning to live in the present moment and focus your attention on what you are doing at that time, witnessing the world around you without judging.
When practising mindfulness, it’s important to observe and know what the mind and body are doing and come back to a state of awareness when your thoughts wander.
Mindlessness is the opposite of mindfulness. Mindlessness is not being focused on what we are doing but instead distracted by random thoughts and acting on autopilot, not having awareness of the present moment. We may become lost in thoughts of the future or the past, or even lost in websites and noises that distract us.
When we are aware of what our mind is doing we will not be distracted, get lost in our thoughts and will be able to be present and focus on the moment.
As mentioned previously, you can practice mindfulness while reading this book, by focusing on this book and giving your full attention to it by turning off notifications, avoiding distractions such as switching between apps and reading the words in your mind and concentrating on them instead of thinking about other thoughts or things you have to do.
Practicing meditation will help you be more mindful just as practicing mindfulness will help you meditate better. While they are related, they are different practices.
Steps for Mindfulness Practice
Below are some steps and instructions for basic mindfulness practices and exercises.
Introductory mindfulness practice
Steps to practice introductory mindfulness practice:
Step #1: Be conscious of your focus and thoughts
Make a conscious effort to concentrate on things and don’t let your mind wander. It’s easy to get distracted and dwell on your feelings about the past or future. Learning to focus just on the present moment is the first step to developing mindfulness practice.
Step #2: Be aware of your actions. Pay close attention to what you say and your action along with your motivations for these actions. Be aware of your urges for actions, if you are trying to write or read and you feel the urge to check facebook, be aware of that urge and the reason realise it is distracting and avoiding the task you are meant to be concentrating on and bring the focus back to the task the task you are meant to be doing.
Step #3: Give your actions purpose (in your mind). Purpose can be an extensive assortment of things which includes the purpose of focusing your attention. As you accomplish your tasks, you must be present in your mind. Taking your phone out of your pocket and checking social media can be a mindless habit, this is not mindfulness, be aware of the tasks and actions you will do and do them with purpose without mindless distractions. If you are distracted, be aware of it, acknowledge it and re-focus your concentration back to the present.
Step #4: Stay in the present and stop living in the past. If you dwell on the past, you can place negative impressions in your mind. You can’t change the past, you must accept it, come to peace with it and not dwell on it.
Step #5: Don’t dwell on future events. It is okay to plan a future, but use caution and don’t let the plans for the future ruin your present lifestyle. In other words, don’t spent the present moment worrying and stressing about what may or may not occur in the future.
Step #6: Don’t be a clock-watcher. It isn’t beneficial to base your life on how time elapses. You need to focus on now and stop worrying about how much time it will take to complete your current task so that you can begin the next one.
Step #7: Take a break and have some alone time. Empty your mind of any thought patterns that might be causing you stress and perform some meditation. It will provide you with the escape needed to continue your day. Focus on the world around you as it is in the here and now.
Step #8: Don’t pass judgment, just—pay attention. View everything around you in an objective manner. Now that you are in the present, you might notice things you haven’t noticed before. As part of being a mindful person; you must be capable of noticing what goes on around you without placing judgment on it.
Step #9: Remember, mindfulness isn’t always a happy thought pattern. Practicing mindfulness means you are letting go of the past, whether it is a negative or positive emotion. You will learn to appreciate what you have in your life now, without worrying about the final result.
Step #10: Use your emotions. You don’t need to be without emotion in your life even though you are letting go of fears, regrets, judgments, and expectations. Embrace the emotions, and move on. You cannot control how things can make you feel.
Step #11: Use compassion and kindness to others. You must understand not everyone in your life shares your outlook on life. Other people might be experiencing negativity in life and are experiencing a difficult time. You only need to practice empathy for others.
“We don’t need more money, we don’t need greater success or fame, and we don’t need the perfect body or even the perfect mate. Right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.” – The Dalai Lama
This form of meditation it to witness the ‘wandering’ thoughts as each one drifts through your mind. You only need to be aware of each of the thoughts involved, don’t dwell on them, try to avoid bad thoughts, or try to focus on good thoughts, don’t become too immersed or judge your thoughts, just observer them and let them pass.
You will begin to realize how your feelings and thought have a certain pattern. Your inner balance will begin to develop, and you will begin to see how you may judge whether an experience is good or bad.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
You have been stressed or anxious about something in the past and felt that you needed to go for a walk to calm yourself or clear your mind.
This is a form of mindfulness known as walking meditation, this provides you awareness of your mind and body, helps clear your thoughts and focus on the present moment.
Below are a few tips to provide you with a relaxing experience:
1. Search for a flat path—preferably no more than ten paces in either direction for additional seclusion.
2. Gather your thoughts for a few minutes so you are consciously aware of the movements within your body. Observe how your clothes feel, your feet feel on the ground, or how the leaves are gently rolling over each other on a fall day.
3. Begin walking slowing at a natural pace. Stay within your thoughts and move back to how your body feels.
4. Observe your surroundings, the sounds, sights and smells, observe the wind blowing on your or the sun on your skin.
While it can be tempting to listen to music or an audiobook when doing walking meditation however it’s important to listen to the sounds around you in that place when walking and not have the sounds from elsewhere or lyrics, words distracting your thoughts from the present moment.
This chapter only covers the basics of mindfulness, if you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, please check out Mindfulness for Beginners by Gabriel Shaw.
“One does not practice meditation to become a great meditator. We meditate to wake up and live, to become skilled at the art of living.”
When you are more experienced, and meditation has become well-integrated into your daily life, you may want to learn more about the ways that meditation changes the neural pathways, how it affects the brain waves and you may want to try some advanced meditation practices.
This book is a beginners guide but touches on some advanced meditation topics below that you may be interested in learning more about later.
Stages of Meditation
In meditation, there are nine stages that a practitioner can progress through. Though you may regress back into a previous stage, this should not be a cause for worry because you can keep on progressing with enough time and practice. Keep in mind also that these stages should be used not as a means of harshly criticizing one’s self and abilities to meditate, but as a rough guidepost to evaluate yourself and determine where you stand. Meditation is a slow, natural process, and as such, one should not attempt race towards the highest stage.
Above all, what is most important is keeping faith in yourself and practicing daily despite the initial frustrations you may encounter.
Placing the mind is the first stage wherein one spends more time distracted by other things than being able to focus on the object of meditation. This object can be anything from your breathing to a single-word mantra.
It is important not to give up when you are at this stage, even if it feels like you are going nowhere. Again, with daily practice, you will slowly (but surely) progress.
Placement with continuity is the stage where, while you are still mostly distracted during your sessions, you are able to gather your concentration into the object of focus and hold it for at least 2 minutes.
In patch-like placement, the majority of your session consists of you focusing on the chosen object of meditation. And when your focus on the object loosens, you will find it easier to redirect your engagement as the ability to be mindful is improved.
In the close placement stage, you are able to hold the object of meditation for 5-10 minutes. Periods of agitation and dullness are lessened significantly.
Controlling stage is when you can meditate a full session without your concentration being disrupted, though you are still able to feel subtle distractions.
Pacifying is when you are able to meditate for an entire session without being disturbed. You only experience a small degree of distractions.
Complete pacification is when your concentration has improved to the point that if any subtle distractions appear, you are able to quickly dismiss them and not get distracted with the help of your increased ability to focus.
Single-pointed concentration is the stage where you are able to hold the focus of the meditation throughout the entire session, with little effort exerted in the beginning of the session.
The final stage, placement with equanimity, you are able to concentrate on the object in any amount of time with no mental effort at all.
Brain Waves in Meditation
Most people use meditation to achieve a state of deep relaxation, which happens when the Alpha brainwave frequency is the dominant frequency. This state can also be achieved with the help of meditation music.
The five different types of brain waves are Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta. Our brain waves display each wave all the time, with varying dominant waves depending on the situation.
Gamma is when we are in a situation of extreme stress and anxiety. This may lead us to transcend our typical abilities and achieve peak performance. These are the times when people are able to perform incredible feats they would not normally be able to do.
Beta is the default wave. It is dominant when we are conscious, and is associated with calm, rational thinking, and mental alertness.
Alpha is the bridge between Beta and Theta, the conscious and subconscious mind, respectively. It is the entrance point to deeper consciousness levels. In this state, we are very calm, peaceful, and relaxed. Aside from meditation, we can also go into the alpha state whenever we are daydreaming and relaxed. From this, we are able to get pieces of information from our subconscious and bring about intuitive guidance, creative ideas, and epiphanies.
Theta can be achieved through meditation, as well as upon entering REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. In this frequency, one enters a trance-like state as the subconscious part of their brain becomes dominant. In this expansive state of meditation, we are able to feel our mind and body as if it was expanding beyond physical boundaries.
Lastly, Delta brainwaves are the slowest of all brainwave frequencies. It occurs when we are in deep sleep. At this state, we are completely unconscious.
Alternative Meditation Practices
This type of meditation is a great start for advanced meditation practices. Also known as calming meditation, this advanced technique gives a laser-like focus to our mind. It removes the clutter in our mind and enables us to see with more clarity. In many Buddhist traditions, it is often done as a precursor to Vipassana. Samatha builds upon skills you acquire in general meditation such as breathing, chanting mantras, and body scanning.
This can be translated as “foundation of mindfulness”, and rests upon the four pillars of being mindful of one’s body, emotions, mind, and phenomena. It is a practice focused exclusively on cultivating mindfulness.
Inner Smile Meditation
As the name suggests, the goal of this meditation technique is to give a smile to your inner self. By smiling inwardly and outwardly, we are able to make ourselves feel loved, cared for, and valuable. This meditation technique promotes positivity, self-compassion, and happiness in being yourself and existing as a part of the universe.
White Skeleton Meditation
Despite the intimidating name, this technique is quite useful in eliminating lust, sinful desires, and deluded behavior. It may also be used as a form of preparation for insight meditation.
The technique is simply done by laughing, without any provocation or reason to do so. It allows a quick entrance into an empty state of mind, as the mind is free of any thought when one is possessed with laughter.
Aside from visualizing a place you would consider your sanctuary, you can also visualize a single face, color, or place. Take note of how visualizing it makes you feel. Focusing on a single thing will help you expel negative thoughts that may be keeping you awake.
Visualization can be practiced in a basic way by beginners, however advanced visualization is when you are are able to feel and see as though you are actually in another place or vividly see the object as though it was right in front of you. Similar to being able to put yourself in a dream that seems in every way as though it is real life yet you are conscious of being in the dream or vividly remember it after waking up.
Mantras can be anything, the most common mantra is the Sanskrit word “Om” which you may have heard before, it sounds like a humming sound as the mantra is repeated slowly.
An alternative to non-traditional and traditional mantras is to develop a personal mantra. You may say a phrase about what you are grateful for, as well as reassuring and comforting words. This is a good way to divert your mind from the insignificant things that drag you down.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) meditation
Relaxing music & ASMR can help you fall asleep faster as well, alongside the other meditative techniques stated previously. ASMR, basically involves listening to audio or watching a video wherein a person creates sounds to trigger sensations of sleepiness and relaxation. These sounds can be anything from the sound of lip smacking to brushing and tapping against different objects. There are ASMR videos out there that are also guided meditation videos.
Make sure you are in a comfortable position in your bed and close your eyes while you are performing the meditative techniques. This way, you can focus more on counting, visualizing, and so on. Making yourself yawn, even if it feels forced, is also a helpful technique. Studies have proven that doing this relaxes the brain the same way as actual yawning does.
Other Uses for Meditation
Aside from relaxation and increasing productivity, meditation can be used for other things as well owing to the many benefits one can get from it.
Meditation in Therapy
Meditation is oftentimes suggested as a complementary supplement to treating diseases, most of them for treating and preventing stress-related conditions. Based on clinical evidence and theory, meditation is seen as a feasible form of therapy for panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse and behavioral addictions, ulcers, chronic pain, and dysthymic disorder.
Meditation is also a valuable form of therapy for handling high blood pressure, prevention of heart attacks and atherosclerosis, arthritis, insomnia, migraine, stroke, and according to many studies, cancer. Because it reduces stress, it can also be used as complementary therapy for moderating allergies, since stress is prevalent in these conditions.
Meditation in Rehabilitation
Meditation can be used for recovering alcoholics and addicts as a means of getting and staying sober or drug-free. If you are trying to overcome an addiction to alcohol, drugs, and any other substance or behavior, meditation can be especially helpful as it helps override cravings and avoid relapse. Whenever you get urges to drink alcohol, do drugs, or things like that, instead of giving in to the temptation, you can meditate to silence your mind as well as calm you down and keep your desires at bay.
Meditation helps addicts in recovery by establishing a distance between themselves and their desire to drink, do drugs, or do certain behaviors. Meditation does this by promoting inner calm and detachment. Meditation allows an addict to view their urges as an outsider, from a third person point of view, making it easier to resist said urges.
Words have a profound impact on the mind and spirit and that is why this chapter shares with you some powerful and inspirational quotes on meditation.
Some of these quotes have been used in the book and they are outlined at the start of this section, however there are many meditation quotes not used in the book before this chapter.
These quotes may inspire you to meditate regularly or provide help to ease your worries, calm your mind or bring some happiness into your day.
If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
There are a lot of quotes about meditation there, so pick one that you feel applies to you and will benefit you in your day to day life.
Think about this quote and where it could help you in daily life.
This could be either helping to calm your mind and reduce your stress or racing thoughts or you could help remind you meditate and the importance of meditation.
Write down the quote and put it somewhere when it will be the most helpful to you.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
In this chapter, you will be introduced to a variety of mediation apps and online resources that can help guide you through a meditation practices and build it into a habit.
Many of the meditation apps have similar features, while some are designed for meditation, others focus on reducing anxiety and stress so it’s worth considering what you are looking for when beginning to meditate.
If you constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed and feel too busy to meditate then a mindfulness meditation app that sends a message during the day to remind you to breathe and be calm might be a good start before attempting longer meditation sessions.
The voice of the narrator of the meditation session will make a difference, along with the style and method they use. Voices and speed that they speak can often be changed in settings, so if you don’t find the voice relaxing, you may be able to adjust it.
If one app doesn’t work for you, try another app however don’t try them all at once as this can be overwhelming. There are many apps available and it is very much individual preference about what is the best app for you.
If you are still finding the guided meditation sessions difficult with the resources listed, look for a meditation class or course in your local city and try this for guidance on getting started with meditation methods that you can later use at home.
Recommended Meditation and Mindfulness Apps[
The top 3 apps/websites for learning meditation that I recommend are Headspace, Calm and Buddify. This is from my personal experience with these apps, however there are a range of meditation and mindfulness apps, so there are other recommendations included that you may prefer to give you a range of options.
Headspace is both an app and website with 10 minute lessons on guided meditation.
This can been seen as a training course on how to learn how to meditate daily. There are 10 lessons for free with introductory videos explaining meditation and mindfulness that really help understand how to stop your mind and thoughts from racing away and bring calm and a few minutes of peace into your day.
It’s a paid monthly subscription for this however it contains a lot of value and content, even from the free lessons.
The introduction sessions are highly recommended if you want to develop a daily meditation habit as they help understand meditation and how it works.
I have completed hours of sessions with headspace and found the videos and guided sessions, very helpful at the start when learning to meditate.
Calm is similar to headspace in that they have both an app and website and offer guided meditation sessions.
Calm also has guided and unguided meditation, with sounds of nature that you can listen to while meditating. They have lessons on mindfulness, focus, gratitude as well.
You can adjust the length of time you want to meditate for and they have short 2 minutes meditation to calm your mind and take a couple of minutes to relax without committing to longer meditation session. This is a great way to start to make it a daily habit no matter how busy you are.
As headspace and calm are similar, it’s a personal preference about what works before you from these apps, some people prefer headspace while others prefer calm.
Calm offers features such as sleep stories that can be very helpful in helping you get to sleep when you can’t calm your mind.
They both offer free lessons and so it’s worth trying out the free introductory sessions and seeing and seeing what works best you and the style you prefer.
Calm has “daily calm” sessions with end with a lesson to focus on for the day, eg. gratitude or letting go of anger or a topic related to a national holiday or event on that day.
I start my mornings with the “daily calm” session and personally use this app every day and highly recommend it, especially when starting to learn meditation and want to make it a daily habit.
Buddify 2 is a app that has a large selection of guided meditations for everyday life, for example trouble sleeping, feeling stressed, traveling or household chores.
Most are only a few minutes long and are effective at calming your mind through mindfulness and meditation in everyday situations where you may experience stress or anxiety.
It’s a one-off cost and is very cheap without any ongoing monthly subscription fees.
This app is highly recommended for beginners who don’t have a lot of time to sit and meditate or are unsure how to begin practicing meditation and mindfulness as the scenarios cover many everyday activities.
Smiling mind is a non-profit organization, that has both an app and website with a range of lessons for mindfulness and meditation training.
The website and app are very easy to use and have great stats and a dashboard to track your progress and motivate you to meditate regularly.
Their mindfulness meditation programs have been co-developed with experts in the brain, health and psychology. Being a free website and app it is available to everyone around the world without any cost.
Smiling mind also offers meditation lessons for children and teenagers as well as adults, so the meditation and mindfulness lessons are more structured and specific towards age groups compared to others.
The programs are with an Australian accent which some people have noted in the reviews of the app that they find difficult as they’re not use to the accent, I found the voice to be calming and didn’t find this to be an issue. It’s important to find an accent and voice that helps you relax during a guided meditation session.
Smiling mind worth trying especially as it’s free and has a lot of value in it.
Stop Breathe Think
Stop Breathe Think is meditation/mindfulness app and website run by a non-profit organization called Tools For Peace that aims to inspire people of all age ranges to develop kindness and compassion through mindfulness and meditation.
The content and guided sessions are free; the website and app are both very well presented and very easy to navigate and use.
You can track your mood before and after meditating and it has a great section to track your progress, the number of minutes you meditated, the number of days in a row you meditated, along with rewards and encouragement as you progress.
The length of the guided meditation sessions can be selected so you can do a short meditation session when you are just getting started or feel like you don’t have the time for a longer session. The guided meditation is narrated by one of the founders and also by musician K.D Lang.
Stop Breathe Think aims to help you take a few minutes each day experience calm in your life, it can be used for one off meditations or to follow through the sessions to develop a daily meditation habit.
It has recommendations based on your mood, so if you are feeling anxious or stressed, it will recommend different meditation sessions then if you are feeling unhappy or can’t sleep.
Having meditations based on your mood and mindset is a great feature that will allow you to develop a practice of meditation to calm your thoughts or help your mood and mindset when you need it.
1 Giant Mind
1Giant Mind is also free and run by a non-profit organization, it’s only an app and is not available through the website. It is an app that teaches an introduction course in mediation to help make it a daily habit.
The app and method is also set up so you can practice anywhere you are able to sit comfortably with your eyes closed for any amount of time.
If the cost of the other websites/apps such as calm and headspace is too much then this app may be worth considering.
Meditation may be difficult to start especially you are feeling overwhelmed or that you have no time in the day. If this is the case, it might be worth trying some mindfulness apps that are available. A short list of mindfulness apps is below.
The Mindfulness App
The mindfulness app is popular app for mindfulness and meditation. It is available as an app only and not via a website.
There is no subscription fee for the app, it’s only a one-off purchase cost so it’s very affordable.
Zenify focuses on incorporating mindfulness into each day, by providing simple reminders and suggestions on how to bring mindfulness into your life throughout the day to bring awareness of the present moment and your emotions at the time.
The app is free to try with a small one off cost to buy all the reminders and suggestions in the different areas of life.
This app is much more mindfulness focused than meditation and is a good way to start introducing small amounts of mindfulness into your day.
Centered (currently available in U.S.A only)
The centered app encourages you to incorporate mindfulness into your day and allows you to track your activity and sessions. You can track how you are progressing to being more ‘centered’ and towards meeting your goals.
The app has specific mindfulness and meditation sessions for walking, compassion, exercise, and awareness. You can set daily steps and mindfulness/meditation goals and schedule these into your calendar and sync results with Apple health.
Mindfulness daily is another app with reminders and prompts to increase mindfulness in your daily life. It’s often difficult to find time in the day to meditate or practice mindfulness, especially when stressed.
This app provides quick guided mindfulness practices to reduce stress/anxiety, calm your mind and help improve your sleep.
It has a pause button which you can press if you feel you are being overwhelmed by the day and pause for a short time and engage in some breathing exercises.
7 Second Meditation
This app is simple but effective if you are starting to introduce mindfulness into your day and feel you are too busy for meditation or other practices. The idea is that everyone has at least 7 seconds to a read a message during the day.
Often we receive messages and they cause us to be stressed and to be anxious so this app sends different messages during the day reminding us to pause for a moment, calm our thoughts, be present in the moment and put you in a positive mood.
3 Minute mindfulness
The 3 Minute Mindfulness app aims to make mindfulness simple and easy to apply during your day with minimal time commitment.
The exercises are only three minutes, as the app name suggests, so it’s easy to do these exercises regardless of how busy your day is.
The app has mindfulness reminders that prompt you throughout the day to be more mindful. It also has a range of short 3-minute meditation and mindfulness exercises that you can practice whenever you become stressed or need some calm during the day.
Meditation and Mindfulness for Children
Smiling mind offers meditation for children through their website and app. Smiling mind helps children to build a meditation habit so they can concentrate better and have more focus in school.
This is especially useful for kids today in the fast paced, instant gratification world where distractions are a constant part of life.
There are action-based lessons to guide children through mindfulness meditation practices.
Meditation and Mindfulness for Teens / Young Adults
Along with lessons for adults and children, smiling mind also offers meditation and mindfulness lessons for teenagers/ young adults, where the lessons are structured around issues and stresses teens may face in their daily lives which are very different to the stresses of adults or children.
Stop, Breathe, and Think
Stop Breathe Think provides practical methods of mindfulness and meditation training through the website, app along with in-school programs and camps for young people.
They work with a range of schools, universities and other organizations to help young people develop focus, mindfulness, happiness and a positive mindset to help with the stresses of school and everyday life
Insight timer is a free mobile app with a focus on community and connecting with friends to meditate together and encourage each other to meditate.
This app is designed more towards younger people, as it has a community element encouraging accountability with friends by sharing meditation stats and connecting with people to find meditation partners.
MindShift is a free app developed by a non-profit organization focused on anxiety disorders in collaboration with British Colombia Children’s Hospital.
The app aims to help teens and young adults learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and help cope with and find ways to deal with anxiety.
This app has strategies for coping with everyday anxiety, as well as specific strategies for sleep, anxiety about school, social anxiety, performance anxiety, perfectionism and other specific anxiety issues.
Many of the apps mentioned above also have websites you can use if you don’t have a smartphone or prefer to use the website.
The websites for the apps mentioned above that also have web based apps are:
Stop Breath Think:
There are also a range of other website and resources about mindfulness that are worth considering for learning more about mindfulness:
Mindful.org provides a range of self-help posts on how to practice being mindful at work as well as in your personal life.
The American Mindfulness Research Association (goamra.org)
The American Mindfulness Research Association website covers the scientific aspects of mindfulness along with a large range of studies on mindfulness.
Zen Habits (zenhabits.com)
This a popular blog that provides practical tips and inspiring posts on how to live a happy, mindful, and simple life.
Tiny Buddha (tinybuddha.com)
Tiny Buddha contains blog posts about mindfulness, health, and inspiration from Buddhism along with forums to connect with other people wanting to learn about and practice mindfulness and meditation.
The Mindfulness Project (londonmindful.com)
The Mindfulness Project website shares practical techniques and insights about mindfulness along with expert advice from a team of mindfulness gurus based in London.
There are a range of mindfulness apps and resources listed above. Select one, download it and practice a guided meditation session.
You should have already scheduled time in each day for meditation but if not, then make some time into your day.
Start small, even if only for a few minutes, the key is regular practice, so don’t worry if you don’t have much time, just start with what time you can fit in and build it into a habit.
“[The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.”
Now that you have reached the end of this book, you are aware of the mental benefits of meditation on the body and mind along with how to start a meditation habit.
However, knowledge without action is useless. The key is to practice meditation consistently; it will take time and regular practice to enjoy the full benefits of meditation.
Firstly, understand where you are mentally and physically before you start your meditation practice. If you are currently experiencing depression, stress, anxiety or panic attacks then it’s important to seek professional guidance first before trying meditation techniques to solve them.
If you are physically unable to sit in the meditation poses outlined in the book, then try laying down or positions that are comfortable for you. It is important to be comfortable first rather than get the correct sitting or meditation posture if you physically are not able to do it.
Start small, this is very important to building a regular habit. Don’t try to meditation for hours at a time or commit to large blocks of time. Start with some breathing exercises and commit to practicing meditation each day no matter how small that practice is, even a minute of calm in your day can do wonders for you.
How you start to establish your own meditation routine is entirely up to you. Small changes will ultimately lead to a significant difference and improvement in your life.
Thank you once more for purchasing this book.
I sincerely hope this material was useful to you in learning about meditation.
This is an introduction and building a meditation habit will take time and practice however there are a lot of resources in this book to continue your learning and knowledge of meditation.
If you enjoyed this book, found issues or wanted to get in contact:
If you appreciated the information provided in this book, please take a few moments to share your opinions and post a review.
I would be very grateful for you in your support if you found this book useful.
If you have any feedback, found any errors in the book or just wanted to get in contact to say hi, please feel free to email me at: [email protected]
Thank you for reading this book, I hope you have found the information useful and it helps introduce mindfulness into your life bringing you more calm and happiness every day.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are
Gabriel Shaw has lived in Asia for over 5 years, studying meditation, mindfulness and Buddhist teachings.
He was working in an office job and found himself stressed, overworked and unhappy. His health deteriorated and he sustained a back injury that left him in bed for weeks, with pain shooting through his body if he moved.
He was forced to leave his job and spent months recovering, it was during this time he discovered yoga, pilates, meditation and mindfulness.
These practices made a huge impact in his recovery when almost everything else he tried failed. He continued these methods and found significant improvements in his health, mind and life.
He then moved to Asia to study these practices in great depth and immerse himself in understanding these teaching and philosophies.
He has studied under Buddhist monks in temples throughout South East Asia and brings those experiences and lessons to his teachings.
Currently he lives in Thailand and practices daily meditation and mindfulness.
He hopes to pass on this knowledge of mindfulness, meditation and other practical skills in an easy to understand and practical manner that you can apply in your everyday life.
“Be kind whenever possible.
Remember, it is always possible.”
- Dalai Lama
Learn to build a meditation habit ☆☆ Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It's like the ultimate rest. It's better than the best sleep you've ever had. It's a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh. Hugh Jackman ☆☆ In recent years, meditation has seen a significant rise in popularity, in part due to the number of successful people practicing regular meditation and proclaiming the immense benefits on their life and achievements. No matter how busy they are, they always make time for daily meditation practice. While people who meditate regularly claim they feel better physically and mentally, it has only been in the last few decades that science and technology can truly understand the positive benefits on the body and brain. There have been numerous studies and research that show the practice of both meditation and mindfulness can have positive impacts such as reducing stress, anxiety, depression along with increasing focus, creativity, happiness, health and countless other benefits. If there are so many positive benefits of meditation, why doesn’t everyone meditate? Many people still find it difficult to learn how to meditate, maintain a meditation practice or even know where to start. Often when starting a meditation habit, people are motivated at the start but then get caught up with life and don’t make the time to do it. Meditation is like going to the gym, you won’t notice results just going once, it will seem difficult, you may feel that you’re not doing it correctly and won’t see any short-term gains. Meditation is like exercise for the mind, it takes time to see results and requires regular consistent practice but over time you will notice the changes and enjoy the benefits. This book will help you build and maintain a meditation practice to enjoy the benefits of regular meditation. You do not need any previous experience or knowledge of meditation to benefit from this book. In this book you will learn: To build a daily meditation habit Calm your mind Increase happiness, success, health and memory Increase success Improve health and memory Improve concentration Reduce Stress An outline of chapters in Meditation for beginners is below: What is Meditation? History of Meditation Benefits of Meditation Different Meditation Practices How to Meditate Steps to Meditate Beginner Meditation Practices Meditation Practices for Everyday Life Meditation Practices to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Meditation and Success Making Meditation a Daily Habit Mindfulness Advanced Meditation Lessons Meditation Quotes Meditation Apps and Resources ☆☆ One does not practice meditation to become a great meditator. We meditate to wake up and live, to become skilled at the art of living. Elizabeth Lesser ☆☆