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I need some help starting into meditation?

Now I’ve done a little meditating over the years, just never been consistent with it. But I really want to engage it into my life now. I feel like I need it in my life at this time of point. I need a clear head, something to give me discilpline since I’ve grown lazy, and something that can give me inner peace and happiness.
I’m not sure what style of meditation I’m aiming for.. Maybe Zen? Tao? I don’t know, maybe someone can recommend a variety of them. And how many times a day should I mediate and for how long?
Thanks in adance

9 COMMENTS

  1. The standard Theravada Buddhist meditation practice is called Vipassana, or “insight” meditation. That may be what you’re looking for.
    The standard Zen practice is zazen. It is generally taught through concentration, koan introspection, or by “just sitting” (shikantaza).
    Both are types of religious meditation. If you don’t want religious meditation, you can find meditation practitioners or books that practice relaxation and mindfulness techniques that are not religious in nature. How often you meditate and for how long is entirely up to you.

  2. You can chant a phrase or a word, or a religious passage, over and over, either silently or out loud.
    If other thoughts drift into your head, just say “oh” – then forget about them and then turn your fixture back onto the word/phrase.
    The idea is to clear your mind of concious thought.

  3. Another vote for vipasana. Zen would be good too; there’s not a lot of difference in my experience. Feel free to experiment with a variety of styles. The point is to focus on the practice though. Paradoxically, inner peace and all that become all the more elusive if your meditation practice is treated as a means to an end.
    As for how much and how often, it depends on your abilities. What I have heard in everything I’ve read is that consistency is the main thing, IOW it is better to sit for ten minutes a day, every single day, rather than have one monster session of 70-90 minutes only once a week.

  4. Make time to meditate. Set aside enough time in your daily routine for meditating. The effects of meditation are most noticeable when you do it regularly and consistently rather than sporadically.
    Some people will find a five minute meditation worthwhile, for others, the benefits of longer meditation are well worth the time.
    You can meditate at any time of day; some people like to start their day off with meditation, others like to end the day by clearing their mind, and some prefer to find refuge in meditation in the middle of a busy day. Generally, however, the easiest time to meditate is in the morning, before the day’s events tire your body out and give your mind more to think about.
    Don’t meditate immediately following a meal, or when you are likely to be hungry. The body’s digestive system can be very distracting.
    Find or create a quiet, relaxing environment. It’s especially important, when you’re starting out, to avoid any obstacles to attention. Turn off any TV sets, phone(s) or other noisy appliances. If you play music, make sure it’s calm, repetitive and gentle, so as not to break your concentration. Meditating outside can be conducive, as long as you don’t sit near a busy roadway or another source of loud noise.
    Sit on level ground. Sit on a cushion if the ground is uncomfortable. You don’t have to twist your limbs into the lotus position or adopt any unusual postures. The important thing is to keep your back straight, as this will help with breathing later on
    You can also meditate on a chair. Make sure your back is straight (whether you lean against the chair or sit free does not matter). Your feet should rest solidly on the ground.
    Any position in which you’re relaxed but your back is straight is permissible, even lying down – but be careful that you’re not so relaxed that you fall asleep. In warm weather, consider watching the clouds.
    Keep your eyes half-open without focusing on anything. If this is too distracting or difficult, close them or find something steady to focus on such as a small candle flame.
    Breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen rather than your chest. You should feel your stomach rise and fall while your chest stays relatively still. Healthy, stress relieving breathing may be done by inhaling for count of 3, exhaling for count of 6, repeat over and over for 15 to 20 minutes. This expels the used air and more completely oxygenates your blood, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Many high blood pressure patients have dropped their blood pressure as much as 50 points, allowing them to decrease or eliminate the need for medication. This breathing exercise should be done on a regular basis.
    Relax every muscle in your body. Don’t rush this, as it takes time to fully relax. Do it bit by bit, starting at your toes, and working up to your head, until the tension melts away.
    Focus your attention. You may notice that your mind wants to wander, bouncing from thought to thought, making observations about other things. Gently bring your attention back to a single point until it rests there naturally. The goal is to allow the “chattering” in your mind to gradually fade away. Find an “anchor” to settle your mind.
    Let your attention rest on the flow of your breath. Listen to it, follow it, but make no judgments on it (such as “It sounds a little raspy…maybe I’m getting a cold?”).
    To overcome verbal chatter, recite a mantra (repetition of a sacred word). A single word like “aum” uttered at a steady rhythm is best. You can recite it verbally or just with the voice in your mind. Beginners may find it easier to count their breaths. Try counting your breath from 1 to 10, then simply start again at 1.
    To circumvent images that keep intruding on your thoughts, visualize a place that calms you. It can be real or imaginary. Imagine you are at the top of a staircase leading to a peaceful place. Count your way down the steps until you are peaceful and relaxed.
    For some people, focusing attention on a point or object does exactly the opposite of what meditation is all about. It takes you back to the life of ‘focus’, ‘concentration’, ‘strain’. In this case, as an alternative to the above techniques, some meditators recommend un-focusing your attention. Instead of focusing attention on a point or an object, this type of meditation is achieved by attaining a state of zero. Take your attention above all thoughts till a point you lose all attention and all thoughts.
    Silence your mind. Once you’ve trained your mind to focus on just one thing at a time, the next step is focus on nothing at all, essentially “clearing” your mind. This requires tremendous discipline but is the pinnacle of meditation. After focusing on a single point as described in the previous step, you can either cast it away, or observe it impartially and let it come and then go, without labeling it as “good” or “bad”. Take the same approach to any thoughts which return to your mind until sil

  5. For me, prayer, meditation, and staying in the now, are the difference between having a life or not having a life…I had no formal training, no teacher to guide me when I first became serious about meditation…I would like to share a little something I used to do when I first started…When I would try to meditate, thoughts would come into my mind and I would find myself entertaining them..To stop those thoughts, I formed a mental night club complete with tables, lights and entertainment. When the thoughts entered, instead of spending time with them, I sat them at a table and went back to my breathing…Over time the night club closed, and the time I spend with myself is good…I know that this is probably not what you were looking for, but I didn’t think it would hurt to share it.

  6. Try this very simple, yet powerful meditation in the article ‘Effortless Meditation’ at http://www.awaken2life.org/published-articles/74-effortless-meditation.html
    It can be done for a couple minutes or an hour. It can be once or several times throughout the day. It is up to you.
    Also of possible interest is a 15-minute audio podcast episode called ‘The Art of Meditation’ (ep. 6) at http://www.awaken2life.org/podcast-more-oom.html but you would need to register first to get access to these older episodes.
    Namaste,
    ~ Eric Putkonen

  7. What is Mindfulness Meditation? Mindfulness is a type of meditation that essentially involves focusing your mind on the present moment. To be mindful is to be aware of your thoughts and actions in the present moment-without judging yourself. Research provided by Dr. Jon Kabit-Zinn has proven that mindfulness meditation improves mood, decreases stress/anxiety, boosts immune function, helps one see life as it really is and helps one to cultivate mindfulness, wisdom, compassion, patience, and loving-kindness. Jon Kabat-Zinn has some excellent books/cd’s on cultivating mindfulness such as “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and The World Through Mindfulness” and “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life”:
    How to practice ‘basic’ Mindfulness Meditation: Find a quiet and comfortable place. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff. Put aside all thoughts of the past and the future and stay in the present moment. Become aware of your breathing, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall, the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth. Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different. Watch every thought come and go, whether it be a worry, fear, anxiety or hope. When thoughts come up in your mind, don’t ignore or suppress them but simply note them, remain calm and use your breathing as an anchor. When you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and simply return to your breathing. Remember not to be hard on yourself when this happens. Practicing for ten to fifteen minutes-twice a day-for starters is sufficient. Daily, consistent practice of Mindfulness Meditation is what’s most important.
    “Mindfulness in Plain English” By: Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is an excellent book, teaching Mindfulness Meditation and Lovingkindness Meditation. Below are websites containing ‘Mindfulness in Plain English’:
    http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.…
    http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/
    Beginning Mindfulness: Learing the Way of Awareness.” By: Andrew Weiss – teaches Mindfulness of Breathing, Mindfulness Meditation, Walking Meditation, Lovingkindness Meditation, Tonglin: the Art of Compassion and Mindfulness in Everyday Life.
    Metta to all.

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