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Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind : zen habits

Count your breaths

Place the attention on your breath as it comes in, and follow it through your nose all the way down to your lungs. Try counting “one” as you take in the first breath, then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat this to the count of 10, then start again at one.

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Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind : zen habits

Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/meditation-guide/

zenhabits.net

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Key Ideas

Sit for just two minutes

Start with just two minutes a day for a week. If that goes well, increase by another two minutes and do that for a week. If all goes well, by increasing just a little at a time, you’ll be meditating for 10 minutes a day in the 2nd month.

Don’t get caught up in the how

Start just by sitting on a chair, or on your couch. Or on your bed. If you’re comfortable on the ground, sit cross-legged. It’s just for two minutes at first anyway, so just sit. Later you can worry about optimizing it.

Come back when you wander

When you notice your mind wandering, smile, and simply gently return to your breath. Count “one” again, and start over. 

Clearing the mind

Lots of people think meditation is about clearing your mind, or stopping all thoughts. It’s not. 

Try to practice focusing your attention, and practice some more when your mind wanders.

Stay with whatever arises

After you practice focusing on your breath for a week, you might also try staying with a thought or feeling that arises. 

Stay with the feeling for a while. Just stay, and be curious.

Get to know yourself

This practice is about learning how your mind works. What’s going on inside there? It’s murky, but by watching your mind wander, get frustrated, avoid difficult feelings … you can start to understand yourself.

Notice the light, sounds, energy

Another place to put your attention is the light all around you. Just keep your eyes on one spot, and notice the light in the room you’re in. Another day, just focus on noticing sounds or energy.

You can do it anywhere

You can do meditation in your office, in the park, during your commute. 

Sitting meditation is the best place to start, but in truth, you’re practicing for this kind of mindfulness in your entire life.

Check in with friends

You can do it with your spouse or child or a friend. Or just make a commitment with a friend to check in every morning after meditation. It might help you stick with it for longer.

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