MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE
By . DHAVAL PATEL
CREATOR OF ZENFUL SPIRIT
What is Meditation?
When you hear the word “meditation”, what do you think? Do you
think of a bearded Tibetan monk sitting on a mountaintop? Or
perhaps a serene yogi sitting in a candlelit room chanting “om”?
Well, those are certainly ways that you could meditate, but there’s a whole lot
more to it than that.
Meditation can mean many different things to many different people. Perhaps an
easier approach to start with is to clarify what meditation is not. It is not exclusive
to one sector of society or a specific type of person or culture. Meditation is openended, free, available to anyone, and offers great benefits.
Far from being meant to empty your mind, meditation is really meant to connect
you to the infinite source, beyond the mind. It’s a beautiful practice that can enrich
your life, bring you closer to others, and improve your health.
Why not see what benefits this practice can offer you? This guide is intended
to introduce meditation in a way that is accessible to everyone, so that you can
explore this gratifying practice in a way that will nurture your life and connect you
If you’re serious about personal development (and I’m assuming that is why you’re
here!), sooner or later you’ve got to get serious about meditation.
You can work hard to be physically fit and healthy, to reach your career and
financial goals, and achieve all the trappings of worldly success—but the fact is
that if you don’t find peace within yourself, you’ll never be truly happy.
To the untrained mind, nothing is ever good enough. The ego will always demand
That’s where meditation comes in the picture.
Through meditation, you realize that you are not your ego, your mind, or your
personality. You are the limitless ocean of pure awareness behind it. This realization
is the key to experiencing true joy and contentment, and reaching your highest
potential in all areas of life.
The purpose of this book is to provide a broad answer to the question “why
meditate?”. In this book, I’d like to share with you some of the insights I’ve gained
from years of practicing meditation. Whether you’re a newbie, or have been at
it for some time, I’m sure these tips will help you to deepen your practice, and
experience new levels of inner peace and freedom.
Congratulations! If you’ve read this far, that indicates
that you are ready to embark on the journey of a
lifetime, into a meditative practice. Welcome!
But before we get too deep, let’s go over the basics to make sure we’re all on the
Getting started with meditation can be an intimidating prospect. There are literally
dozens, maybe hundreds, of different ways to meditate—from transcendental
meditation to tai chi. But for many, the easiest and most recognizable way to get
started with meditation is silent, seated meditation. It’s a great introduction to the
practice, and simple to get started.
How to Get Started With Seated Meditation in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1: Prepare Your Space.
First things first: select your spot. Find somewhere quiet and peaceful, where you
won’t be disturbed during your meditation. This might be your bedroom, home
office, or anywhere that you can close the door and find uninterrupted solitude. As
you practice meditation, it will become easier to practice anywhere, but as you are
first getting started, quiet and solitude are very beneficial.
Once you’ve settled on a location, make sure that your meditation spot is neat
and clean. A messy, cluttered space can make it harder to relax and focus. While
not required, you might also find it helpful to set the mood by lighting a candle
or stick of incense, or playing some soft, ambient music—whatever helps you get
“in the zone.”
Step 2. Set a Goal.
Starting a meditation practice can be challenging to people, especially in our fastpaced world. I find that it is extremely helpful to decide in advance how long
you are going to practice, so that you have accountability from the beginning. I
recommend 20-40 minutes per session, depending on how comfortable you are in
your practice; adjust as needed.
It’s important to note that distractions are inevitable, and that is okay. Do what
you can to minimize them (turn off your phone, let your roommates / family know
what you’re up to, etc). If you are interrupted for whatever reason, just sit back
down and finish your session as soon as you can.
The biggest hurdle by far, especially in the beginning, is not distractions, but your
own mind and restlessness. The ego can’t stand sitting quietly, doing nothing, and
it will come up with an endless list of things you should or could be doing instead.
Don’t give in. Set a timer, or a stopwatch, or an alarm on your phone, and don’t
dismiss your meditation until your settled-upon time has been reached.
Step 3. Get Comfortable.
When I say “get comfortable”, I am speaking in the literal sense. Posture is
important in meditation, for many reasons. It helps you breathe easier and deeper.
It helps the flow and circulation of blood and energy. Perhaps most importantly,
sitting properly will help to minimize aches, pains and discomfort.
There is not one correct way to sit; this depends on your body type, bone structure,
and constitution. You can sit on the floor, on a cushion or a bench. You can sit
in a chair, or even stand up if that’s easier. The important thing is not to slouch,
or lean against anything. You should be relaxed yet poised, loose yet balanced,
comfortable but alert.
Pay attention to any pain or discomfort in your back or your legs, and make
adjustments as necessary. It takes time, but eventually you will find the “sweet spot,” where your spine is erect, but not rigid; straight, but not stiff. The perfect
balance of effort and ease.
Step 4. Follow the Breath.
Bring your attention to your breathing. Focus on the sensations: the air flowing in
and out of your mouth and nostrils; the rise and fall of your chest, the filling and
emptying of your belly.
Don’t try to control your breathing. No need to deliberately breathe slow or
deep (although this will often happen on it’s own, as you become aware of your
breathing). Just pay attention, and feel the rhythm, the ebb and flow. There are
breathing exercises which we will explore later on, but for now, just observe.
Step 5. Just Relax.
Easier said than done, right? But relaxing is possible, and the first step is awareness.
Start by becoming aware of any places in your body where there is tension or
discomfort. We have a tendency to store stress in our bodies, particularly in the
legs, shoulders, back, neck and face.
Each time you breathe out, imagine that tension flowing out of your body. With
every breath, release and relax, until you feel entirely comfortable and at ease.
This can take some time, especially as you are first getting started. Generally, the
more often you practice, the quicker and easier it will be to let go of stress and
sink into a state of peace and relaxation.