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“I just started meditating about a week ago, any tips to help me get started?”
Dr Miller Response:
Tip 1: Practice meditation daily.
Most people who start meditating stop before they reap the benefits. Remember why you want to meditate. Perhaps it is for one of the benefits that research has shown, like reducing stress, improving memory and cognition, sleeping better, beating bad habits, controlling your temper, or improving your sex life. Or perhaps it is another special reason of your own, such as enriching your spiritual life; whatever the reason, it is important to keep that purpose in mind so that you will follow thru and keep up the practice. Write it down, and if you feel tempted to skip sessions read and recommit yourself.
Regularity of practice trains the brain to expect to enter that deeply relaxed state of mind at those times each day so you are able to
Presence: Remember that at the essence of meditation is the condition of presence. It is hard to define what presence is because in this incredibly distracting world we seldom get to really be present. We are busy stewing over the past, worrying about and trying to prepare for the future, or thinking about someplace other than where we are. But soon you will notice, during or just following a meditation, a certain feeling of calm, a lack of thoughts or concerns about other times, places, or people.
Tip 2: Set mid-day mini-meditations.
As this state of mind becomes more familiar, you will begin to notice that at other times, perhaps when you just take a two minute break from working (or working out), you briefly feel this sense of presence. Perhaps not as deeply as when you spend 30 minutes in meditation, but there’s a certain quality of being in the “now.” Pay careful attention to these moments, embrace them, and soon you will find them occurring more often.
You will find the kind of thinking you can do when you begin from a state of quiet presence is very valuable, because you will be clearer, brighter, more self confident, and wiser. It becomes clear how valuable to you are the lessons learned during your meditations, and you will become more committed to your practice.
Tip 3: Choose a comfortable position to meditate.
Choose a position that is comfortable to your particular body. Don’t worry about some special posture, especially if it is uncomfortable for you. Discomfort is a reason many people don’t continue their practice. Meditate in a place that is attractively decorated to your taste, if at all possible, or at least hang an attractive fabric or make a little altar. Once meditation has become an established habit you may choose to alter your position, (maybe even accomplish a full Lotus😉).
Tip 4: Timing is important when it comes to meditation.
Meditation is not a marathon. If 30 minutes is too long, begin with 20 minutes. And if 20 is too long, do it for 10 or even just a few minutes. Remember the notion: that the most difficult part of taking your daily exercise walk is putting on your walking shoes? Same notion applies here: just show up, and even a few relaxed breaths will be enough to sustain the presence you are developing.
All these make it easier to train your brain to develop the habit of meditating.
Tip 5: Try the three breath meditation.
For instance, just tell yourself to stop and pay attention to your breath. Then take a slow deep breath in to the count of four, release it as you count (at the same speed) to five or six. Sink into the pause after the exhalation, and experience the presence. Repeat two or three more times.
Now open your eyes if you’ve closed them, and go about your business, (or if you have changed your mind continue to meditate a while longer).
In fact, you can use this little Three Breath Meditation any time of the day or night if you feel it would be valuable to become a bit more centered, relaxed, present, and clear.
Here’s a link to a free guided imagery meditation: Creating Your Island of Peace Meditation.
I am here to answer your questions about Deep Healing and Mind/Body Medicine. In a world besieged by specialists, my goal has been to address that little something that has disappeared from most specialties—the patient!
Send in your questions to [email protected] and I will select a few to answer. They may appear here or I might record my answer and share it on my YouTube.com channel. All personal information will be kept confidential.
Some of the following questions and answers were inspired by clients, conversations and some from Reddit threads. See my Reddit posts here.