Most people beginning meditation start by finding a group. There is a notion that exists among most people that a group is needed for a couple of reasons.
1. Beginners like the idea of having a teacher to ask questions of, or at least some meditators that have some advanced experience.
2. The social factor. People like to start meditating in a group probably so they can talk to others about their experiences, as well as meet other people that are like-minded, decent people to be around.
If you go to a meditation group, it’s funny, but you won’t people that just got out of jail there… you won’t meet people that are drug addicted, or without moral character at all… Meditation attracts some pretty together people that are looking to further their togetherness. Those that begin meditating are looking for some way to get more of the ultimate from life – not just the normal human experience.
Meditation groups I’ve attended have had students, housewives and househusbands, blue-collar workers, doctors, and other professional career-minded people as the attendees. It’s a subset of the population, but it’s never the dregs of society for some reason. When you go to a meditation for beginners group, you can count on meeting some people that are probably just like you.
It’s comforting I guess.
Contrast that with the idea that meditation is a friendless journey. Really, it’s a lonely journey to sit and meditate on the breath, and nothing outside of yourself is needed. What is needed is a good deal of concentration and commitment to continuing the process once it is started. Friends help some people do that, but I think it can also distract us, and pull us from the progress that will naturally result with a focused practice.
Meditation is an awesome stress-reduction tool, that, along with exercise – I consider the one of the best stress-busting activities known to man.
Originally I started meditating for that reason – to reduce stress from work. I was already running, biking, playing beach volleyball, playing racquetball, and some other sports, but I wanted the ultimate. I wanted to lose more stress. I thought meditation might give me that if I began. I was happy to find out – I was so right!
I began sitting on my bedroom floor around 7pm after dinner – daily. Immediately I noticed some stress slipping away during the session of meditating on my breath – and carrying over into the hours afterward. After a couple weeks I noticed that, overall, my stress had lessened and I was more balanced… less anxious… less worried about events in life that bent me out of shape before.
After a couple of months I noticed that whenever I stopped myself in a stressful situation and took 3 mindful breaths – the stress disappeared, or was lessened considerably. It wasn’t just sometimes – it was every time, the stress just cannot last in the face of 3 slow breaths in succession with mindfulness.
From that point meditation became a major component of my life for helping me de-stress whenever needed. I started to have a different take on life… a new perspective. It might sound strange to hear it – but, it has become commonplace for me to say – meditation changed my life, and very thoroughly.
Meditation for Beginners Advice:
1. If you need a group, find one. Use the group to motivate you to sit consistently – if you need that outside push. If you don’t need it, by all means, sit by yourself and hash it out. Meditation at the beginners level is work… a lot of work. It isn’t all that fun, but you are doing great things for yourself to keep going.
2. Commit yourself to meditation for a month – minimum – as you begin. This will show you benefits that you didn’t have before you started to meditate – and you’ll have trouble stopping once you have some benefits going.
3. Forget about religion as you meditate. Meditate on a physical level and watch the breath pass in and out of your nostrils. You need not be Buddhist, Hindu, or in a new age guru’s flock of sheep… just sit and meditate on your own without all the extra fluff religion builds into it.
4. Read “Meditation for Beginners – a 22 day course” whenever you get the time. This is a step by step, religionless meditation book that will help you get started with the barest of basics. I wrote this book to share with people what I did when I first started meditating. I do hope it helps you simplify the meditation process and move forward to reducing and eventually eliminating stress from your life. It has helped me immensely!