Mental Health

A beginner’s guide to meditation. Okay guys, here is the second… | by Avinash Karat | Nov, 2021

Avinash Karat

Okay guys, here is the second non-technical blog post from me. Its regarding meditation. I discovered meditation while I was going through one of the toughest times of of my personal life, around mid 2020. I was initially very much skeptical about meditation, but somehow I tried to do it for almost everyday for an year, and here is what I have to share about how an absolute beginner, who has never meditated before can do it in the simplest way.

Points to note before we dive in:-

  1. You don’t have to have prior experience
  2. Its completely secular (not- related to any religion, enlightment or things like that)

Okay, here is how I did it.

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair (back straight recommended). You don’t have to sit cross legged or something like that. Place both of your hands in your thighs or anywhere you like.
  2. Pick a meditation timer app. I personally use a free android app called “Meditation Timer” by a company called Telesense (pasting the screenshot below)

Once you install it, set the timer to 1 minute (I think there is no option to reduce it to lower than 1 minute)

3. Close your eyes

4. Start focusing your entire attention towards your breath. Means how you inhale, how the oxygen goes through the hairs inside your nostrils, how that feels to you. Or how your stomach or lungs feels when the oxygen enters your body. Or the feeling of the exhalation process. Pick any spot during this breathing and focus your attention gently towards it. I want to emphasize, focus your attention as gently as possible. Because this is not a hard game of punishing yourself to concentrate on the breathing.

5. Now as you started focusing your attention to breath, your mind will start to wander. In my case, within some nano-seconds I was completely out, and I was no more concentrating on my breath. And THIS IS PERFECTLY OKAY. I repeat, THIS IS PERFECTLY OKAY. In my case, I started to think about a zillion things as I intended to focus on my breath. Sharing some of the random thoughts that flashed through my mind today during meditation.

a) Why did Iron-Man sacrificed himself in the ‘Avengers-End Game’ where there where people with super powers like Captain Marvel or Thor who could withstand the gamma radiation of the gauntlet snap

b) why I am even doing this stupid thing?

c) what I am gonna have for lunch

d) How long will it take to hit the timer?

e) Am I feeling some itch?

f) Why did that person told that thing to me 5 years back?

g) How will I fix the bug I was working on yesterday?

6. As I told in my earlier point, it is absolutely fine if your mind wanders. It will happen, and that is how we are biologically wired. You can’t stop having thoughts. Thoughts will come to your mind, just like the heart beats every second. You can’t stop thoughts coming to your mind, just like you can’t stop your heart beating. If you thought meditation is about stopping all of your thoughts, you are wrong my friend.

7. So what do we do? As you are immersed in random wild thoughts, just acknowledge that, and calmly try to understand that my initial intention was to concentrate on my breath, now I am immersed in this thought, and is absolutely fine. Let me go back to concentrating on my breathing. And without feeling guilty, without any regret (I know both are some kind of similar words, but putting it here, nevertheless) gently try to bring your awareness back to breathing. The main point is, you have to do it in the most gentle way possible.

8. Repeat the steps until you hit the 1 minute timer you initially set.

9. When the timer hits, slowly and gently open your eyes.

This is my friend, what meditation is all about. You don’t have to use any fancy paid meditation app, or sign up for a paid course or something like that. It is as simple as that.

Meditation has lots of benefits, but from my own experience for the past one year, what I can say is, if I was 100% stressed the whole day prior to my meditation habit, then after I started it, I was 95% stressed. Means 5% stress got reduced from my body from a psychological and physiological perspective. And the impact of the reduction of that 5% itself, my friend, indescribable. Give it a shot people. Anyways you are wasting a lot of time during the day scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix etc. What loss you can have if you try to dedicate at least 1 minute a day for a period of time, say 3 months or 6 months? Just give it a try and let me know how did it feel after your first meditation session.

Bonus Point:-

If you want to stick to the meditation habit every day, I suggest installing any habit tracker apps, which will not only remind you to do this thing every day, but also will let you track your progress every day in a calendar like interface. Once you manage to do it for the first week ( I know it will be hard to stick with the habit during the first week, but trust me guys, its absolutely worth it), you will never want to break the chain. This was the habit tracker app I was using. It is called “Loop”

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