“Noob's” Guide to Meditation........ and Now, Three Years Later

Since this blog is a re-launch of “Creative and Healthy Lifestyle” as a standalone entity, some of the content is being reposted. I came across this lovely article, which now will be introduced in two parts.


4/2/20215 min read

3ish Years ago...........

“Disclaimer: I'm a mediation noob. I'm writing this post from the perspective of a noob and what observations I've made along the way to share with other noobs, so that this post is noob-friendly.

1. Mediation is what you make it out to be. If you're even remotely interested in the concept of it, then you've probably heard about its potentially relaxing effects. Meditation can be this, but it also can be more and less than this.

2. Meditation can be guided and unguided. Guided is when you listen to the prompts of the person guiding you (either live or recorded) and unguided is when there is very little speaking for you to follow.

3. You're in the driver's seat. You ultimately control your outcome and its success.

4. Meditation takes you through guided relaxation techniques. You often start with relaxing your toes and make your way up through the body, consciously making each part of you relax as you go.

5. Meditation uses prompted visualization. The images you're told to imagine are usually peaceful, nature-related and quiet. We don't usually think about these things on a day-to-day basis and it's a nice change of pace to see these things instead of the stressful things we worry about usually.

6. Meditation is like an adult game of “Let's Pretend” without having to move. Especially when doing guided visualization techniques, you get to pretend you're experiencing a place, time and sensory stimuli (or lack thereof) that aren't there, and otherwise wouldn't be occurring in our minds. It makes you understand why children do this often and more easily than adults. It's because their imaginations are allowed to run free (or at least we hope they do).

7. Don't expect your mind to stay with the guide for very long in the beginning. You'll want to think about something else. It is a deliberate conscious effort to stay with the prompts.

8. Breathing is important. It centers and grounds you and concentrating on the rhythm, flow, feelings and sounds of breathing is a good way to begin to stop thinking of everyone else.

9. Meditation takes practice. It gets easier as you do it more and more often. I get good days and bad days. I was stressed out about something schedule-related earlier this week and I tried to meditate, but I couldn't focus on anything for very long. Hopefully someday my mediation skills will be able to correct stress when it's higher than normal.

10. During guided relaxation techniques, I wish most recordings would take a slower pace. If they tell me to relax my calves, I need at least a few sentences of time before I feel like I have accomplished this, not just the words “relax your calves.”

11. When practiced alone, it is truly a judgment-free situation. You're in your own mind and nothing else controls you or can make you worry.

12. Meditation can be used for religious and spiritual purposes, but it also doesn't need to be. Praying with focus and not in an automatic way is considered a form of mediation, but secular mediation is becoming increasingly more mainstream. The choice is yours.

13. Finding something to keep focusing on is imperative in the beginning. Focusing on breathing can work, but other images and focus points work too. “Om” does NOT work for me. The music teacher in me starts to over-analyze tone quality, pitch and starts to look for vibrato. I prefer a recording with nature sounds instead. But, to each their own!

14. Sudden sounds and tactile irritants can ruin your session. Don't adjust as you go, adjust your environment first.

15. You might fall asleep. Set an alarm if you're worried about that or else the worry of oversleeping will forbid you to focus on something other than that. Sleeping is okay because you've relaxed, but you also have lost concentration.

Where can you start?

Try Youtube or an app. Some of the more popular and highly-rated apps have some content that is free to try, and then you buy a subscription if you like it enough. Also, if you use an app for fitness, there are sometimes meditation sessions built into those. There is definitely enough free content out there to try and stay satisfied for a long time.

http://www.how-to-meditate.org/ – Some sample videos

http://www.wikihow.com/Meditate-for-Beginners – More hints

http://goodli/fezen.com/how-to-start-meditating-ten-important-tips/ – Even more hints

http://www.freemeditation.com/online-meditation/ – Free classes

Https://www.youtube.com – Plenty to find here! Try to begin with shorter sessions though as some can be lengthy!”

Now, fast-forward to 2021.

I'm no longer a noob. About a year ago, when we all were in lockdown at some level, trying to figure out the purpose of life during a pandemic and relearning how to exist without the social aspect, I tried to keep sane a number of different ways. I decided to take on meditation as a way to become more mindful, live in the present, squash chronic anxiety once and for all, and be more rational in my thoughts.

It worked.

I now meditate about four or five times a week, between five and fifteen minutes each session, and I never bought a paid subscription for it. I've been tempted many times, and maybe I still will, but not yet. I'm still enjoying free content.

So what's diferent?

-I learned that breathing keeps me focused. “In, two, three, four, out, two, three, four...” is the best for me. I'll breathe slower and slower and become more relaxed and my extraneous thoughts just- go away. It's pretty incredible.

-Timing. I do my meditation mostly after 90-120 minutes of daily training in the morning, right after stretching, usually with a cat cuddled up next to me, and it's the perfect transition from my “me” time, to getting ready for work. I used to just be like, “I think I'll meditate now!” and it wasn't routine, more of a reward. Well, life didn't always work in a way that got me to complete enough chores to earn meditations, so I didn't practice as much as I wanted.

-Thoughts. I have to make them go away, but they actually do go away. Some days they don't, but usually they do. They used to never go away and it was a constant self-reminder to focus on the voice in the audio.

-Results. I've been mostly anxiety-free for months. It's a huge difference from where I was mentally and emotionally from a year ago. Even though I think other things helped, I know meditation did.

So what is there to lose? I wouldn't say time, because if you're like most people, you probably don't get enough “me” time. If nothing more, you gain ten minutes of that, and maybe much, much more for your healthy lifestyle.

And if you're part of that weight loss journey, think of all the cortisol you're melting away that could possibly be slowing your metabolism out of stress? Or all of the illnesses and conditions that are stress-induced? Ten minutes a few times a week to possibly lose that from your future? Heck, yes.

So get some ear buds, sit in your favorite chair and take in some peace. You deserve it.

woman sitting on sand
woman sitting on sand
man sitting on gray dock
man sitting on gray dock