Beginners Meditation. Where to start ?
If you are new to meditation its important to use your discernment in choosing a practice and a teacher that you feel is likely to hold some benefit for you.
What makes this difficult is the fact that you must give meditation practice a chance to work and, depending on your level of meditation development, it is hard to be sure that a given practice is or is not working for you in less than 6-12 months.
After this time you might take a short break from that practice, a time in which you engage in honest discussion and reflection with those who are close to you. They will be able to see your changes (or not) and pull you up or encourage you. So don’t expect miracles, don’t rely on anyone offering a quick fix.
It's that practice you do at home that really counts. The teacher can’t do it for you !! They are available to provide some weekly routine, encouragement and keep you focussed. Just like a Personal Trainer.
There are many forms of meditation-mindfulness so what class or course do you avoid or choose ?
Traditionally, to step into the world of meditation is to enter a world of magic and mystery. One starts to work with concepts that challenge the fundamental norms of ordinary society and you may begin to see yourself as you really are: a free being, playing with your powers of intent, understanding, and action.
Yet for most of us that world is a little too much of a stretch when the demands of mortgage, kids and Facebook continually knock on our doors. We’d be happy with feeling a little less stressed or more at ease within our own skin, we’d like to improve our sense of self-acceptance and develop more confidence.
I feel thats its useful to avoid those teachers that say that their 'style’ of mindfulness or meditation ‘is good for everyone’. This perspective perpetuates an urban myth that tells students that they will succeed as long as they practice hard. This can deprive students of their own inner messages that affirm their own understanding of what they are capable of. Find a teacher that enjoys practicing and teaching meditation yoga that teaches with a bit of heart. If you like find someone that seems to have a bit of ‘a calling’ to it.
If you live in the west choose a 'practice' based class rather than a philosophy based class. The latter will keep you thinking whereas the former take your attention out of your (often negative) thought patterns and into your body and breath.
If you begin a meditation practice look to the long term. Certainly on a daily basis my stress levels have reduced considerably. Yet over the longer term I am enjoying noticing improvements in my level of self acceptance, natural confidence and becoming more comfortable in my own skin.
All the best to you , Jai.