Meditation - Benefits, Techniques, Tips & Info for Beginners!

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Meditation

There are many different types of meditation, that differ in the positions, the way of breathing, which outcome you wish to achieve etc. I personally am practicing Zen-Meditation (Also called “Zazen”), so I’ll be talking about this specific form of meditation today.

Zen-Meditation is the oldest form of meditation practiced by Masters like the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Dogen, and many more.


First of all: What is mediation?

Meditation is a state of mind that can give you insights about your inner self, your subconscious, and can make you more aware of things you otherwise would’ve never thought about.

Meditation is simply being in the moment, taking some time out of your busy day to just stop and be.
And the great thing is: Everyone can do it! It’s not hard to learn, and there are almost no requirements. Once you understand meditation and practice it regularly, you are much more in control of your own feelings and how to live your life. A lot of people miss this opportunity and never get to this state of conscious awareness, not knowing how much more control over their own life they could’ve actually had!

The Zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality” – Dogen Zenji


What are the benefits of meditation?

Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, “What have you gained through meditation?”
The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all.”
“Then, Blessed One, what good is it?”
“Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.”

Like mentioned above, we can learn a lot about ourselves, who we are, what the nature of reality is, and get to a new state of conscious awareness, where we are able to see things (and our own problems!) from a different perspective, which helps to solve those problems altogether a lot of the time.

Other than that, meditation is actually healthy for us too!

It releases tension and stress from your body, relieves pain, improves your focus, decision making, ability to work under stress, lessens anxiety and feelings of panic, improves learning and creativity, reduces blood pressure the risk of heart diseases, improves immunity and much more!

This was only a small list of benefits from meditation! You can find a full list of 76 scientifically proven reasons here. Also, when you’re in a deep meditative state, our brain releases Dopamine (one of our “Happiness Hormones”), which increases over all well-being and happiness in our life.


So how do I meditate?

  • Find a quiet place where you can be alone. It doesn’t matter if it is your bedroom, your office, or even a restroom. But once you’ve found it, don’t judge it. Anywhere is fine! Thinking about this being an “awkward place to meditate” will only throw you off.
  • Get in a comfortable meditation position. This could be in a laying position or sitting down – in traditional zen-meditation you should sit in a lotus position, but if you’re a beginner, it’s not a necessity.
    Sitting cross-legged is totally fine too, resting your back comfortably against something.
  • Have good body posture – sit upright, have a straight back, don’t slouch!
  • Close your eyes (don’t force them shut, just let your eyelids fall down naturally) and just relax your eyes, they should be pointing downwards in about a 45 degree angle.
  • Bring your hands together, with the thumbs touching, and rest your hands comfortably in your lap
  • Start by taking 5-10 deep breaths, breathing only through your nose. This is just to keep your blood flow going.
  • Next is actually following a breathing pattern. (Keep in mind that there are hundreds of breathing patterns, this is just the one that I practice – if it doesn’t work for you, you can easily find an alternative!)

So what I personally do is breathe in for about 3 seconds, hold my breath for 2 seconds, and then breathe out again for 3 seconds. Take care that you breathe into your stomach and not your chest. First it might be complicated to count in your head, but the more you practice, the more you will get into the rhythm naturally.
  • Now you slowly get into that meditative state. Some people recommend thinking about the problem you want to solve now, or repeating something like a mantra over and over.
    But in traditional zen meditation, the key is to think of non-thinking. You make your mind go blank, think of nothing, and simply live in that moment.
    Now you might be wondering, how do I think of nothing? We feel like our mind is always thinking of something! Well the solution is to not attach to your thoughts. It is totally natural that you get thoughts running through your mind, but simply try to let them go. It can take 10 minutes or longer if you’re a beginner, but just keep on letting go all your thoughts until you reach a state of complete non-thinking. Just let your thoughts pass by.

  • Whatever passes through your mind, don't focus on it and don't try to suppress it. Just observe it as it comes and goes.
    - Mingyur Rinpoche

    • The last step is simply to let your mind flow freely. Now you have achieved your meditative state, simply live in the moment. Just be. You might actually reach the state of non-thinking without even realizing it.
      Now that you have successfully meditated, you can just exit that meditative state whenever you like. There is no goal, and there is also no end point to this meditation. You’ve done it!


    If you want, you can listen to calming music while meditating. There are lots of different videos on YouTube. Some people prefer the quiet, others like the music (I personally do, too) so decide for yourself. There are even guided meditations on YouTube.


    Disclaimer: There are hundreds of different ways of meditation. If mine doesn't work for you, that's fine, you'll find another one! Also, I'm still just a student and will always be. This post is just about my personal practice and experience! If you have more information or tips about this topic, I'd be happy if you leave it in the comments and I'll inform myself more!


    Topics: #medtation #health #science #brain #life #stress #buddhism #spirituality #mindfulness #zen

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    Also from my very limited experience:
    Don't give up after 5 minutes. Stay with it. For me it doesn't click for the first 10 minutes either, afterwards, the sea of my mind calms down and....boom. MAGIC

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    You're absolutely right! Especially for beginners, it seems very hard to stay focused for more than a couple of minutes (and time feels even longer when you're doing nothing!) thanks for your input & keep it up!

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    I believe the best way to start out is two links based on "Vipassana" practice.
    Theories & practice from "beginner" to "advanced".
    Golden links in my opinion !

    http://www.vipassanadhura.com/whatis.htm
    http://www.vipassanadhura.com/howto.htm

    I have anxiety and a panic disorder and always wanted to use meditation as many people say it works, but the few times I have tried it, I went into a panic attack. I think maybe I was just thinking too much on my heartbeat and my internal thoughts or maybe I was in a bad state. Its been a while since that and I think I should try it again. Im trying to become a healthier person, so im going to book mark this and come back to it later in the week when I get some free time to try it out. I know theres also a few youtube channels dedicated to helping beginners meditate.

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    Sit comfortably, maybe put on some music, and Try focusing on your breath and breathing constantly. When you focus strongly on your breath, you keep your mind busy and don't think about other stuff or stress yourself. I think this would be better for you than thinking of nothing.
    Anyway, meditation is a great help for anxiety so you should definitely give it another try. But don't force yourself. Just do it when you feel like it! Let me know if it worked, I'll be very interested to know!

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    I also have a social anxiety and have suffered from depression for most of my 41 years, I've tried many drugs and they all come with there own problems, mainly withdrawal.
    I've been using the Headspace app for a little while now and I must say it has helped me start to understand I am capable of controlling my thoughts and feelings, it just takes some hard work just like everything else.

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    You can also try starting with some guided meditations. Sometimes having something to focus on (i.e. someone else's words) can be hugely helpful. Look into Loving Kindness Meditation. Or perhaps Yoga Nidra. There are lots of options out there (check Spotify, YouTube, etc.), you just have to find the one that works best for you!

    meditation can even help prevent heart disease, and reduces pain - WOW! This should be known much more, I'm sure a lot more people would try it out then

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    true, if the benefits were more widely known, more people could take advantage of it! That's why I try to share my knowledge here on steemit!

    Love this post @sirwinchester and thank you for the upvote!

    I've always wanted to try meditation, maybe this post is the reason to start today ;)

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    this was a sign for you ;)

    When I try to meditate, I only see black lol. Nothing happens :/ Maybe I have to wait longer ?!

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    that's normal as a beginner, just try to wait a little longer and don't give up! Just try reminding yourself not to get attached to your thoughts, again and again, and you will then achieve the meditative state.

    I don't think this works.. all those effects on your body? simply through imagining something and sitting still?
    But thx for your effort anway, and if it helps you, keep it up.

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    please check the link that I posted above of the 76 scientific reasons. meditation really IS good for your body. I know it seems hard to imagine, but meditation is much deeper than we think ;) it truly has great power.

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    It works, and for much more than we're currently aware of. Read this article, quite mind blowing stuff:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aditi-nerurkar-md-mph/meditation-genes_b_3276602.html

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    There is LOTS of academic research being done about the measurable benefits of meditation. Check out Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction techniques. And you don't have to believe it for it to be true, but it might be more effective. :)

    very informative, thank you for sharing this information paired with your personal experience!

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    thanks for your feedback!

    Sorry but I don't have time for stuff like this, sitting around for 1 hour, thinking of nothing.

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    well, it's not about sitting around and doing nothing. If your day is so busy, it can help you release all the tensino and help you relax.. Try it at least once, for 20 minutes, and tell me how it felt ;)

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    as little as a couple of minutes is a good start

    I didn't know that meditation had THIS many benefits, thats crazy!! it should be practiced in schools!

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    I know, right? You wouldn't even imagine so many benefits from a simple technique like that. it's truly amazing.

    thank you for sharing this helpful advice (Y) I'll try it out

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    let me know how it went!

    That Dalai Lama video is awesome, if he does this, it has to be beneficial

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    haha that's true! He is an amazing personality, I hope to meet him one day

    this is some great stuff, keep it up. love to read about mindfulness and meditation.

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    thanks for your feedback and compliment!

    I've been practicing meditation daily for about 3 months now, and it really works - it relaxes you and changes your perspective on a lot of things. Everyone should try it at least once!

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    100% with you on this! it REALLY works, only 90% of people never try it!

    there should be more posts like this on steemit! keep it up!

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    thanks! :D

    “Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.”

    That quote is so deep I love it

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    that's one of my favorite buddha quotes too

    loved your post, I have been very unhappy with my christian upbringing lately, and maybe it's time to try something else and read a little about buddhism and practice meditation. thanks for your inspiration.

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    thanks for your feedback! It's always good to try something new, let me know how it went!

    I m a big fan of meditation but unfortunately I don't hav time to do it..
    Upvote if you are the same

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    Everybody is busy, you just have to make time for it ;)
    Take 20 minutes out of your day and try it!

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    Take some time for it, and you will be rewarded with even more time afterwards!
    When your mind is clear, you do things more efficient and faster.

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    My problem also... the truth is you do have time, you just need to make it

    I'll try this tonight, let's see how it goes

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    awesome! glad I could inspire you to try this

    I've never tried this but sounds very interesting. Just "thinking of nothing" seems to be very hard, anybody have experience with that? Can you really do it?

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    It only seems hard in the beginning, but it's actually not that difficult. Whenever you have a thought, just top thinking about it, let that thought pass by.

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    I came here to address exactly this. I have studied a few different forms of meditation (including partner meditations, and walking meditations), though none of them in depth. For me, "thinking of nothing" is always the hardest part.

    I have been offered a few tricks that I have found helpful:

    • If a thought enters, picture a sky full of clouds, and let that thought drift away with the wind.
    • Similarly, you can envision a stream or a river and let your thoughts float downstream.
    • Sometimes, if they are important thoughts, I put them in a (visualized) box at my feet so I can return to them when I'm done meditating.
    • If visualizations are not your thing, then focus on the sensation of the breath coming and leaving through your nose. Focus on what it feels like for the air to pass through your nostrils, both in and out.

    Often, the way meditation is spoken about can often seem overwhelming. But there are so many ways to get the benefit without the struggle. Hopefully you'll find your "right way"!

    I have a friend who meditates everyday, he keeps bugging me to try it, maybe it's finally time to test it myself now^^

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    yes you should try it! It's worth it!

    how did you stumble upon meditation? would love to hear your story!

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    I was interested in spirituality after traveling the world, and I guess meditation just kind of found ME :)

    I can't do lotus position, my knees always hurt like hell!!

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    haha don't worry, normal cross-legged sitting is fine too! Or half lotus even

    Upvoted + followed, you really know your stuff. great posts so far, keep it up !

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    thanks for your feedback!

    Thank you for this important information. It will change many lifes!!!

    I recently met some Krishna guys at a festival and they taught me an interesting meditation technique.
    It consist of repeating a mantra (out loud) 108 times while counting the repetitions with your fingers on a wood pearl chain thing.
    They say the point is that your senses are busy thinking about, saying, hearing yourself say, and counting the mantra so it helps keeping your mind from racing wildly.
    It worked quote well for me, so if you find your mind constantly wandering off when trying to just focus in your breathing, this is something you can try to keep your senses busy.
    After doing this a few times, I found that I can just mumble the mantra a few times while walking on the street or doing other routine stuff and even that helps to some effect. Also, it made Zazen easier because it introduced me to the state of mind I was looking for.
    Good luck clearing your mind!

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    I've never heard of this technique but it sounds very very interesting. Thank you very much for sharing this experience!
    Yes you're right, it's sometimes hard to clear your mind and get into that meditative state, and I can imagine how keeping your senses busy will help. That's a very interesting point. Thanks again for sharing & good luck to you too on your journey. Namaste

    What an amazing post! Thanks so much for all that effort you put into writing this post. Very valuable information that will help a lot of people!

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    thanks <3

    I've been using an app called Headspace for a little while, and I must say even after a few days you can start to feel the benefits.
    My biggest problem was and still is consistency, i'll get up late, get home late or be too busy! all personal excuses of course... But I shall not give up! I need a peaceful mind right now far more than I need money.

    thanks for posting!

    I will be honest. I was someone who was convinced that meditation is a waste of time. One day I met someone who showed me how wrong I even was. We can mediate everywhere and anytime. Ever since then I try to take my time and focus on my breathing.

    Thank you for your work!

    I meditate when my wife says long speeches to me. It always helps.

    Thank you for sharing this! When I meditate I'm focusing on my breathing and how the air flow through my body . Working very well for me 👌🏼

    Thanks for the tips! My mind is always all over the place, so I started to look into it 2 years ago. I wouldn't say my meditation history is a success: I am either thinking about everything someone can think about and being distracted by every fart, or I'm so zen I just fall asleep... but giving up is not my middle name: so THANKS for the post, I keep on practicing.

    Can I use a bit of this space to shamelessly promote my post a bit too ;) https://steemit.com/travel/@budgetbucketlist/the-less-glamorous-side-of-traveling-how-i-escaped-an-armed-gang-rape

    After practicing meditation and able to 'fall into my center,' I found massive comfort that I could retreat there whenever I wanted!

    Enjoyed the post!

    That's for sharing info and your enthusiasm for meditation. I've been practicing only 5 months and I'm hooked. Makes a tremendous change in the quality of my days!