Meditation For Beginners
The practice of prayer and meditation is very personal, and often depends on one’s spiritual tradition. There is no one right way to meditate.
Choose a technique that you feel drawn to and that you feel comfortable with.
The goal is to develop a daily practice to improve one’s conscious contact with the God of your understanding and “to see to it that your relationship with Him is right……”
On this page is a brief explanation on how to meditate. Throughout the blog there are several guided meditations that we use during our group.
What is meditation? Put simply, meditation is the practice of attempting to focus the mind. It can be used for relaxation and stress management, as well as for spiritual growth and exploration.
How do I meditate? You can start meditating by focusing on your breath. Find a quiet environment, and sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. You can close your eyes, or look at a spot on the floor a few feet in front of you. Breathe slowly in and out. Try to focus your attention on your breath. When you notice your mind wandering, do not dwell on this thought, and do not chastise yourself for losing focus. Instead, simply bring your attention back to your breath each time. Distracting thoughts are an inherent part of meditation, because they help us to practice focus.
Most of us find meditation difficult and unnatural, because our minds are used to jumping from one idea to the next. Like any other difficult skill, it takes practice. Even a few minutes every day can help you become more comfortable with meditation. Try not to be too goal oriented during your practice, because the most valuable part of meditation is the process of attempting to focus your attention.
Variations: Now that you know the basics of meditation, there are plenty of variations you can try. A few are explained here, and you can get other ideas from books and websites.
- Count your breaths. For some people, the counting can make it easier to focus. Each time you exhale, count: 1…2…3…4… Count only up to 4 before starting again at 1, so that you won’t get distracted trying to remember large numbers.
- Notice thoughts. Many people get frustrated during meditation because they don’t know how to handle distracting thoughts. The key is to notice the thoughts, then move on and return to focus. Try imagining that you are sitting at the bottom of a deep pool of water. Each time you notice a thought, visualize it as a bubble that rises away from you and disappears. Other visualizations you can try are thoughts as leaves floating down a stream past you, or clouds drifting by.
- Visualize colors. This can be a fun way to customize your meditation experience. Pick two colors that you want to symbolize certain feelings or emotions during this meditation. Then, visualize yourself breathing one color in, and breathing the other color out. As an example, you could visualize breathing in blue for relaxation, and breathing out red for stress. Imagine the color you inhale spreading throughout your body, and the color you exhale coming from all parts of your body and leaving through your breath.
- Body awareness. Focus your attention on each part of your body in turn, starting at your feet and working slowly up to your head. Notice any sensation that you feel there. Then, imagine that your breath is flowing in and out of this part of your body. You can also combine this with “progressive relaxation”, in which you tense and then relax each muscle of your body.
Program Related Information On Prayer & Meditation
The first 2 worksheets are reprinted with permission from first164.blogspot.com. I cannot praise the author enough. He has a beautiful and clear explanation of program and recovery. I highly recommend his site.
This is an updated version with more modern language on how to listen to God and the 11 Step Practice of Quiet Time. They are reprinted here with permission by Father Bill W. from Two Way Prayer.
How To Meditate & Talk To God – Simple Meditation Instructions
This is another guided meditation created for our group. We often use it during our meetings:
This is another guided meditation that we use in our group.
How to Meditate – Simple Meditation Instructions
Choose a quiet place. Sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair. Your back should be straight, but not rigid.
Rest your hands in your lap on your knees. Look down at the floor with your eyelids half-closed.
Take a moment to
• Meditate on a passage of inspirational literature or
• Chant or repeat a particular word or phrase.
Bring your attention to the room where you are sitting.
Hear the sounds. Feel your body. Notice your breathing.
Without trying to control your breathing, pay attention to the incoming and outgoing breath.
Take this time to silently connect to God and feel His presence.
If you like, visualize a connection to God like a stream of water.
Thank God for any two things in your life—one current, the other current or past.
Pray and ask God for two material things—one related to today, one related to the future.
Thank Him for all he has given you.
Pray and ask God for two spiritual things—one related to today, one related to the future.
Thank Him for all he has given you.
Pray and ask God to help others. Thank Him for all he has given everyone.
When you notice your mind wandering, gently return your attention to your breath.
Before we end: Ask God to talk again tomorrow and say “Thank You.”
Here is another technique that is also posted on the blog, but, I wanted to be able to find it more easily for future reference.
How to practice having conscience contact with God throughout your day
1. Begin each day conscious of God.
When you first wake up in the morning focus on God. This can be accomplished in various ways:
• Meditate on a passage of inspirational literature.
• Chant or repeat a particular word or phrase.
• Create a positive visualization — Imagine God’s Goodness, blessings, kindness, and compassion flowing into you like fresh water from a spring.
2. Read Spiritual or Inspirational Literature.
Ask God for spiritual insight from whatever you are choosing to read and to teach you during the day what you need to know from that verse. By doing this, you will find greater spiritual depth in applying God’s Word to your daily activities.
Each morning strive to do God’s will and align your will with His: God, how would you have me be? What would you have me do?
Pray for your needs and the needs of others.
Throughout your day, speak to God and ask Him for guidance.
Tell Him your innermost thoughts. Ask Him for help in every difficulty. Nothing is too small to matter; nothing is too great.
4. Do a moral inventory and share it with another person.
Commit to working on your character defects daily.
What actions can you take to improve your relationships?
Set aside a specific place and time for prayer, meditation and introspection. Early morning or late at night when it is quiet is best. Whatever time you set, keep it consistently. Use the time to review your previous day in terms of your character defect. Focus on how your practice of this character defect affects others in your life.
On awakening every morning, remember the character defect on which you are currently working. Recite the phrase that you found to help you remember that trait.
Only work on one character trait per week.
Keep a journal in which you record an incident or two from the day that showed when you did (or did not) apply the character defect of the week.
Record all thoughts and experiences that relate to that particular quality.
Focus especially on the role it played in shaping your thoughts, words or deeds.
Examine your motives in each thought or act.
If you find resistance in particular cases when you meet people, take a good, hard look at that resistance.
- Where is it coming from?
- Is it serving you?
- Do you want to have your (inner and outer) life governed by that motivation?
Ask God to remove these defects and replace it with the opposite, God-Centered trait.
Think about how you would like to act. For example: Visualize yourself acting with patience, tolerance kindness, compassion and love to others.
Positive Visualization Exercise:
Take a blank piece of paper and divide it into three columns:
- Column 1: write the character asset you would like to acquire.
- Column 2: list the actions or emotions you imagine connected with the character asset.
- Column 3: write a role model that possesses this character asset.
Now, review the list and imagine yourself feel the emotions in column 2, and if you have a role model, picture the actions of this role model to increase the guidance for column 2.
In time, the efforts we make to steer our behavior through self-restraint will trigger internal change. This action will bring our outer life closer in line with our inner life.
5. Keep a “commonplace book” in which you write quotable passages from books that you are reading along with your reflections on those passages. Record phrases that you find in your reading that you can recite to help you to keep your character defect.
6. Keep a journal with 2 columns to remember when God was there for you.
• Column 1: Gains from glitches: What did not go well today? What did you gain from this otherwise uncomfortable feeling or event? What is the positive aspect of this difficulty?
• Column 2: Moments of inspiration: when was God there for you today? Write daily on at least one incident when you got what you needed when you least expected it.
7. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Put aside all the cares and pressures of the day and focus on being grateful for everything you have.
Make time throughout your day to be still and to be quiet before God.
9. Emulate God:
Be of service and carry the message. What did you do for others today?
God, what can I do today for the man who is still sick?
How can I best serve Thee? Thy will (not mine) be done.
10. At the close of the day, take a moment to concentrate on feeling God’s presence.
Thank Him for how He has led you in that day. Meditate or repeat an inspirational phase or word and strive to have your last conscious thoughts of the day be on spiritual matters.
How do you practice having conscience contact with God throughout your day?
The Power of Habit and Tapping Our Internal Desire by Sarah Azulay
This post in a word and pdf:
As you can see, there is an abundance of information available on how to meditate. The most important thing is to set aside time to practice it!