15 Jun Meditation for beginners
Meditation is always a good idea – no matter how old you are, what job or lifestyle you have. It is proven that daily meditation has loads of benefits. If you haven’t tried it yet, here are some tips for you.
Types of meditation
There are several types of meditation. According to the scientists there are 2 main categories: Focused Attention and Open Monitoring meditations.
- In Focused Attention meditation you have to focus your attention on a single object during the meditation session. This object can be your breathing, a mantra, a part of your body, an external object etc.
- During Open Monitoring meditation you have to keep your senses opened. Instead of focusing on one object you have to observe all aspects of your experience. Observing the internal (feelings, thoughts etc.) and external (smells, sounds etc.) perceptions are also important.
For the beginners it is recommended to try the Focused Attention meditations because they are less complex. Some examples are: Chakra meditation, Kundalini meditation, Sound meditation, Zen meditation (Zazen), Mantra meditation, Yogic meditation, etc.
With some research you can find the one that works best for you or even try more types before you take your vote and start daily practicing.
Today you can learn more about one of the most powerful Focused Attention Meditation type: the Trataka meditation.
Trataka (means staring, gazing or looking in Sanskrit) is an ancient form of yogic meditation. This tantric method of meditation leads to higher consciousness by bringing energy to the third eye. (The third eye or inner eye – usually depicted as located in the middle on the forehead – is one of the seven chakras. It is responsible for the non-physical perception.)
You can improve your visualization, concentration and many other skills by staring at a single point – like a small object, a black dot or a candle light.
There are several ways to practice the Trataka meditation but candle-gazing is the most popular and most powerful from all of them.
Candle-gazing step by step
- Preparing: Providing the right conditions is essential before every meditation practice. Make sure that you are in a cosy room where you are able to relax: inappropriate circumstances (for example: too high or too low temperature, smells, sounds, wind etc.) can spoil the practice. The ideal place is a darkened room, with comfortable temperature, where you will not be disturbed. We encourage you to turn off your phone before you start and make sure there are no distractions at all. Close the windows because the wind can move or even blow out the flame. Place the candle to eye-level and make sure there are no flammable materials around it. Sit down to a chair or to the floor with straight back, the way you sit is up to you – choose the ideal position. Calm down, breath in and out and release all of the negative thoughts from your mind. When you feel totally relaxed you can start the meditation.
- Focus: Stare at the candle flame and try not to blink. Try to keep your eyes focused even if you feel bored or distracted. You will notice that no matter how hard you focus thoughts will come to your mind trying to attract your attention, your sight and your mind will drift away several times. Don’t worry this is absolutely natural and normal. After a few days you will recognize that it gets easier to ignore the distractions. Tears may come out: just let them flow.
- Visualization: When you feel that your eyes get totally tired and you can’t manage to keep them opened: close them and try to get an image of the flame in your mind. Keep your eyes closed until your mental image disappears. When you are no longer able to recall the candle flame in your ‘mind screen’: open your eyes again.
Try to repeat it a few times. The meditation should go on for 5-10 minutes each day in the first few weeks. When you feel that 5-10 minutes passed or when your eyes or mind get totally tired, blow out the candle and slowly return to full awareness. If you need time to return lay down for a few minutes.
Although there are just a few researches in this topic the people who have devoted years for its practice reported several benefits. Practitioners say it improves many skills like:
- Cognitive function
- Vision (Eyes become stronger, vision is clearer and brighter, and sight in dark also improves)
In addition you will be able to reach physical and mental relaxation and calm down your anxious mind. Your self-confidence and patience will also increase. If you have any problem with sleeping it can be the solution. Trataka also helps to bring suppressed thoughts to the surface.
Keeping in mind that trataka is simple but it has so many benefits it is worth giving it a try!