How to Start for Beginners

Magnifying Glass

Like steadily focusing sunlight on a paper with a magnifying glass, steadily focus your mind on your breath.

Note: Focusing and steadiness are two key skills you are using. Focusing is about noticing the sensations of your breath. Steadiness is about continuous awareness from the beginning to the ending of your one breath.

Knowing

Know it is an in-breath while air is coming into your body. Know it is an out-breath while air is going out from your body.

Practice Guideline

  • Posture: you can do the above practices while sitting. Sit upright and balanced so that your body becomes relaxed and pleasant on its own.
  • Breath: your breath is always natural breath. No need to force or withhold your breath.
  • Home practice: Each practice session may last 5 to 20 minutes when you practice alone. Repeat the session if you like.
  • Review your practice: Writing down or sharing your practice experience with others. (e.g. new and the same (actual) experiences as well as the dominant experiences/insights.)

Common Mistakes

  • Practice incorrectly.
  • Trying to feel good.
  • Thinking about breath rather than being aware of it.
  • Trying to stop thoughts.
  • Not reviewing meditation experiences.
  • Unaware of obstacles.
  • Forcing breath.
  • Not participating a group practice regularly.

Q&A

How do I know I am doing right?

Check to see if you experience one or more of the followings: breath becomes deep/long on its own, body becomes relaxed, and mind becomes peaceful, free & pleasant.

How soon will it happen?

Just one breath is sufficient.

How do I know whether I am aware of my breath or thinking about it?

If you are knowing the physical sensations of your breath that is constantly changing from moment to moment in the present, you are aware of your breath. If you are remembering your breath or imagining a breath, you are thinking about the breath.

What should I think during the meditation?

No need to think anything.

How to stop thoughts?

Trying to stop thoughts is a common beginner mistake. Learn to meditate correctly instead.

Should I bring my attention back to my breath over and over when thoughts repeatedly come?

Thoughts had to come to you over and over because of reasons. Knowing the reasons helps you more than repeatedly running away from the thoughts.

 

More Mindfulness Practices

Practice with Other Objects

Apply the same skills to other objects for example, body sensations, sounds, urge and even thoughts.

 

Mindfulness in Motion

Further apply the same skills to activities while you are doing for example, walking, eating, washing hands, cleaning, qigong and other activities.

Two Objects

Focusing on two objects for example, breath and body.

 

Landscape

Awareness is not limited to one or two objects but notice all, for example, just be here and now to experience whatever are happening.

 

Beginner’s Insights

Body tension, constricted breathing, urge to move, busy mind, mind wandering, calmness, distraction, noise.

Breath becomes long/deep on its own when you are aware of your breath. Body becomes relaxed when you are aware of your breath. Mind becomes calm and free when you are aware of your breath.

Mind operates on its own without your permission. Mind is seeking pleasure. Mind does not know but believes to know. Mind creating pain in life.

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