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  • Writer's pictureMicheal Sinclair

Meditation for Beginners: Counting Tutorial | Micheal Sinclair

Meditating is as easy as 1..2..3!

Meditation is the practice of being aware.

I think where a lot of people miss out on meditation by thinking it's something you do with your mind or something you do to your mind. Meditation isn't an activity of the mind. Meditation is actually transcending the mind. You can't think your mind clear. You can't use a thought to get rid of another thought. Trying to think your mind clear is like trying to get a splinter out of your hand by using a jagged piece of wood. It would only make the situation worse.

So how do we clear our minds? By not paying attention to the thoughts. Not totally disregarding the thoughts, but rather finding something else to bring our attention to, something else to focus on. And what will happen is when we focus on that thing long enough and with enough practice, eventually the thoughts will begin to dissipate on their own. The mind will begin to calm down and find a natural peace on its own.

Because believe it or not, what causes so many thoughts in our heads is focusing on the thoughts. Like usually when intrusive thoughts pop into our minds, our first instinct is to follow the thought, and see where it goes, and multiply the thought. This thought goes to that thought, goes to that thought. That's where anxiety comes from, that's where a lot of depression comes from, is by chasing the thoughts.

And that's why meditation is such a powerful tool for helping to cure illness, anxiety, and depression, or at least it was in my case, because it takes you out of the mind. The mind is where we suffer at a lot. I mean, in reality there is usually much of suffering in the there and the then. That's is all thought based, that is all all mind stuff.

That is why meditation is so important because it helps bring us out of that mind stuff. it helps bring us out of the further and the past and bring us here in the now, where life is actually taking place.

So how do we come into the now? How do we focus on one thing so that the other thoughts dissipate? Well, traditionally most people are taught to meditate following the breath, and that's a very powerful tool because the breath is always with us. It's always present. It's something that we can call on regularly, it's always reliable. But I've found that following the breath alone, especially nowadays when I feel like we have all such short attention spans can be difficult because the breath is really subtle. The breath, while powerful, it doesn't necessarily command a lot of attention. Most of us spend most of the day without being aware of a single breath, and that just goes to speak to how automatic and subtle breath actually is.

So when I started to learn how to mediate, I was having a trouble just following my breath so what I did is I started counting in addition to breathing. And counting but also picturing each number in my mind as I count. During each breath I would picture the number in my mind and what this allowed me to do is to have something a lot more tangible, a lot more gross to focus on, while I'm doing my breathing, so I wasn't so easily distracted from my breath as I would be just trying to stay with my inhale and exhale.

So way that I like to teach people how to meditate in the beginning is by doing a counting mediation, which is essentially just like a breathing meditation. But again, just going to count. And not only are we going to count, we're going to imagine each number in our head as we inhale and exhale. And I want you to get as creative as possible when you picture these numbers in your head because again, that will keep you stay focused on the object of our meditation which is the counting, which is the breathing.

Now, of course, thoughts are going to pop in, like thoughts do. That's what thoughts do. That's what minds do. They think. Our goal is not to have any thoughts at all, that's really not possible. But what is possible is that when we notice ourselves in thought, when we notice ourselves not in our count anymore, if we've lost track of our count, then we just gently bring ourselves to where we last left off, the last number that we remember breathing. Or, if you can't remember the last number, just start back at one.

There is no shame in starting back at one. It's really a great thing because it shows you that you're aware, that you caught yourself being aware of a thought, and now you can gently bring yourself back to the number.

So it's not a race, there's not a goal. It's not to get to 50 breaths or to get to 100 breaths. Again, to just be aware, to be aware of the fact that you're breathing, to be aware of the fact that you're counting. to be aware of the fact that it's the here and now. And to be focused on the fact that we're going to focus on our breath, and we're not going not going to focus on the monkey mind, the intrusive thoughts.

The meditation begins at 5:50


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