A Newbie’s Guide to Meditation
Wellness3 Minutes Read

A Newbie’s Guide to Meditation

July 10, 2023 Share

A fuss-free guide on how to begin your journey into the intricate world of meditation. Learn techniques to reduce stress, increase focus, and find inner peace.

I was thirteen the first time I gave meditation a shot. It was midnight, I couldn’t sleep, and I decided that YouTube was the answer to my prayers. A rapid “how to meditate for beginners” search later and I was sat on my living room floor with my headphones plugged on, listening so some old man telling me to think about cats. Looking back, the way he explained it was simple.

Think about cats, and only cats. Don’t let anything else seep into your mind. When it does (because it inevitably will), take a deep breath and re-focus. Cats.

The thing about meditation is that it is widely misunderstood. Its not some woo-woo concept reserved for soul-searchers and journaling enthusiasts. Neither is it guided relaxation. Meditation, ultimately, is about controlling your mind, your thoughts and understanding that what you think is not intrinsic to who you are.

Image courtesy of Motoki Tonn

Meditation vs Mindfulness vs Relaxation

If meditation is about turning down the volume of your thoughts, relaxation is about sinking into the music. Mindfulness, in contrast, is all about listening to it. Analogies aside, meditation, mindfulness and relaxation are all used interchangeably these days, which makes things all the more complicated to digest.

A thoughtful combination of them all helps create a harmonious balance in your life, allowing you to find inner peace, reduce stress, and enhance your overall well-being.

Here’s how you do that.

Image courtesy of Motoki Tonn

Don’t Think About Penguins

Grab your phone and set a timer for 3 minutes. For the entirety of those 180 seconds you are going to try not to think about penguins – a task you will soon find extremely hard to do. The idea is simple, the harder you try to fight your thoughts, the stronger they will come back to haunt you.

A very big part of meditation is learning how to surrender. The moment you stop trying to think about penguins, you likely will.

Mindfulness Techniques

There’s many ways in which you can be more aware and present with your surroundings, but some work better than others in capturing your undivided attention.

The nostrils

There’s a very popular technique in meditation where you’re supposed to focus on your breathing, but nothing works the charm quite like trying to gage the temperature of your breath. Feel the warmth as you exhale and the sharp coolness of the inhales, and once it starts becoming hard to focus, try to smell the air. Most of the times, you won’t smell much. Keep trying.

See with your eyes closed

Another great way of focusing on your surroundings is to try to see your eyelids. Sounds counterproductive, but the effort it requires works wonders in narrowing your focus. You can also shift your gaze towards the middle of your eyebrows, a very powerful technique which in spiritual circles is believed to activate your third eye.

Feel what you are touching

Another mindfulness classic. Bring your attention to every single surface your body is touching. How do they feel? Are the surfaces warm? Cold? Rough? Focus on the weight of your body, the different layers of things, clothes and floors that are currently between your and the earth.

If practiced for a longer period of time in stillness, you may reach a point where you can no longer discern the limits of your own body. You will no longer be able to notice, at least not with the same degree of intensity, where your hand ends and your surroundings begin.

Image courtesy of Motoki Tonn


The brain is a muscle, and much like your bicep, it requires training. Shaping your brain and your thoughts is essentially like trying to re-wire your entire belief system. Most people have gone through life for however many years without giving their thoughts, or better said, the mechanism behind them, much thought at all.

And if all else fails, think about cats.

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