Image shows Quiet the Mind book cover, red spine, white background, with the text Quiet the Mind above an illustrated image of a man in a landscape of green hills and blue sky with a few white clouds. The man’s eyes are closed he is smiling and blue sky and a cloud are shown where his brain would be. Underneath in blue text is ‘An illustrated Guide on How to Meditate. Underneath that in black text by Matthew Johnstone. .
Starting out with meditation can seem daunting, if you’re anything like me it can take a long time before you stop making excuses about why you have got no time, or why it wouldn’t work for you anyway. Something that really helped put an end to these thoughts was a little gem of a book called Quiet the Mind by Matthew Johnstone: An illustrated Guide on How to Meditate. It’s a small and beautifully illustrated book, a great introduction or refresher as it probably only takes 10 minutes to read. I have personally used it over and over again, when I first started meditating and was finding things difficult, I used to read through this book before every single time I meditated and I still use it to remind myself of certain things, like not beating myself up when I get distracted.
Another reason I think this book is great if you are just starting out is because when you first start to meditate a 10 minute guided meditation can seem a lot to achieve (at least it was for me). I just read this and set a timer when I’m ready to start meditating. At first, I would advise starting with a really low target, set your timer for 1 or maybe 2 minutes and just focus on your breathing. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you will get distracted, whether it is by something in your mind or your body. That is fine, the important thing is to try not to get upset or frustrated, just acknowledge it and go back to focusing on your breath. Once you become comfortable with this then move up to 5 minutes, then gradually increase the time if you want to.
This book also gave me an alternative when it came to what to do with my hands when meditating. Having my palms flat on my knees often wouldn’t work for me, as it would be difficult for them to stay that way throughout my entire meditation which would be distracting so in this book it suggests curling one hand comfortably inside the other (like a cat in a basket.) The important thing is to find what works for you.
Although this book is instructive, I found it good to think of this as a base for my meditation. I use the things I liked and ignored things that I found didn’t work for me (for example, this book suggests using a mantra to help with focus, but I found that I would get too caught up in whether I was saying the mantra right and this would take away from my meditation practice so I have never followed through with that.)
This week I finally found an accessible meditation class, which I have just started, so I will be writing about my experiences with that soon.
If you want to purchase the book you can do so here: http://www.bookdepository.com/Quiet-Mind-Matthew-Johnstone/9781780331188. (Or ask if they can get it in your library)
I hope this post was helpful it is in no way meant to be an advert.
*This blog was mostly typed with speech recognition software, please forgive any mistakes or oddnesses that have slipped through my proofreading process. Thank you.