Beginner's Advice from the ZHP Facebook Group

I have been a little busy recently. I’m in the last six weeks of a Master’s program where I have been dedicating my research to how to improve beginner’s meditation instruction to increase the likelihood of a new practitioner developing a daily practice. I felt a little behind and got some help from the Facebook group for this week’s email.

“Based on your experience, what advice would you give someone who is new to meditation?” Over fifty people shared some wonderful experience, tips and advice. I’d encourage you to check out the whole thread at www.facebook.com/ZenHappinessProject. I’ve included some of my favorites below.
 
Lisa Lyon Meditation is not what you think. It is a daily practice of staying in the present moment. Not dwelling on the past; not worrying about the future. It helps me to focus on my in breath and outbreath during meditation.
 
Sergio Contreras Is ok to smile while meditating
 
Sarah Rudell Beach You're not doing it wrong. No part of your practice is ever wasted.
 
Marci Holmes-See Do not try and force it, do it one breath at a time
 
Tara Noel Vito Be patient and know that there is something to be learned in all parts of the journey. There is no right way to meditate and no possible way to mess it up.
 
James Haggie Everybody's experience is different in the beginning. Comparison is effort wasted. Stay with it.
 
Bill Wright Be patient and don't get frustrated! You're not alone...we've all been there! It won't happen overnight. Little steps are huge progress in meditation. Don't forget that!
 
Chris Hayhurst Thoughts will always pop into your head. Don't get discouraged because you're not doing anything incorrectly this takes time. Once a thought arises let it go and focus back in your breath.
 
Stacey Dalton Reid Don't give up.
 
James Lilly Begin
 
Jurk Jenkins Don't get upset if you cannot stop your mind in its tracks. It takes time to even realize the difference between mind and no mind. Be patient, and gently turn towards silence. If you are upset with yourself, for not being silent, you will only sit in vain.
 
Tom DeRosa You can't fail, you can't not fail. Just keep coming back.
 
Thank you all of my ZHP friends for helping out! What wonderful and encouraging advice.
 
May your practice be strong!
Anthony A. Cernera
www.ZenHappinessProject.com