Every year millions more people are learning to meditate. That’s the good news. The Bad news is there are problems with learning meditation online.
How bizarre that a website would say that learning meditation online is a bad thing.
Here’s how the average person learns to meditate online
They have a goal. Let’s say they want to learn to meditate for stress relief. So they Google search “Meditation for stress relief.” And hey presto, up pop a thousand websites that all tell you (in much the same way) how to meditate.
Let’s say the website suggests using mindfulness meditation for stress relief. It then provides detailed instructions on how to do a mindfulness meditation for stress relief (which you can read about in our guide to, surprise, mindfulness meditation for stress relief).
The guide says something along the lines of “To meditate, close your eyes and focus 100% on the sounds around you. The person tries to do this. But while following the instructions their mind is flooded with questions, “Should I be forcing my mind to focus or just relaxing? Do I pay attention to my thoughts? What do I do after I finish this meditation?” and so on.
The problem is that the person has jumped in at Chapter 7 of how to meditate, without having read chapters 1 to 6.
And here’s the point: Meditation must be learnt in the proper way. You wouldn’t begin learning physics by starting with string theory. You’d learn about atoms and particles and all the other elementary facts of physics first.
You have to learn meditation the right way because there are several dangers inherent in meditation. Read my guide to the Health Risks of Meditation for more on this.
And the same should be true for meditation. If you truly want to learn how to meditate, you need to start with the first step.
Meditation is a journey. Every journey starts with a first step. And then a second and a third.
So, here’s my advice. If you truly want to learn to meditate, don’t do it online, unless the website offers a complete online course in meditation, which starts at the beginning, works towards a middle and finishes at the end.
It was in order to give a complete and thorough guide to meditation that I wrote the digital edition book, Mindfulness and Meditation Techniques for Beginners, which I’ll discuss on the next page.
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