Meditation for Beginners

Meditation is an art, a long-standing practice that originated with someone very wise I’m sure. The ability to center one’s self, to breathe deeply and live fully in the moment is a skill that takes practice. I have visions of mastering this art, and being able to simply be still. Not just my body, but also my mind. To pray fully focused on my intent, to write fully focused on what I’m trying to convey, or to even play with my boys without wondering how quickly I can jump to the next thing.

If you arrived here hoping to find an expert, you’re so out of luck. I was tortured this morning with about 20 minutes of time in a dark room, in a fairly comfortable position, with therapy treatments happening on my back. 20 minutes with no phone, no books, no voices, no distractions. Just me and God time. Or it could have been me and me time. But instead it was me and God time for about 30 seconds at a time, broken up by moments of lost train of thoughts, knees begging to be cracked, a phone buzzing to be checked, before I’d come back to my prayer. I should be enjoying these moments of quiet, with nothing to do but heal and be still.

Instead, I’m searching for a book that must exist, Meditation for Beginners (or Dummies).

In the meantime, here are some things I’m trying, to help me find if there’s a hope for me in this mess of a mind.

– Accepting that for 20 minutes, three times a week, my only activity is being still.
– Putting the phone down more. I won’t likely ever be the person that forgets where their phone is for a day. It’s too much a part of my job and my goals with writing. But I can give my kids my full attention for more than 30 seconds at a time and just be there. (I wish this one wasn’t so hard)
– Just write. Many times I have too many thoughts and ideas flying around and can’t seem to get organized and settled enough to share them. I’m pushing myself to just start writing, and worry about editing later. It’s okay if it’s a mess.


The biggest challenge of being still is the thoughts that come that you’d rather not face. Just a week or so away from the 6th anniversary of the last day we saw Austin, thoughts of him come often. Which lead to thoughts of our search and the lack of progress, which lead to thoughts of hopelessness. I wish that thoughts of Austin could ever just be the good memories, but I’m not sure that’s possible. So I don’t welcome the good memories as much either, because they turn into painful ones.

Thankfully, the painful thoughts usually turn to thoughts of hope and images of what the day will look like when we finally know. I still believe that it will be another painful time, one of grieving or more questions, because no matter the result there will be that. But I know who will be standing by our side, who will help shine Hope into the darkness, and know that God will use people like us to keep shining it for others.

But my best chance of shining that light is if I can be present and put all my energy into one thing for those moments I have. So, if you know of a book like Meditation for Beginners, or Meditation for Dummies, let me know!


  1. Here is a little suggestion that may help you….it is not about the mind stopping per se, it is about relaxation. I would say just watch the thoughts as they come and go and then get back to thinking about your breath or whatever.

    I also highly recommend guided meditation like Flow Dreaming by Susan Mctravick. she even offers one for free on her website. I use them myself. 🙂

    Bet wishes on your joyful journey,


    Kathy Hadley recently posted…Today Can Be Your Day – Declare It SoMy Profile

    • That is a great tip- let them come, because more distraction may just be coming from trying to push them away.

  2. I may have one at home for you.. I will look 😀

  3. I am going to give this a try in the mornings! Thanks for sharing, Anita!

  4. It’s so strange, isn’t it? What could be easier than just sitting and calming your mind!? I find silence and meditation challenging, too. I like Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World – great for beginners. I also have a series on my blog called Living a Mindful Life where I offer some suggestions ~ I am no expert (is anyone?) but working on my practice. Great post!
    Sarah | LeftBrainBuddha recently posted…Daring Greatly … QuietlyMy Profile

  5. I’ve tried finding an easy to understand guide to meditation but never did. I just read blogs and practiced. It gets easier but… only a little easier.
    Amanda Thomas recently posted…Review of The Product Creation Puzzle Part 2 – Dig In!My Profile

  6. Dear Anita – Thank you for sharing your touching post. I don’t think one has to be an an expert to impart wisdom. I think we can gain a lot through sharing one’s trials and challenges and appreciations, as you are doing. For your meditation practice, I think you are in a perfect place with a beginner’s mind, which can be often be the most open and effective state for simply being, breathing and letting go of any expectations. Here are few resources that I have loved as I practice meditation in my own imperfect and inconsistent but allowing ways to connect with my inner wisdom:
    Depak Chopra offers a free series of beautiful and inspiring guided meditations (this is not a book but a series of audio podcasts) that you can access for free on iTunes at Also, Jon Kabat-Zinn has written several best-selling and inspiring books on Mindfulness and Meditation for people at all levels of interest including those who are experiencing pain and suffering. Here is a link to his books on Amazon: I hope you find some of these resources helpful. Namaste!

  7. I am totally with you on the thoughts that fly around in my head at 700 mph! Or maybe even more! I use a couple of questions when that happens. The first being. What is the most important thing or activity for me to be doing RIGHT NOW? That normally brings me back into focus.
    Arla DeField – recently posted…Saying NO is selfish, Right?My Profile

    • That’s a great question to use- heck, I need to use that to ground myself while working and feeling overwhelmed!

  8. Anita,
    I am awful at being still for just 20 minutes. Each day, I feel so much pressure to get things done that I never remember to just be still. Thank you for this reminder and if I find Meditation for Dummies, I’ll be sure to pass it on! Good luck friend!
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…The Our Land Series – The Magical MixMy Profile

  9. Reading your post, I think you’re probably doing just fine, but if it helps: Meditation for Dummies does exist. Or at least it did several years ago when I used it as a resource in my meditation class. It’s actually a very good book.

    But … I think you’re probably doing just fine. There are other things you can do when you’re ready (sitting with thoughts, etc), but nothing that has to be done a certain way (unless you’re trying to do it that certain way).

    The three essential bits:

    Relax with what comes up (don’t hold on to thoughts).
    Breathe again.

    The rest will eventually take care of itself.

    • I think a big thing for me is just letting go of what I “should” be doing or how- relax with what comes up- I’m going to focus on that.


  10. I have no advice for you – I can’t meditate to save my life. But when I’m reading, I am removed from the here and now and lost in the world on the pages, and that makes me feel refreshed and invigorated.
    Dana recently posted…“I got a rock” does not amuse airport securityMy Profile


  1. Meditation For Beginners says:

    […] Meditation for Beginners – Anita Davis Sullivan for ways to calm your mind and rest your soul? Me too. In search of 'Meditation for Beginners' because I have no skills. […]

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