To sit in silence for the first time to meditate can seem strange. To sit with your innermost thoughts and feelings can be daunting. You may feel embarrassed or out of your depth but meditation is not just for gurus and yogis. Meditation is for everyone and anyone. It can be so useful in life and merely giving ourself a few moments a day just to stop and think can be so rewarding.
There are many reasons to begin meditating. They could be to deal with stress, anxiety, lack of focus and many more. Meditation can help in so many ways. It can give you a new perspective on life and over you the tools to deal with whatever life throws at you.
The best way to learn how to meditate is to meditate. Again, like everything else, we need to practice regularly. We need to make this a daily habit and workout our minds. Meditation is simple and straightforward. The best way to start is with guided meditations and start out with short 5 minute sessions.
When you do try your first meditation you should expect it to be hard to just sit and relax with an empty calm mind. The moment you try and empty your mind you will immediately start thinking about everything else. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘monkey mind’. Do not get angry about this or upset. As the meditation will probably explain it is fine to experience this. Just accept that you have strayed away from the meditation and once noticed just return to whatever your focus point is wether that is the breath or a sensation or something else.
You can meditate anywhere, anytime. There is no expectation and you don’t need to have goals or try and achieve anything.
There is also no such thing as a good meditation and a bad meditation. The only variables are wether you are in a state of awareness or non-awareness. When you meditate you are trying to find awareness. If you are following a breathing meditation then you will be focusing on your breath. When you realise that you are no longer focusing on your breath that is awareness. Your mind must have been elsewhere. This is good though. On realising this you can then return to your breath. This may happen once, twice or multiple times. Each time you become aware that you have lost focus just simply return with no judgment.
Meditation is not here to solve your problems. It is not a solution to life’s challenges. It is however a tool to help you find stillness and clarity in all situations that you may face. Given a chance, and with consistent practice, meditation can bring profound changes to your life and the way you deal with events and your outlook on life.
How can set yourself up each day to ensure you take action?
- Set regular practice times either daily or 2-3 times per week. Set aside 10-15 minutes for each meditation. It can useful to bolt your meditation to an already daily task. It may be in the morning, afternoon or evening but find a time that works for you and stick to it.
- When it comes to meditating make sure you are comfortable and relaxed.
- When it comes to position you want to ideally be sitting with an upright back and hands on your lap. In reality you can sit anywhere that is comfortable so don’t worry too much.
- How long you meditate for can be influenced by many factors. I would say when you start try and allow 5-10 minutes each time and then slowly increase this as you get more attuned to awareness and being still. Again there are no rules so if you want to go straight for a 20 plus minute meditation then that’s completely up to you.
- Be clear on why you are doing this. This will help you to stay committed to practices.
- Don’t try and run before you can walk. Just take your time and enjoy the journey.
Try and carry any feelings of calm or awareness into the rest of your day. If during your day you feel stress or anxiety creeping in try using any techniques you have learnt to find calmness once again. If you keep persevering then you will begin to notice a change within yourself and a higher state of awareness.
A great meditation to start with is a guided body scan. This requires you to start at the top of your body with the top of your head. You then slowly work your way down from head to toes noticing any sensations. Heat, coolness, numbness, tingling and any other sensations. You should allow yourself to feel these sensations and just accept them for what they are…sensations. Don’t try and fight them just explore them. When you leave that area see if the sensation goes away or gets stronger. It may that there are no sensations at all which is also fine.
The idea is that you are concentrating on what is happening now. Quite often if you do have feelings of stress or anxiety you probably have physical symptoms such as tingling and tightness. It may be a sense of warmth or coolness. These sensations may feel absolutely real and sometimes worrying. By acknowledging them, accepting them and investigating these feelings often we can reduce the hold that it has on us and slowly begin to deal with these symptoms in a much healthier way.