Anyone on a mindful journey has been there.
“How do I start meditating?”
You may even have other questions like, am I not supposed to have thoughts the whole time, can I move during it, can I listen to music too, are there different types, or what exactly is meditation?
But my answer to the overarching questions is, JUST START!
Meditation is a practice that helps you focus internally to create awareness which can lead to a clear mind and an emotionally peaceful state. There are many different kinds, some of which are body scans, breath work, visualization, and even transcendental. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself there. For some, meditation can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The answer to all of your questions is YES, because you can make your meditation practice whatever you want it to be. Make it work for YOU. Want to listen to calming music, sure! Have an itch you want to scratch, go for it! The main thing you want to remember is don’t force it.
Observation is key.
During meditation, focus on observation instead of dissecting everything you experience. The point is to become aware of your emotions, internal thoughts, and surroundings – to observe them instead of reacting to them.
Acceptance instead of judgement.
When observing, accept whatever comes up instead of judging it. If we judged every emotion, thought or occurrence during meditation we would end up coming out more frustrated than at peace. This may be tough in the beginning, especially if you think you’re “supposed” to be meditating a certain way, but learning to accept that lingering thought or rise of worry that comes up will allow you to more easily move into the next step.
Release, Release, Release.
After accepting whatever comes up in your meditation, the final stage is release. Learning to release that thought, the anger, or the car horn you hear in the background paves the way for true quiet and the ability to hear your inner voice, or intuition, more clearly. The only way you can receive what you are seeking is by releasing what you’re holding on to.
A Meditation Practice
Find yourself a comfortable, safe and quiet spot. Sit on the floor or a cushion (you can lean against something if you like) or sit in a chair with your spine tall, place your hands on your knees or cup them in your lap and close your eyes. You can even lie on the floor if you know you wont fall asleep, just rest your hands at your sides with palms facing up and close your eyes.
Breathe! This is essential. Take a few long, slow, deep breaths and then settle into your normal breathing pattern. Sometimes, to keep your mind from wandering too far, it can help to count your breaths (in one, out two, in one, out two and so on) or focus on an area where your breath feels most prominent like your shoulders, belly or the portion of your upper lip below your nose.
Meditate! The basis of the actual practice and application of meditation is to observe your thoughts – let them come up, recognize that you have one, accept it, and then let it go. This also applies to your emotions and anything else that is happening around you while you’re meditating. It’s just like watching clouds passing by in the sky, they come into one side of your peripheral vision and then leave through the other. We’re not supposed to have a blank slate or erase all of our thoughts and sit in complete silence. As long as you note when you are experiencing a thought or emotion, accept what is, and then work to release it, you’re meditating! Over time your practice will deepen, it will get easier for you to quiet your mind when things arise and create a space for you to hear your intuition.
Tips for continued practice.
Don’t force it, if you’re feeling annoyed or overwhelmed it’s okay to take a break and practice again later. Meditation is a practice, the more you do it, the more reward you’ll receive. Guided meditations helped me tremendously when I first started out, and I still utilize them. I use the Calm app and find their guided meditations to be very helpful. They even have “courses” on specific meditation topics like beginners guidance, gratitude, and happiness. Consistency is your best friend. Take 5-15 minutes every morning to meditate, it doesn’t have to completely alter your routine. I can guarantee you will thank yourself for it later. Know that you are never “doing it wrong.” As I mentioned, you make your practice work for you. What works for someone else may not work for you.
This is just a slight dip into the vast ocean that is meditation, and I go into more detail and talk more about my journey in other posts. If you’re ready to take your practice to a deeper level check out the Meditation tab and category for more information and guidance.
Love & Light,