Meditation is, in essence, the act of taking charge of your own mind in the present, allowing you to be more relaxed, open and available which will have a positive impact on how we react to situations in the future. For beginners however, meditation is simply working on mentally being okay with doing nothing at all and accepting one’s thoughts as they are.
HOW TO START
Changing habits can be overwhelming and all-consuming; sometimes making drastic adaptations in your life can cause resentment toward this new goal, eventually causing people go back to their regular ways. Just start with 10 minutes, one day a week. Mark this in your calendar as if it were an appointment and be sure to stick with it for one month. That sounds easy enough right? Find a time that works for you which will allow you to be consistent.
You may have to try a few different places and a few different positions before you find what works. For me, I like to lay on my yoga mat with a pillow, blanket eye pillow, and weighted balls in my hands; something about the weight keeps my fingers from getting fidgety. Other people prefer sitting on their mats, sitting on the couch, and some even like standing. You may prefer to have your eyes closed or slightly open; the key with all of this, is there is no one-size-fits all. Just because one format doesn’t work, does not mean you should give up all together. Switch it around until you are comfortable.
Regardless of how you go about it, keep in mind, you are making major changes to your life and this will take time and a lot of patience. Your mind is a muscle and you are going to have to start with light meditation weights and adjust over time as you get better.
DISCOVERING YOUR OWN HOMEBASE
A home base will look different for each person but it is essentially a place where you choose to direct your attention to during your practice and a place you can go to outside of your practice when you need to reset. Some people like to focus on their breath while others like to focus on a specific area of the body. Some people like to focus on the sounds in their environment while others like to picture something vivid in their mind. You may have to try a few things out to see what works for you.
LEARN TO ‘POP OUT’
“Popping-out” of your thoughts allows you to observe your mind, without judgement. You are simply acknowledging that the thought exists while at the same time, understanding that emotion tied to that thought was put there by you and you alone. This in turn can give you more mental space which overtime can lead to less anxiety and more internal peace.
FIND YOUR FLOW
Flow is a mental state where a person is fully immersed in, focused on, and absorbed by performing an activity which in return energizes them. As it turns out, being in a flow state is correlated with a person’s overall happiness. So how do we find flow?
The good news is, Flow can be learned. It does require work and consistency but through practice, this can become an automatic part of your life. So even when you’re not working on your meditation practice, try slowing it down for just a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths and think about the moment you’re in. Find stillness for a few brief moments and hang out in this mental space for a few minutes.
GIVE IT A TRY
Most of us don’t even realize how tense we are on a daily basis and this is caused by constantly resisting our own reality. Through meditation, you can learn to accept what is happening with openness and relax more in the moment, allowing you to better deal with life’s challenges.
As mentioned, there is no one way to meditate; work with what you like but the most important key is to get started and keep trying. Know that each person’s experience is different, and each person’s growth will vary, but what you can expect is that overtime, you will have better mental and emotional health.