Meditation is an inner journey to a place beyond the mind. Our minds may panic and invent all sorts of excuses – mainly that we “don’t have time” – to avoid you doing this. For the mind fears anything that might take you to beyond, to peace – for example – or to inner stillness. No, the mind wants to be in control, all the time. Well, who is going to run your life? You, as embodied human being with your own spiritual essence – or your mind? We offer you a choice, you can try meditation, step by step, and evaluate it some time later down the road of your life.
- Find your motivation to start.
- Pick a peaceful, quiet place.
- Choose relaxing clothes and a comfortable pose.
- To start, set a timer for two minutes.
- Concentrate on your breathing.
- If your concentration is interrupted, refocus on your breathing.
- Do a body scan by focusing on different areas of your body.
- End your meditation with a positive ritual.
- Remember not to overthink it. Just enjoy the journey.
- Make it a habit.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Meditation
1. Choose to Start
Meditation starts with you. No matter your age or physical condition, meditation is always within reach. What is required on your part is the decision to begin. If you need some motivation, then try thinking about the reasons why you want to try it in the first place. Meditation can relieve stress and anxiety, promote physical and mental well being, and often, it may be a spiritual experience. Find a quiet moment to write down what you are hoping to get out of it and go back and read it anytime you need some motivation to meditate.
2. Pick Your Location Wisely
Your environment is critical to cultivating the right experience. Try to find a peaceful, quiet space that helps you feel relaxed. While a calm bedroom, tranquil garden, or dedicated meditation space is ideal, it’s not always possible. When the optimal location is not available, remember, your car or even work desk can serve as your very own meditation retreat. The most important thing, especially when first starting out, is finding a location where you have the freedom to meditate for at least two minutes without interruption.
3. Get Comfortable With It
Before you can completely clear your mind, you will need to limit as many distractions as possible. Even small irritations will become distracting once you begin to meditate. Scan the area before you start and consider the type of pose you will be in, the clothes you are wearing, and your surroundings in general. Turn off your cell phone and anything else that might be disruptive.
Pick a Pose
Meditation works in nearly any position. Sitting, standing, and laying down are three basic poses that are great for first-time meditators. Select your starting posture based on comfort and whether or not you can hold it for a few minutes at a time. For most people, a good starting position is sitting cross-legged, hands resting on the legs, and eyes closed.
Any clothing can work for meditation, but again, comfort is key. Many people enjoy light, loose-fitting clothes when they meditate, but you can wear anything you find relaxing. If you can’t decide what to wear, throw on your favourite pair of pyjamas or comfortable workout clothes.
Chairs and Pillows
Meditation can involve long periods of sitting, especially as you progress. Seasoned meditators will typically have a dedicated cushion or mat in their home, but these are not necessary when you’re first starting out. Choose a comfy blanket or pillow or a sturdy, well cushioned chair to maximize comfort for extended meditation sessions.
Sounds and Smells
Many other factors such as sounds and smells can help set the stage for a positive meditation session. Some prefer adding aromas in the forms of incense, essential oils, or scented candles, while others like to avoid sensory distractions altogether. Whatever you choose, just make sure the air you are breathing is fresh and clear of any toxins or pollutants. Natural sounds like wild animals or a babbling brook can also enhance or distract depending on the individual. Try a variety of settings to find out which works best for you.
4. Set a Timer
Meditation does not need to be a long process unless you want it to be. If you are just starting out, then begin with small increments of time. Setting a timer is very helpful for beginners because it can help keep your focus on breathing and not on the clock. To start, set the timer for two minutes, and do your best to stay focused and in the moment. As your confidence builds, try extending the timer by 30 seconds every session until you are meditating for five minutes or longer.
5. Focus On Your Breathing
One of the best ways to begin the practice of meditation is to focus on your breathing. Choose your pose and follow your breath as it flows from your nose into your lungs and out again as you exhale. Some find it helpful to count breaths, but it isn’t necessary. Concentrating on your breathing will help your mind focus as it adjusts to the silence. Even seasoned meditators pay close attention to their breathing as a way to be more mindful.
6. Return When You Wander
Most meditation practices aim to clear the brain of all thoughts and be more mindful. However, it is natural and even inevitable that your mind will wander or fixate on rotating feelings and physical sensations or plans or things you have to do. Or people. Getting lost in these distractions is entirely normal, but not the goal of meditation. When this happens to you, recognise that your mind has wandered and try to refocus on your breathing.
7. Scan Your Body
Towards the end of each meditation session, take the time to do a body scan. During this scan, focus on different areas of your body. Ask yourself how you feel, and pay close attention to any part that may need healing. Shift your focus from your breathing and gradually move your attention from your toes up through your feet and legs. Eventually, you will reach every area of your body. Similar to your breathing, return focus when your mind wanders.
8. End Your Session on a Positive Note
Carry your mindfulness through to the end of your session. Slowly get up and take note of how you feel. Breathe in deeply and gently adjust your body and mind. Creating a personal ritual to end each session may be helpful. Ending rituals could include reciting a personal mantra or finishing with a light exercise or walk.
9. Don’t Overthink It
Don’t spend your meditation time worrying whether or not you are doing it right. It may take a while for you to become proficient, and that is ok. Just keep at it, have fun, and enjoy the journey.
10. Repeat Often
Meditation can help support a healthy body and mind. It promotes healthy blood pressure, a happy mood, and strengthens coping skills. However, to start seeing the benefits you will need to meditate regularly and make it a habit. Try picking a time and place every day where you can dedicate two to five minutes to meditate.
The mind is like a child and will respond to loving guidance. If you make a loving habit – for yourself – or meditation, the mind will calm down and look forward to this inner activity.
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