Many people hear about meditation and often are unsure of how to start with it. A lot of times people can be sceptical as they think it’s something which goes deep into your mind and can possibly alter your sub conscious in some way which they are afraid of.
Meditation simply put, is defined as:
“to spend time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation.”
Or in a little more detail:
“To think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.”
In essence meditation is a means to focus and calm ones mind, which is especially useful and helpful in todays society where we have information and tasks thrown at us from all angles allowing little time for ourselves. It is not something to be feared but rather something to be embraced and can be a powerful tool in relieving stress and allowing us to regain control of our minds and lives.
As humans we like to take something simple and complicate it which can happen with meditation when it really does not have to be complex.
Here are a few tips and ways to get started with it in the hopes of clearing up any confusion about the practice:
1. Keep it short
You don’t have to sit for hours and hours meditating, you can simply start off with 10 minutes a day in the morning or evening. It will most likely be quite difficult to start off with say an hour initially anyway, and you will really struggle with focusing. So start small, get used to it and then slowly increase the period over time. You can even then do 2 sessions of ten minutes each day.
2. Schedule it in and prioritise it
Try to schedule it at the same time everyday so you don’t miss it. Make it a part of your day or you may just let it slide and not get to it.
3. Keep it consistent
Try to do the same amount of time every day and if you plan to increase, increase at a constant pace over time rather than sporadically.
4. Sit comfortably for you
You don’t have to sit on the ground with your legs crossed with your hands on your knees; you most certainly can, but you can just as well sit up right in a good chair with your feet flat on the ground and your hands in your lap. Or even lying down in bed with your hands by your side before going to sleep.
5. Silence is golden, but so is calming music
You can do it in complete silence or play some instrumental meditation music which can help put your mind at ease and produce a calming effect. There are so many available, just choose one which you like and which relaxes you.
You can download some deep zen mediation music here.
6. Get a bit of help
Most people struggle to focus on their own, so a very good way to get into it is to play a meditation with someone leading it. Where they talk you through it and explain what to focus on and when. You are more likely to zone in and focus on what he/she is saying rather than trying to focus on your own thoughts for the full duration of it.
7. Try not to ‘clear’ your mind
We’re human and our brain always wants to think of all sorts of things, so rather try not to ‘clear’ your mind and think of ‘nothing,’ as is the common perception of meditating, but rather see all those thoughts passing by and you are just watching them go by as opposed to diving into one specific thought.
8. Focus on your breathing
Focus on your breathing. Your breaths are the one thing that will help you to be calm and focus. Even if you have all sorts of other thoughts in your mind try to focus on your breathing and feel the how the air goes into your chest and then out. Feel that filling and exhaling sensation.
Occasionally count your breaths, 1 in and out, 2 in and out, up to ten. Then start back at one. You can do this a few times.
For some this is better than just counting endlessly upwards as it can then become routine and you lose the focus.
- An extra tip is to practice a stretching routine or even a yoga sequence which will force you to focus on your breathing throughout the routine. For it, all you need is good, comfortable yoga mat and if you are unfamiliar with yoga or yoga poses, there are plenty of books available or even easier just search on YouTube, KinoYoga or YogaByCandace are favourites.
9. Choose a mantra
Sometimes choosing a mantra and repeating this over and over is good to train your mind into believing something and focusing your energy on something positive. For instance saying, “I am worthy of”… success for example.
10. Be calm and mindfully aware
When you finish don’t get up and jump into the next thing you have to do immediately. Sit for one a 2 minutes with your eyes open and just appreciate what you have and be grateful for where you are and what you have.