When you think about meditation, it can be a bit confusing. There are many methods and traditions out there, which can be overwhelming. How do you start?
To begin meditation and develop a practice, keep it simple. By doing so, you will be able to relax and simply enjoy the ride.
Here is a simple guide on how to start meditating:
The First Step
The first thing to understand about meditation is its purpose is to develop attention. It is not something that can erase your thoughts or bring you a magical solution to your problems. Instead, it’s all about the practice of bringing your attention to your breath every time you notice your thoughts have wandered.
When you understand this, it will be easier for you to practice meditation. It’s your first time, anyway. It is essential to know what the purpose of meditation is.
I talked about common mindfulness mistakes here. The information can help you be more guided in your meditation practice.
The Second Step
Where do you plan to meditate? Find a quiet place to meditate. You don’t want to be anywhere noisy because it will be more challenging for you to concentrate.
The place where you plan to meditate does not need to be “spruced up” for meditation. If you have any tools, like crystals and what not, leave them for now. You can use them later when you have entered the practice. Don’t worry, with determination and patience, you will get there.
For now, let’s stick to the basics. All you need is yourself and a quiet place to meditate. If you want to get into the meditation vibe, you can light a candle in the room.
The Third Step
Now, find a comfortable position. You can sit on the floor or a chair, wherever is comfortable for you. Sit straight and do not slump.
Don’t close your eyes yet—get a feel for your position. If you want, look at your surroundings, take in the vibe of the room, and allow yourself a few seconds to just sit. When you are comfortable and ready, close your eyes.
It helps if you have a timer set to know how much time you spend on meditation. For beginners, it is better to set the timer for two to three minutes.
The Fourth Step
When your eyes are closed, don’t think about anything else but take a deep breath. If it helps, you can count each breath. The first few breaths will be somewhat new to you, but really go in, and you’ll notice how your body feels.
If it helps, you can put a hand on your stomach or chest to be more aware of where your breath is coming from. It is also a useful technique whenever you find yourself drifting, you can always focus on the feeling of your stomach expanding with each breath.
After a few breaths, you will notice that your body is relaxing. This is also when your thoughts will start to wander. Remember, that’s okay.
All you have to do is come back to the breath every time you catch your thoughts wandering.
For your first meditation, focus on nothing but your breath, and remember to breathe normally.
The Fifth Step
After your first meditation, do it again the next day. You don’t necessarily need to increase your meditation time, you can increase it gradually when you feel ready. Besides, there is no pressure.
Go at your own pace and everything will follow!
Indeed, meditation can lead to greater well-being and you know it already, that’s why you’re here! However, if you are just starting out, you need to manage your expectations.
The truth is that it takes a lot of commitment, effort and practice to get the benefits of meditation. There are some who experience them almost immediately, while others find it takes time.
So, take it easy, and enjoy the flow.