Meditation for Beginners
I found meditation challenging at first, it’s not easy, and that's why you need to start small and over time you will get better and better as you practice.
The most important habit I’ve formed in the last decade is learning to meditate.
Meditation has helped me to become more peaceful, more focused, less worried about what people think and how I look, I have become more appreciative and attentive to everything in my life. I’m far from perfect, but it has really helped me build a better relationship with myself.
Probably most importantly, it has helped me understand who I really am. Before I started meditating, I never paid much attention to what I was doing and how I was doing it. Sometimes I would find myself on autopilot driving to work, wondering how I got there. There were times when I would throw my dinner down my throat, barely taking time to recognise what I was eating. And more than anything I was running around, dashing from one place to the other, always on the go in a constant state of panic. On occasion, I can still find myself in similar situations, but the difference is I have an awareness that I never had before. Which means in those moments when I catch myself, I can make a choice about whether to follow the commands or not. I understand myself better and that has given me freedom to be me.
I found meditation challenging at first, it’s not easy, and that's why you need to start small and over time you will get better and better as you practice. Don’t expect to be good at first — that’s why it’s called ‘practice’!
When I started to meditate, I followed a few simple steps, which I have shared below, and I hope they will help you get started. In all of this the biggest golden rule to have no expectations. If we judge ourselves for being rubbish, not able to manage our thoughts or even if we fell asleep, then no one would meditate. So, make a promise to yourself - no judgements of good or bad, it is just what it is.
- Sit for just two minutes. This will seem ridiculously easy, to just meditate for two minutes. That’s perfect. Start with just two minutes a day for a week. If that goes well, increase by another two minutes and do that for a week. If all goes well, by increasing just a little at a time, you’ll be meditating for 10 minutes a day in the 2nd month, which is amazing! But start small first. As you progress your goal should be to meditate twice a day for 30 mins in the morning, when you wake and 30 mins before your evening meal (late afternoon-early evening)
- Do it first thing each morning. It’s easy to say, “I’ll meditate every day,” but then forget to do it. Instead, set a reminder for every morning so when you get up, it becomes part of your morning routine.
- Don’t get caught up in the how — just do. Most people worry about where to sit, how to sit, what cushion to use … this is all nice, but it’s not that important to get started. Start just by sitting on a chair, or on your couch. Or on your bed. If you’re comfortable on the ground, sit cross-legged. It’s just for two minutes at first anyway, so just sit. Later you can worry about optimising it, so you’ll be comfortable for longer, but in the beginning, it doesn’t matter much, just sit somewhere quiet and comfortably.
- Check in with how you’re feeling. As you first settle into your meditation session, simply check to see how you’re feeling. How does your body feel? What is the quality of your mind? Busy? Tired? Anxious? See whatever you’re bringing to this meditation session as completely OK.
- Breathe. Now that you’re settled in, turn your attention to your breath. Just place the attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale through your nose. To help build your breathing capacity you may wish to count your breath, so inhale for the count of four, hold the breath for one, and exhale for the count of four. Repeat this a number of times so that over time as your breath in, your breath expands the belly, and on the exhale your stomach contracts as your whole breath is fully exhaled.
- Come back when you wander. Your mind will wander. This is impossible to not have thoughts. When you notice your mind wandering, smile, and simply gently return to your breath. You might feel a little frustration, but it’s perfectly normal. This happens to everyone.
- Be compassionate. When you notice thoughts and feelings arising during meditation, as they will, look at them with a friendly attitude. See them as friends, not intruders or enemies. They are a part of you, though not all of you. Be friendly and not harsh – be kind to yourself.
- Don’t worry too much that you’re doing it wrong. You will worry you’re doing it wrong. That’s OK, we all do. You’re not doing it wrong. There’s no perfect way to do it, just be happy you’re doing it.
- Really commit yourself. Don’t just say, “Sure, I’ll try this for a couple days.” Really commit yourself to this. In your mind, be locked in, for at least 30 days.
- You can do it anywhere. If you’re traveling or something comes up in the morning, you can do meditation in your office. In the park. During your commute. Sitting meditation is the best place to start, but in truth, you’re practicing for this kind of mindfulness in your entire life.
Remember, meditation isn’t always easy or even peaceful to begin with. But it has truly amazing benefits, and you can start today, and continue for the rest of your life.
If you are interested about learning to meditate or join a group meditation class, let me know and I will guide you in the right direction. Registration for our next global virtual class is open NOW!
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