by Joe Martino |
So you’ve been hearing your friends talk about meditation and its benefits and you want to meditate. Or maybe you have always wanted to meditate but thought it was ‘hoaky’ or maybe even too hard and unattainable. Regardless, this one’s for those who think they can’t meditate but want to try.
The benefits of meditation are becoming a lot more mainstream. One can expect to see lowered blood pressure, better moods, more energy, a clearer mind and more overall clarity. Of course this is just a tit-bit of what meditation can open up for you, but already the benefits are clear.
How To Get Meditating
Some people might make meditation sound like rocket science. Or like something that is wildly unattainable unless you spend hours each day working at it. The truth is, it’s really not that hard and the biggest step to it is getting that out of your mind.
Here’s a guide to meditation for those who haven’t jumped in and tried meditation yet but want to:
1. Commit To Your Interest
You clicked this article, so you have an interest in meditation. Like anything else, commit to it and go for it! Once you decide to actually try and go into it with an open mind, you are already giving yourself permission to make it happen. Bottom line: don’t go into it half-assed.
2. Clear Out Misconceptions
Meditators don’t need to wear special clothes, talk a certain way or be all “spiritual” (that’s all identity and ego play anyway). This is about meditation and clearing the mind. So any misconception about what you need to be like, who you will become, what will happen, what things will look like, etc. Let them go. Simply, BE OPEN.
3. Realize The Simplicity
Especially when starting out, realize that meditation is simply calming the mind, body and breath down. People will sometimes make it sound like you have to have a crazy vision and out of body experience to be meditating. This isn’t true. To start, all we are looking for is some calm and quiet.
4. Throw Away Expectations
Like number three, if you have any ideas of what it is, or how it should feel, or what you want out of it right away, just let it go.
5. Not Before Bed Or When You Are Tired
I say this only because sometimes we will simply fall asleep when trying to meditate and won’t get to realize the full experience of quieting down and then moving on with our day. So try to do it at times when you aren’t tired or about to go to sleep.
6. Find A Quiet Comfy Spot
Find a space where you are comfortable. You can sit down, lay down, stand in the shower or anything else that is comfortable. Work on having a good posture, but don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. Comfort is key to start. Especially when starting out, the more quiet the space the better.
7. Close Your Eyes & Relax
When you are comfortable and ready to go, close your eyes lightly and just relax. Don’t force anything. Don’t keep questioning whether you are doing it right. Soft closed eyes is all you need here.
8. Breathe Simply
The breath is probably one of the best vehicles to meditation out there. Just breath in and out deeply to start. Again, doesn’t have to be a perfect production here, just focusing on the breath going in and out. Just notice how it feels to breathe. Noticing is just feeling. It’s not super analytical.
Continue to just breathe. You’re not waiting for anything or expecting anything. You are just breathing. You might notice after a few minutes that your breath becomes slower, more calm. You might notice your body becoming more relaxed. Let the breath just become natural.
9. Release Tension In Muscles
You can begin this as you keep breathing. Sending oxygen to the muscles will help them relax on their own. Now, simply focus on each area of the body to feel if any muscles are tight or tense. Are you holding them up and squeezing at all? Usually you can notice this is the forehead area, neck or shoulders the most. Check those spots to see if you can relax the muscles more by letting them go.
10. Dealing With Thoughts
Thoughts might come in and out of your mind when you are doing this and that’s normal. Don’t worry, don’t fret and don’t feel like you can’t do it. The goal here is to slowly have the thoughts become less and less prominent. The only thing to focus on here is not forcing the thoughts away but simply to not go running with them. For example if a thought comes up about what you are making for dinner: “what am I going to make for dinner?” Simply let it go. Don’t start following that thought and saying “I will make this, with that and cook it like this, and have it at this time, etc.”
The less you follow the thought the more likely it is to pass by. Another one may come in its place, but just apply the same process.
11. Don’t Judge Anything
Anything that happens, anything you feel or even maybe anything you see or envision, don’t judge it! Just let it be. The mind doesn’t need to get engaged as right now all we are focused on is relaxation and connection.
12. Take Your Time & Start Slow
You could meditate one time and never try again if it “didn’t work.” This is because somewhere along the lines of trying it out we got discouraged. Take your time with the journey. Keep at it regularly and allow the process to move at its own pace. You might get it after a couple of times or it might take longer. What is “IT?” It’s simply the feeling of being relaxed and calm without a head full of thoughts.
13. Bottom Line
If you are practicing and noticing that your thoughts are less active when meditating versus when you are going about your day, you are meditating. You are making progress and allowing yourself to experience the benefits of the practice. Varying degrees of meditation exist and will be achieved the more you try.
You Can Experiment
If this method isn’t working for you after you try it out a bunch of times, feel free to check out these 6 methods of meditation that typically can get anyone meditating.
You can do this! Don’t feel discouraged and stick with it. Avoid taking it all so seriously and just have fun with it. Remember, we’re removing stress, not creating more.
If you need to stop because you’re just not feeling it, follow that intuition. Cultivating meditative sensitivity includes listening to your truth, especially if that truth is “not right now, okay?”
What are the best meditation practices that work for you? Share them in the comments below!
by Joe Martino