But my mind won’t shut up. I can’t just sit there for any length of time. I’d like to meditate, but I don’t have the time.
Do you recognize these phrases? I sure do! I used to tell myself these exact same things before I decided to practice meditation regularly. I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel that way now (in fact, that’s probably what brought you to this post!). Today I’ll be talking about where to begin if you want to start practicing meditation, and then I’ll share a little bit of my own meditation journey with you.
So you want to start to meditate…
First of all, congratulations. You’ve begun a journey that will teach you to settle your mind, ease your anxieties, increase your focus and productivity, connect you with your natural surroundings and your higher self, and teach you to be present in the moment.
- First thing first: you have to be open minded.
In today’s world, we are CONSTANTLY on the move. Our attention is constantly being stolen from us by work, advertisers, televisions, and worst of all, smart phone screens. So no wonder it’s a little weird to sit quietly for a little while… and some people are just not willing to feel weird, even if it would better themselves in the end. In order to achieve meditation’s maximum benefits, you have to be open minded about feeling strange, and know that it will benefit you to do so.
- Try guided meditation.
Guided meditations are perfect for those of you who are just getting started. Not only will it teach you to meditate, it makes quieting your mind a little easier when you have someone’s voice to focus on.YouTube is an excellent resource for these. I recommend searching “guided meditation for beginners” and finding one that works for you. This is a good one for beginners, but this Earth Day meditation is my absolute favorite.
- Consider your environment.
Are you comfortable? Are you safe from interruptions and from harm? Do you feel secure? Can you close your eyes in this environment? These factors will affect your experience, so take them into consideration.Consider creating a meditation space in your home-Even if that meditation space is simply your side of the couch, you can keep meditation aids nearby. I have my chakra oils, sage, an oyster shell, and crystals in mine, but as this is your space, make it whatever you want.
- Consider crystals or aromatherapy.
You definitely do not need to meditate with crystals or using aromatherapy, but for the highly distracted mind, they really help. Crystals are associated with energies, and smell is tied deeply to the mind.
- Close your eyes if you want to.
- Accept that distracting thoughts will come up.
Observe the fact that they do, but do not indulge them further. If you find yourself on a runaway thought train, take a deep breath and come back.
- Observe noises around you, and how your skin feels against your clothes or against the air.
- Know that it takes time.
“But how will I know if I’ve meditated?” Meditation is like an orgasm- not only is it pleasurable, but when you have the experience, you KNOW. 😉
Most importantly, remember that meditation is about awareness–it is not about what you are aware of, just that you are aware at all.
So, as promised, I will now share a little bit of my meditation journey with you…. oh, where to begin?
The first time I experienced deep, relaxed meditation was during savasana, or corpse pose, at the end of my at-home yoga practice one night. I was laying on the floor of my college apartment, staring up at the wall, so deeply relaxed, no doubt in my mind I had achieved meditation… but I rejoined my roommates and when I described my experience to them, one of them seemed offended I had claimed to have such an experience. He rolled his eyes, shook his head, and shut the door to his room, ending the conversation there.
Unfortunately for me, this derailed my meditation train for awhile. I let the fear of other people’s thoughts get in the way of doing something I found to be pleasurable and beneficial.
Fortunately, I moved out of that environment, and still found myself interested in yoga and meditation. Now, I’ve been practicing meditation seriously for about ten months now. I do it every day, even if it’s in the littlest ways- if I’m walking to the fax machine or bathroom or wherever at work, I think with every step, I am here. Meditation allows me to remain in the moment, which in turn, eases my anxieties and allows me to live a happier, healthier life.
If you meditate, what do you incorporate into your practice? Do you have a favorite mantra? Share away in the comments!
Until next time…..