Meditation is awesome. Personally, I’ve been meditating off and on for years. However, I started meditating more regularly in 2013 and I’ve had amazing results. Meditating regularly has increased my clarity on life, awareness and mindfulness about myself and I’ve been more conscious about living in the present moment.
There are many other reasons why meditation is fantastic and studies have been conducted which shows the health benefits of meditation as well. So how does someone get started?
There are many ways to meditate and many schools of thought on meditation.
To make it simple, here are three tips on starting a meditation practice.
Step 1: Find a quiet place with no distractions.
This means turn off your phone, the tv, your computer and anything which could distract you. Close the door or go into a quiet room where you cannot be interrupted. Some people like to have soft music on but generally meditation is a completely quiet activity. Sit in a comfortable place. You can lay down, but there is a greater chance you’ll fall asleep laying down and sleeping is not the same thing as meditating. So, find a comfortable place but stay seated. Also, allow yourself about 20-30 minutes in each session. Set a timer if you’d like, but make sure your phone is on silent so that you are not able to hear incoming calls because that will distract you. Or, find another way to set a timer if you are on a schedule and want to avoid using your phone.
Step 2: Make sure you continue to breathe.
This seems silly to tell you to keep breathing, but breathing is the essence of meditation. To breathe is to live and breathing in and out is part of the meditative process. Also, it helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which functions at its height when our bodies are at rest. So breathing deeply is one way to align yourself with the meditative process.
Step 3: Don’t force your thoughts to come or go, just let things flow.
Empty your mind if you can, but allow things to flow freely. For me, I tend to focus on nothingness in my mind. Thoughts come and go and I let them flow like a river. If you fight the thoughts that come in, then you are resisting the thoughts and you are not in a state of allowing. The process of quieting your mind is exactly that, a process. So go easy on yourself and don’t expect to be a whiz out of the gate. Allow yourself some practice at letting the thoughts go and notice them, but don’t focus on them. Instead just let them flow or even float like they would in a river or in the ocean. They come in and they go out. Then you are not stuck on any particular thought and it goes.