There are so many reasons and ways to meditate that it can first seem daunting, but the benefits of sustained practice are worth the effort. You just need to give it a go.
When I began meditating it was a private thing. Nobody knew I meditated and I worried what other people would think, imagining they might think of me as some werido or kook. I wanted to identify where I was already meeting with spirit in my life, and a way that would bring me closer to the light. What did I need? A spiritual meditation technique that would become part of my ritual.
I was stressed at work and my mind was on constant overdrive, in a state of anxiety and worrying about the smallest things that may or may not happen. Also, I was holding onto stories of the past, replaying them to justify the way I felt in that moment. It would wake me up in the middle of the night. The whole experience was exhausting. I felt lonely. I drank a lot of wine of the weekends to try to escape from the life I was leading and the mind that would never rest. Until, of course, I burned out.
Since then a simple, sustainable meditation practice has honestly changed my life and I truly believe anyone can benefit from it. I also believe it’s important to identify what you call your practice. Maybe you’re not spiritual and maybe you are. Maybe you’re not a “meditator”, but every morning you read scriptures with your Earl Grey tea, or you write in your journal. That’s a contemplative practice. No matter what you call it, it’s about the ongoing practice.
I don’t see mediation as the answer or a fix but instead a vehicle to slow down and check in with myself. In this space I know and understand myself better and can make choices that are more aligned to what serves me best. It has ultimately led me to creating a life I love.
To begin with, it can be helpful to break meditation down and view it with a fresh mind. Here’s how….
Five Meditation Techniques & Tips for Beginners
1. There is no one way
There are so many approaches, theories, and philosophies when it comes to mediation. At the start, these can seem overwhelming. If you have already tried meditation and found it difficult, it is important to know that this is completely normal and to be expected. People are complex creatures. But rather than give up before you have begun, instead explore different types of meditation as a way to get to know yourself a little better. What works for one person may not work for another. Try movement meditations such as yoga, t’ai chi, or breathing techniques (pranayama) or explore different meditations online or in class. They are all equally valid and effective.
2. Thoughts are completely normal
We live busy, complicated lives that involve attending to myriad tasks, solving problems, and looking after family members. So when you sit down to meditate, especially for the first time, do not be surprised when your mind wanders almost immediately. The art of meditation is noticing when your mind has taken a different direction and bringing it back to your focus.
3. You cannot do it wrong
See your meditation practice as time and space just for you. In the moments of quiet, you are free of life’s complications and challenges. You can let go of the roles and responsibilities with which you identify yourself. You will most likely have meditated naturally in everyday life at times but might not have realized you were doing it. Unless you are following a structured path or approach to meditation, I believe that you cannot ever do it wrong. You have to start somewhere-if that is just a few seconds of quiet, a feeling of deep relaxation, being free of distractions, or a calming of thoughts you are meditating.
4. It takes patient practice
Western science now proves what Eastern philosophies have thought for centuries-taking time each day to sit quietly to simply breathe, listen to your surroundings and your heart, and quieten your mind has enormous physiological and psychological benefits and can lead to a heightened sense of general well-being. In today’s fast-paced society taking time to be still is more important than ever. We remember to look after our bodies, other people, even our homes but often forget to look after our minds. The long-term benefits of meditation do not happen overnight, so be patient. Science and any long-term meditator will tell you the practice is worth it.
5. It is for anyone and everyone
You do not need to believe a certain thing, dress a certain way, or have a certain outlook on life to benefit from meditation. Whether you are a chief executive trying to manage the pressures of running a company or a busy parent seeking to handle family challenges (or both) meditation is for you. Similarly, it doesn’t matter if you are simply looking for a way to balance your emotions or you are a spiritual person hoping to deepen your connection to that which is greater than us…all are welcome. See meditation as yours-your mind, your meditation.
Whether that is being more mindful in everyday life, carving out a few minutes each day to simply breathe with more awareness, or more formal practice, it is for you.
*In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).