How to start - Step in to Meditation
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
I find that when I talk about meditation with people, they usually accept that regular practice brings many benefits, that meditation is something that could perhaps positively affect their lives and they are interested in it. But somehow, they do not decide to practise. I believe that often the reason is that they do not know how…
I will try to describe the steps that I find are important and perhaps they might be helpful for someone that is considering practising meditation. I would like to highlight that it is important to note that meditation is a very personal practise, something that works for one person might not work for another and as there isn’t an instruction that will suit everyone, I will walk you through the steps that helped me to start.
BEFORE YOU START:
Think of a place that will be suitable, you do not need much but it is important that it is a comfortable space. Consider your position, you can sit on the chair, or on the ground, on the mat with your legs crossed (at the start in this position your legs my feel numb after few minutes, but this will ease with time). I would not recommend lying down, as much as meditation for some could be the way to relax, still you do not want to lose focus while falling asleep.
Think of reasons why you would like to start the practise, what is in your life that needs adjustment, what are you looking for. This will help you to choose the type of meditation that will be most suitable, ie if you want to relax and calm down use the mindfulness method, if you are looking for spiritual growth – use mantra meditation (which is my favourite one), if you decide to change your way of thinking use the breathing method etc I can ensure you that the benefits of regular practice of any methods will exceed your expectations.
Think about the best time for your practice, I recommend morning, even in the case of a very busy life, if you commit, you will find at least a few minutes in the morning, just set your alarm a bit earlier. Some people will find easier to organise their time in the evenings, this is ok too, the most important thing is that you pick a time and stick with it. Later when you get used to meditating you will dedicate any spare minute to it.
Commit to the practise, do not give up after a few days, if you know that at the beginning you will only be able to give yourself time 2 – 3 times a week, that’s ok too, but again – stay with it, you will find more about commitment here: https://www.themeditationbay.com/post/copy-of-the-first-steps
Sit down, if you chose to sit on a chair, sit straight, keep your feet firm on the ground, if you decided to sit on a mat / bed / ground cross your legs (lotus position), keep your back straight but comfortable. Drop your shoulders. Put your hands on top of your legs, with the palms of your hands facing upwards. Keep your head straight.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, release. Breathe through your nose (some yogis would say that the mouth is for talking, nose for breathing 😊), count to 6 when inhaling hold for 6 seconds and release counting to 6 again. If 6 seconds is too long lower the time to a duration that is comfortable for you. Stay focused on breathing for about 5 minutes.
Starting from the top of the head, moving down, scan your body, feel your head, your face, move down to your shoulders, arms, keep scanning your body noticing the points of tension, points of comfort, pay attention to the natural rhythm of your breath. Feel your tummy raising and coming back down as you inhale and exhale. Feel your legs on the ground.
Let your mind wander, many people think that the point of meditation is to stop thinking, but this isn’t correct, meditation is a practice of witnessing your thoughts, notice your thoughts but do not engage with them, let them be, picture your thoughts as clouds and let yourself pass these clouds as your aim is a clear blue sky above.
Every time your mind starts engaging with certain thoughts, as soon as you realise it, bring it back to its witness role, you want to be observing not engaging. Accept the fact that there is so much going on in your mind, with time you will be able to notice more clarity between the thoughts. Hold onto this space for as long as you can.
Closer to the end of your practice let your mind to do whatever it wants for few seconds, you might notice that it gets quieter. Noticing the sounds around you, bring your attention back to your body, take a deep breath in, exhale, gently open your eyes. Sit with it for few minutes, be grateful for this time you got for yourself, come back tomorrow…
There are many techniques and ways of meditation and it is impossible to describe all of it in one short note, but if you are keen to stay on this path please follow my posts, I will share more with time and I hope you will enjoy it…