When we hear the word Meditation, we tend to envision some enlightened guru perched atop a mountain, seated in full lotus pose, both hands in Mudras resting on his robed thighs, mind clear as a summer’s day.
The idea of meditating can seem intimidating for many of us. Understandable when the word meditation is generally associated with having a tabula rasa empty mind for hours on end.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is much more than simply having an empty mind. It is a practice in which the individual focuses their energy, mind, and spirit in order to become intensely present in the Now. It sounds more daunting than it actually is!
Meditation begins with taking a comfortable seated or laying down position and is a period of time devoted solely to you, yourself, and you.
This is the perfect time for you to get to know yourself and create the loving, attentive relationship with yourself you always wanted!
In the same way that “sports” encompasses more than just football or speed skating,” meditation” is a term for an entire class of activities.
Some lesser known forms of mediation include focusing on a single sensation such as breath or a single intention such as gratitude, mindfulness meditation in which we observe our thoughts and where they may drift, and moving meditation practices like tai chi and walking meditation.
Why Bother Meditating?
Many of us may want the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits that come with meditation but are not sure where to start.
One of the key ways to get the most out of this wonderful tool is to do it every day.
Some may be asking themselves, why is it necessary to practice every day? Think of how often we are caring for our physical bodies – showering, brushing your teeth, exercise, eating a whole foods plant-based diet, or dropping a good solid deuce. These are all essential in keeping your body and physical health in tip top condition and I think it’s safe to say, most of us would agree that these should happen on a fairly regular basis.
Why should we treat our minds with any less care and reverence?
Meditation serves the purpose of giving the same due diligence to our minds and mental health – clearing all the shit that’s built up in our minds for optimal brain function.
How To Make Meditation Part Of Your Daily Routine
1. Get Comfortable
Find a space for your daily meditation practice.
The key here is to incorporate meditation as a daily ritual in order to maximize the rewards.
Pick a place you feel safe and comfortable, perhaps your bedroom, a nearby garden, a neighborhood park, your favorite hiking trail, a familiar spot under a peaceful tree. Commit to officially dubbing this your meditation zone!
It is not necessary to always meditate in the same spot for those who are more familiar with their meditation practice. For those just starting to create their ritual, having a set time and place can help until it becomes a regular part of our day-to-day routine.
Schedule a set time that you can practice daily.
Perhaps after you get home from work to check in with where you’re at, or just before bedtime to help you unwind and unplug.
Having the same scheduled time for your daily meditation helps make it a natural part of your everyday routine.
For us more forgetful folk, set an alarm on your phone as a friendly reminder.
3. Start Small
Start with just a few minutes daily and set a timer for your practice.
Many of us (shoutout to all the overachievers out there) may have unrealistic expectations that we’re going to magically add meditation to our lives and instantly be able to transcend time and space for hours at a time with the sage-like wisdom of experienced Tibetan monks.
This can be an unreasonable expectation to place over your practice. It is helpful to approach the practice like you would nurture a tiny, growing plant.
Start with the promise of committing to 3 minutes of your energy and time to meditation a day. Even the busiest of us (and those of us with goldfish-like attention spans) have 3 minutes to spare in our day.
As we grow comfortable with our practice, we can incrementally increase the amount of time spent every week or month, it’s up to you!
The act of setting a timer can help maintain focus on the meditation instead of constantly needing to check the clock.
4. Don’t Judge
Simply observe your thoughts.
Your thoughts will likely wander at first, and it will be challenging to detach from them immediately. The key here is to simply acknowledge the presence of thoughts without allowing a specific thought train to take over.
Imagine them coming and going like waves on the ocean, clouds passing by the sun, or whatever analogy works for you.
Your mind is bound to wander a bit! Give yourself a break and simply bring your attention back to the present moment.
Focus on your breath to return to the now.
Observe the physical sensations that occur with every inhale and exhale – the air moving through your nostrils/mouth, the expansion and contraction of your ribcage.
Concentrating on your breath can be a powerful tool to bring you back into the present moment when you feel your thoughts start to drift – this tool can be applied to any other area of your life as well!
Happy Meditating, Friends!
Got meditation tips that work for you? Leave them in the comments section below to help out a fellow reader!