Mindworks 101: Learn How to Start Meditating
When considering how to start meditating, you may feel a bit—or a lot—overwhelmed, thinking it’s a complicated process.
That couldn’t be further from reality. Particularly when first beginning to develop a practice, the more simple the approach the better. The old KISS adage holds true—Keep It Simple (for) Serenity. Here are five simple steps for meditation for beginners:
We all have preconceived notions of new activities we are interested in or are willing to try; we wouldn’t investigate them otherwise.
Often those beginning to explore meditation have the idea that they will have an experience which will take them to a better, relaxed, more peaceful spot. While that may be true, don’t expect to float away on a bed of clouds. These warm and fuzzy feelings will indeed present themselves much of the time, but don’t expect it. Really…just don’t. You’re likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Meditation is being alone with your breath; a clear mind is simply a result.
Find a quiet and comfortable place
It’s wonderful if you have a permanent spot you can dedicate to your mediation practice. However, as this isn’t always practical, any quiet place will do.
Being comfortable may be the most important aspect. Don’t feel you have to sit on a cushion cross-legged in perfect posture. A chair will do. Sit with both feet flat on the floor and hands on tops of legs or slightly above the knees. Relax your shoulders and whole body, but do keep your back straight.
When many people begin to learn to meditate, they get overwhelmed with the thought of sitting still quietly for any real length of time.
Then, once they actually start sitting they have worked it up in their mind so much, the timed meditation can sometimes seem eternal. So, here’s the tip: Ease into it. Start small. Like Lao Tzu said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The first few times you meditate, try it for only 2 minutes. Then move the timer to 5 minutes for a week or so. Soon you’ll be up to 10 minutes and then a half hour before you know it.
If you ask most meditation practitioners, they will likely tell you the best of all the meditation techniques for beginners is consistency.
Make it a habit. A simple technique is to meditate first thing in the morning every day. You’ll ease into your day with a clearer, calmer mind. Even if some mornings you only have the space for a 2-minute session, do it. Honestly, once it becomes a habit the mind settles more quickly and can sustain longer sessions. Rise and shine—and BREATHE.
Return to your breath
Your mind is going to wander with thoughts—this is simple human nature. Recognizing this is happening and then bringing your mind back to the breathe is the key.
Thinking is simply the movement of mind. There’s no need to struggle with your thoughts—just let them come and let them go. Don’t judge your meditation by how much you’re thinking or how often you come back to the breath. Gradually, you’ll discover that you can accommodate whatever arises in your mind.
So, now when someone asks you “how do you meditate?”, you can tell them there’s nothing to it. Just find a consistent time and a comfortable spot. Then, just breathe!