So…First things first. Why meditate? What is the goal?
Meditation is a practice that is scientifically proven to benefit the mind, body and soul. By allowing yourself to explore your inner consciousness, you open the door to creativity, healing and transformation. As you go through this life you become aware that lasting happiness and inner peace does not come from the outside world. That Lexus convertible or that new job may bring momentary happiness but the level of happiness over that event or acquisition diminishes over time. Meditation allow us to access and explore our own personal essential nature, restoring the memory of wholeness in our lives.
The practice of meditation is the progressive settling down of the mind into a field of pure silence that is normally drowned out by the activity of the mind. It is through meditation that we can access the silent spaces between thoughts or “the gap”. This is the sweet spot of unbounded awareness. It is in unbounded awareness that we access what we truly want and need.
This can be a challenging concept for the beginning meditator. Don’t worry, the cool thing is you do not have to know how it works to reap the benefits. The benefits are both cumulative and immediate.
To begin meditating today download the Grateful OM life free Quick Start Guide for Beginning Meditators.
Below are some tips and techniques to help you build your meditation practice.
Meditation Technique #1 What is your why?
The benefits of meditation are numerous. Whether you choose to start a meditation practice to reduce anxiety and stress, for improved sleep, to lower blood pressure, to lower cholesterol or for the many other benefits of meditation; know your why. This will help you to stick to your practice and you will be further motivated to continue your practice when you begin to see the results.
Meditation Technique #2 Be easy on yourself!
Do not think there is something wrong with you if you do not on the first try reach a state of bliss in your meditation that is somewhat akin to an out of body experience. It does not happen that way. Small bites remember? You may decide you want to begin your practice with 5 minutes day for a week. Find a quiet place, get yourself in a comfortable position, set your timer for 5 minutes, close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Then it happens, you start thinking about your to do list, or what you want to tell your friend about an article you saw regarding a topic of a conversation you had. Do not despair. This is so normal. So is falling asleep and not connecting with your meditation. Do not become discouraged. Just let the thoughts come as they may without judgement and return to your focused breath or mantra. It is what it is. If you cannot let go of a thought while you are meditation, just write it down and return to your meditation.
Meditation Technique #3 Make Meditation Routine
Although meditation is available to you anytime and anywhere, start by making it part of your routine. Just like brushing your teeth changing underwear is a daily happening so should be your meditation practice. Whether morning or night it is much easier to establish a meditation practice as part of a routine. My morning routine starts from the moment I wake up. I wake up, go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water, take my blood sugar, brush my teeth, floss, scrape my tongue, perform self-massage (abhyanga), shower, meditate, eat breakfast and hit the gym. Make meditation a part of a routine that works for you.
Meditation Technique #4 If you have an itch, scratch it!
Your body does not go away when you meditate. Your body is not going to stop doing what it does when you meditate. You are going to get an itch; your foot is going to fall asleep or whatever. When I started studying meditation I sat for 30 minutes with my legs in pain determined to hold my pose at all costs. Of course, I could not ignore the pain and was unable to focus on my meditation. I later learned when this occurs change your position and get back to the meditation. Sometimes when little body twitches occur you can place your energy to the offending spot to eliminate the problem.
Meditation Technique #5 Try to eliminate interruptions!
Be sure to let your loved ones and other housemates know you are meditating. Consider creating a sign or a scarf on the door to the room or some other sign to let your loved ones know you need privacy. Unless your pet is meditating with you, make sure they or you, are in a place where you will not be interrupted. Find a quiet place where you will not have the distraction of that washer and dryer and ice makers noises. That said I never let noise or interruptions prevent me from meditation. I sometimes do chanting meditations in the car. I have even meditated while resting in the Chiropractors office. There is benefit in every second in the gap.
Meditation Technique #6 Start small and build up your time.
Chances are you are not going to be able to begin your mediation practice with 30 minutes twice a day as recommended by the Chopra Center. You will more than likely become frustrated and give up on the practice and missing out on all the benefits of meditation. What? Not an option. I would recommend that you start small, say 5 minutes, and add minutes over time until you meet the 30-minute goal. The Grateful OM life free Quick Start Guide for Beginning Meditators will provide a roadmap for you to start your meditation. One bite at a time!
Meditation Technique #7 Just try it!
There are diverse ways to experience meditation. From focus on the breath, guided meditation, mantra meditation, walking and laughing meditation and many more. Try many or all that appeal to you. Variety is the spice of life. I am sure you have heard that before. We are all different with different likes and dislikes. Some meditations will appeal to you and others will not. Seek to choose a meditation that feels the most nourishing and afford you the greatest time “in the gap”.
The most important thing is that you just do it. Take that first bite. Take that first step, and then another and another. I will see you in the gap!
Founder of Grateful OM Life
Deborah Edwards is a Premier Member of & Expert Contributor to The Mind Body Spirit Network. She is a Chopra Center Certified Perfect Health Instructor, meditation Specialist and Ayurvedic Lifestyle and Wellness Coach.