Beginners Guide to Meditation
Almost every day I hear the words ‘Yeah, I really should meditate but….’ which is then usually connected to one of the following ‘I just don’t have the time’, ‘I just can’t get my mind to switch-off’ or ‘I don’t know where to start’.
This tells me that most of us know why we want to meditate (increase confidence, become a calmer person etc), it’s just that we don’t know where and how to begin. That’s why I’ve decided to put together this simple step-by-step guide which I hope breaks down some of the misconceptions surrounding it and how to make it more accessible, relatable and easy to start.
And trust me, it’s easier than you think :)
1. LET GO OF THE REASON WHY YOU CAME HERE
When I started out meditating I treated it like any other new project or skill. I set out determined to learn and master it, with the aim of it ‘curing’ certain problems I was experiencing and improving other areas I wanted improvement in.
What I soon found out though was that this approach was, in fact, holding meditation back from doing it’s magic. You see, any ‘want’ or ‘desire’ is attached to the ‘self’ e.g. ‘I want meditation to help me relax.’ and meditation works best when we surrender the self (our wants) and simply accept the moment (the everything in and around us).
So my first piece of advice/step for those starting out or wanting to try meditation is to simply let go of the reasons why you want to meditate and just enjoy the process. Go into it expecting nothing and I’m confident you’ll come out of it with more than you can imagine.
2. FINDING A QUIET PLACE WILL HELP. BUT IS NOT ESSENTIAL.
You can find calmness and connection in any environment. There is beauty in everything that is happening in the present moment. Yes, there’s even peace focusing on the different sounds and happenings of a construction site.
However, when starting out, I would recommend trying to find a quiet as possible place to meditate. Investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones can help too.
If you have time, there’s nothing better than a quiet spot nature. But if you can’t find such a place, grab those headphones, head to Spotify and search for some meditative music that you like.
3. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SIT LIKE A TIED UP PRETZEL
I’m assuming you’ve seen those istock pics of people sitting crosslegged on top of a mountain and thought that’s how you meditate right? Don’t worry. I thought that too when starting out.
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to your meditation position is to just simply be comfortable. You could be lying down or just sitting in a chair. You don’t have to be completely still too. You can stretch and adjust your position to be more comfortable whilst meditating. Particularly when first learning to meditate, just relax, get comfy and enjoy the ride.
4. YOU’RE ALMOST READY. ONE FINAL TIP. YOUR MIND IS GOING TO WANDER AND THAT’S A GOOD THING.
One of the most common reasons why I hear people not sticking with meditation is that they feel like they are doing in wrong. In other words, when they can’t keep their focus on whatever the meditative practice is directing them to focus on e.g. a mantra, their breath etc, they get frustrated and then that thought begins to snowball into a greater sense of frustration and even annoyance.
Here’s the thing though, that point where you actually catch yourself wandering off is an essential part of meditation. It’s like your mind doing a bicep curl. It’s you becoming more self aware and is something to be celebrated, not criticised. So when this happens, and it will, just smile, congratulate yourself and gently direct your focus back to what ever the meditation practice is asking of you (your breath, mantra etc). Meditation is the act of doing this over and over again with each ‘catch’ strengthening your mind and opening your spirit a little more and more.
5. I’M READY! WHAT TYPE OF MEDITATION SHOULD I NOW TRY?
When it comes to choosing what type of meditation to practice I like to refer to it like choosing a type of exercise. There’s so many different variations yet they all lead to the same place, a happier, healthier you. It’s just finding a style that suits you the best. Some of us prefer going to a F45 class where others prefer going to the gym by themselves. Meditation is no different. Try out different types and find a style that you firstly enjoy and secondly, connect with.
The type of meditation we guide people through at Soul Alive is a blend of different types to try and reach as many different types of people as possible.
If you’d like, I can send you one of Soul Alive’s guided meditations. It goes for about 15mins and is really easy.
Just request your copy below and you’ll have access to it straight away.