Part of my morning routine is silence. For me, this sometimes includes praying, sometimes focusing on what I’m grateful for, and sometimes meditation. Meditation is a tricky subject for some of us: preconceived notions of what meditation is exactly often leads to either not even trying or trying and giving up.
What meditation is
According to Wikipedia, “meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefitor as an end in itself.” While there are practices where meditation involves “emptying the mind,” or more accurately, “focus the mind on a single thing,” not all meditation is that way. The important thing about meditation is finding a state of calm and mindfulness. It takes practice.
What meditation is not
It’s not hard in the same way that running is not hard. If you’re out of shape, running may not seem so easy, but if you were to run a short distance every day for a week, you’d then be able run a bit longer distance the next week and/or run a bit faster. Meditation is no different. It takes consistency and practice to become easier and more effective.
Here are 3 tips that can make your journey into meditation a little easier:
1. Find a quiet spot. And a quiet time. Early in the morning is nice, before the household erupts. You can sit, stand, or lie down. Eyes opened or closed. It may take some experimenting to find what is comfortable for you.
2. Focus on your breathing. Feel your chest expand as you breathe in through your nose. Exhale through your mouth and imagine blowing away stress and worry. You can choose to exhale through your nose if you wish – whatever is comfortable for you. (Are you sensing a theme here?) Don’t worry if you mind wanders; learning to control your mind comes a bit later. Just go back to focusing on your breathing.
3. Do this every day. The first few days may only be for a minute or so. That’s okay! Consistency and practice; every day, even if only for a minute or two. It would also be okay to try meditating more than once a day. Do try to select one particular time of day as a basis, with any additional times being a bonus.
Try this for a week and you’ll see a difference in your ability to relax and calm your mind. At that point you’ll be ready to take your meditation practice up a notch.