There are many reasons why people start meditating (I’ve shared my reason in this post here) and I applaud those who feel ready and are looking for resources. There are so many benefits to meditating (shared some benefits I personally saw after 30 days here!) and I wanted to share what I used to start meditating myself, along with tips in this
Remember, everyone is different, but below I’ll share my experience and tips to help you get set up for your own journey (I’m so excited for you!). As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them down in the comments below :).
Okay, here we go!
Know That There Are Different Types of Meditation
Before embarking on my journey, I looked up a list of different types of meditations and then matched myself to the ones I felt were closer to my personality. I naturally gravitated to mindful meditation (suspending any judgement and focusing on the present moment), guided meditation (where a nararator guided you through ideas) and silent meditation (though, I did select bird or rain sounds to meditate to, too!). It’s a time of exploring, so try the ones that you think would work best for you and go from there! Remember: this isn’t a one-shot thing; you can always pivot to a different flow :).
Use An App To Help You Meditate + Track!
I was a fan of Headspace for a while, but there was something about not always wanting to be guided in a meditation. Having the freedom of various options drove me to the InsightTimer app.
And I guess I’m not alone as I recently learned that there are 15 million people meditating on the app! InsightTimer has a lot of options in terms of what kind of meditation you’d like to do and how long you’d like to go for. Additionally, there is a world map that shows others who are meditating alongside with you at the same time. It’s nice to feel like you’re part of a community! A simple “thanks for meditating with me” button allows you to connect with others nearby and afar, acknowledging that you are all taking part in this beautiful practice together.
Not only that, but all of your sessions are recorded and you can see your meditation averages and what kinds you have been leaning more towards:
I highly encourage you to play around with the different options and see what your sessions feel like. Perhaps you’d like a guided meditation one day and just the sounds of birds chirping the next; you can totally play and pivot!
Create an Open, Inviting Environment
While you don’t need much space to meditate, I found that my sessions were the best when I was in a clutter-free area. Locate a space that makes you feel happy (mine was always by a window) and make sure that there is nothing obstructing your energy (chairs, clutter, etc). I know it may sound weird, but I mediated right next to a chair one day and I found that my session wasn’t as good as when I pushed that chair at least two feet away from me.
Additionally, bring in things that make you happy. I always kept my journal near me for after my meditation session, but have brought in plants to bring life to my space and even a crystal/gemstone (I loved having my amethyst next to me for extra soothing benefits).
note: if you’re able to safely access an outdoor space in nature that is calm, that also works very well.
Have fun with props and try a different position each day until you start to really enjoy sitting still. Trust me, I’ve tried it all: on my bed, on a chair, on the floor with a blanket, etc. What I personally came to love was when I used a pillow or ‘cushion’ of sorts.
I started with sitting on a couch cushion (on the floor), but found that my Euro bed pillows were even better; it created this safe ‘box’ :). Ultimately, though, I absolutely loved when my husband shared with me his meditation cushion. It was perfect! Test out a few different things for yourself and see where you land! :).
Don’t Expect Anything! Just be.
Meditating is all about simply being. And being in the present at that. You shouldn’t be thinking “is it working? is it happening? am I going to be enlightened soon?” Chuck all of that out the window and focus on what you are doing right then and there. Simply being. The more you focus on the outcome the less the work that needs to happen will happen.
It can feel pretty weird the first few times of just sitting somewhere and being alone with your thoughts. Your mind is totally going to use the opportunity to bring things “back of mind” to the front. This is part of meditating! Giving your mind a place to just be is what this is all about. It can start to feel overwhelming at times, but know that your mind is loving the opportunity to process without stimulation. This is a really good thing.
As your thoughts come, acknowledge them and just gently bring your focus back to your breath. It takes a few minutes, but you’ll soon see that those thoughts will start to slow down and then gently enter and peacefully leave. Soon enough, you’ll be left with just peace and your breath.
It’s really hard to explain, you definitely have to experience this for yourself, but it’s a beautiful thing. The more you do it the more you will be able to control your mind (among other benefits). The biggest thing to remember, though, is that this is a practice. Just like working out your muscles at the gym, this is a different (and super important) muscle that you will be working out.
It takes me around 10 minutes to get to this sweet spot of peace, but it fluctuates with the day. Hey, you may be able to do it in just 5. But like my rule above: don’t expect anything. Just go into it and trust your self :).
Build It Into Your Routine
As with anything in life, you get better at things the more you practice them. Meditating is no different, which is why it’s important to make time for it. The easiest way is by building it into your routine. Could it be for just a few minutes after you brush your teeth in the morning? During lunch time? Right before bed? When we aren’t sleeping for the average 8 hours, we have another 16 hours to try to find it a home. By building it into a routine, you’ll stay consistent with it and it’ll happen automatically. No stress :).
I know I shared a lot here, but (oxymoronically) there really isn’t much to it! Try it out and see for yourself. Start with just 2 minutes a day and work your way up from there! Use the Insight Timer app for your iPhone or Android and, if you can, journal right after you meditate. It isn’t going to be the easiest thing, but it’ll definitely be one of the worthiest things! Promise!!
ps: let me know how it goes in the comments below!
this is a community for us to support each other, after all :).