No matter how hard we try, meditation will never become the new black. Or will it?
Let’s be honest here, nobody really enjoys sitting down in lotus position, with their eyes closed and try to think about absolutely nothing. If you do, please hit us up with a webinar or something, because we are in need of some serious help here.
When you are forced to shut our eyes and go over all the embarrassing things we have done through the day, we relive a perfect Eat, Pray, Love moment.
Meditation is hard work. It feels like it goes forever and it’s incredibly tough trying not to reach for your phone and reply to that message that keeps popping up.
But the bad news for you is that we need meditation to survive.
The fact that we spend way too much time staring at our screen and passively getting information and human interaction just by tapping on our techno gadgets is scary, and it’s now part of our life that we have to accept, but it compromises something incredibly important.
I am not trying to be all Dalai Lama here, but without mindfulness we are not even able to walk outside the door. Think about trying to do a road trip without a charged pone with good reception. That’s right, you’d get lost right after leaving your house block, right?
Same thing applies to mindfulness.
Being unaware of your thoughts and emotions, and not being able to master them leads to feel completely lost in the darkness of this chaotic and filling lives we now lead; which drives this domino effect of searching for peace in materialistic pleasures.
And there are no apps, or fitness programs, nor food to substitute the mental awareness that you can achieve by practicing meditation on a daily basis.
So how do you start?
Well, as usual I have the right solution for you.
HOW TO START MEDITATING
Make it a priority.
The first step in meditating isn’t even closing your eyes and chant to a God for higher consciousness.
It’s to make the time for your daily meditation.
Making your mental health a priority for every single day shows that you are actually committed to the cause; and meditation is all about commitment. It’s about persistence and focus on remaining in this present moment, not in the one where you are a millionaire on a boat with Leo Di Caprio.
I know we like to think that we are busy, that we can’t possibly squeeze out ten minutes out of our frenetic mornings; but how wrong you are.
Start with five minutes. Squeeze them out of those ten minutes you spend on the toilet scrolling through your Instagram. Practice right after a workout, or when you’re queueing at the coffee shop.
You don’t actually need to sit for an hour to meditate. But if you make it a priority, you will find that you can squeeze time for your meditation everywhere you dig a hole for it.
As I have said before, you don’t need to chant a mantra for over an hour. You are not expected to be the new Teal Swan.
You wouldn’t run 20KM the first time you get back to the running bug, right?
Same thing applies to meditation. It’s a discipline, so to master it you have to be patient and start with small and easy steps.
Start with 5-10 minutes every day and when you can feel that you can achieve mental clarity within that small time, you can slowly increase it.
The thing is, meditation isn’t a race. It doesn’t require any specific training.
It only needs your intention to meditate, your breathing and your mind to be aware. Easy? Not really, but not even impossible.
You will find that your resistance to let your mind wander and get lost within your random thoughts will increase not because of your discipline, but because it actually makes you feel good. It satisfies you; and it opens doors for you that you didn’t even know they existed in the first place.
So start small and then see where your mind will take you. It might be a dark scary place, or a wonderland.
My mother loves to meditate during her morning commute to work on a overpacked tram filled with people and their chatter. I need to be alone in my room, sitting on my bed, listening to the best meditative music and maybe a scented candle lit, just so that dust doesn’t make me sneeze.
Find your own pace.
I personally recommend to be comfortable. Sit on your bed, on a cushion, or on a horse (just kidding). Find a position that it’s not going to distract you from your practice.
A fundamental part of the meditation is to scan through your body, so if you are in a lot of pain, or discomfort, scanning through it will certainly distract you from achieving that peace of mind.
All it matters is that you are in an environment that won’t disturbing you from focusing on your inside world.
Focus on your breath
This is a bit of duh advice, because it’s obvious that you need to concentrate on your breathing; but some might get confused on how to breathe during meditation.
Well there aren’t many styles of breathing, but there are definitely a lot of things that can get in between your breathing and the focus on your own breath.
Many meditative styles suggest to inhale through the nose to the count of four, then hold your breath to the count of six, and then slowly releasing to the count of 8.
Some imagine the air travelling through their bodies; others imagine it transforming into different colors (white is a good one), others just inhale and exhale with their mouths open.
It doesn’t really matter how, as long as you are aware of it.
Shifting the focus on your breathing will automatically release tensions, and alleviate that knot you feel inside your mind.
Don’t block any distraction
I know that you are trying really hard not to think about that embarassing thing you said earlier, because meditation is seriously a can of worms; it will let out all the things you don’t want to think about, so you can cringe and scream in frustration.
But distractions are good. Distractions test your focus and allow your mind to bend and multi-function.
When you feel like you are being distracted by unnecessary details that can wait, or bad thoughts, don’t resist them. Picture them like clouds going over your heads.
They are there, they are real. Let your mind think about it for a bit and then slowly shift your focus back to your breathing, where it should be. Let the clouds be dragged away by the wind.
I learned this little trick using the free app Headspace, which teaches you how to meditate every day for 10 minutes. It’s free for the first 10 days, so download it, if you need a good introduction to meditation.
And to finish, be grateful!
I always end my daily meditation with an exercise of gratitude. I picture the things and the people that make me happy; I visualise them so intensively that I can almost feel them, and then I just thank them. I thank them for being in my life and teaching me something.
It doesn’t have to be just things that make you happy; in fact, you learn more from being grateful to the things that you don’t like, because you understand they are there to teach you a lesson.
So be grateful and patient with your mind, because it needs as much nurturing and love as your body.