Taking time out every day to be still and shut the mind up for a few moments is something that fills people with a mixture of emotions and one of the most common “reasons” we get to hear up at the Retreat is “I just don’t know how to meditate.”
Whether we realize it or not, most people “meditate” every single day – they just are not aware that they are doing it.
Think about this – how many times have you opened a bag of crisps and, before you know it and without realizing it, the bag is finished? Or how many times have you sat at your desk and stared off into space, daydreaming about something else only to be interrupted by someone and brought back into the office? And maybe you’ve been on the tube or bus, so engrossed in your book or music player and missed your stop?
It might sound
strange (and not quite what everyone else says) but in those moments, you have been “meditating” – or switching off your mind and not taking notice of much.
In our opinion, we don’t have to sit down, be still and cross your legs to meditate although the discipline and commitment does make a significant difference.
Meditation is a purely personal thing and there are many ways to do it. The most important thing is to START.
Start with the basics. Create a new habit and commitment. And then move on to doing other things. After all, we don’t run before we walk and the important thing with meditation is to keep doing it, regardless of how you feel but we will get more into that another time.
So, here are 10 Simple Steps you can start doing today ! Why not give them a go ?
- Make time and space – find a regular time each day that you can spend in a quiet space, free from interruptions.
- Start small – set a time, start with 2 minutes for a few days. Then move on to 3 and so on – the more you do it, the “faster” the time goes by and you will naturally find yourself wanting to do a little bit more.
- Get comfortable – sit on the floor with your back supported or in a chair with your feet comfortably on the ground. Try not to lie down when you start.
- Be aware of your posture – sit up straight in a position that you can relax in – sitting up straight makes it easier to breath and oxygen will help you naturally feel calmer and more relaxed.
- Breathe deeply – but not too deeply as that can make you feel dizzy. Breathing keeps you focused.
- Focus on something – choose a body part and whilst breathing, focus on just that one body part. It is always easiest to start with your diaphragm because you will be breathing different than normal.
- Stay focused on your breathing – if you attention wanders, just allow yourself to come back to your breath.
- Be prepared for thoughts – keep a pen and paper near by. Every time you have a train of thought that interrupts you, stop, write it down, and return to your breathing.
- Be nice to yourself – this may be something completely new. Give yourself permission to find it different at first and don’t be upset if you don’t get it “right” straight away or if you fidget or find yourself distracted. Remember, it is a new practice and we need to walk before we run.
- Dismount gracefully – when your timer goes off, don’t open your eyes and get up straight away. Spend a few moments being thankful for the time you committed to and acknowledge your body.
The trick here is to KEEP AT IT, one day at a time. Some days will challenge you and others will find you wanting more but keep at it and the benefits will slowly start creeping in.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.