Have you ever wondered how to meditate? You may have been curious about meditation in some ways. You may think that you have to be some type of zen master to meditate or at least have loads of patience. You might assume that you cannot meditate if you are Christian. You may even find the entire process rather weird and confusing.
The good news is that anyone can meditate. You do not need any special skill. Whatever your religion, age, gender, personality, and patience level, you will benefit from meditation. All this simple practice teaches you is to learn how to calm and clear your mind, whether it is for 10 minutes or 30 minutes. To learn how to meditate, all you need is a quiet spot (your bed, your garden, your couch or anywhere else you feel comfortable) and a bit of a plan.
How to Meditate: A No-Fuss Guide
I first learned how to meditate about five or so years ago, when I was living out in the countryside. Back then, I was not really meditating in the conventional sense. Every night at bedtime, I would put on soothing music, light a candle or some fairy lights, get comfortable on my bed, close my eyes, and allow my mind to roam freely. This ritual did wonders on so many levels, helping me sleep better and making me feel calmer and happier.
When I moved back to the city a few years later, I wanted to try and expand this practice. I discovered a fantastic meditation app that was a real game changer and I began to get a morning meditation practice going. I had no special skills – if anything, my monkey mind struggled to calm itself at first. It took a bit of patience but it soon got easier. To help you find your own practice, here are some of the things that helped me learn how to meditate.
Simple Tips to Help You Learn How to Meditate
Some things that helped me on my path to meditation included the following:
Insight Timer. Before I discovered this app, I used to use YouTube, which helped to a point. Insight Timer is free and super easy to use. There are many, many meditations of various lengths, from mindfulness all the way to loving kindness, chakra cleansing, music, mantras, prayer, yoga, and just about anything else you could ever need. Guided meditation makes the process a lot easier; especially if you struggle to sit in complete silence.
Routine. Initially, I found that my bedtime self care ritual of quiet music, relaxation, and soft lighting worked really well. I sometimes still do this routine or bedtime yoga. These days, I find that morning meditation seems to work best for me, however. It gives me focus and helps set the tone for the rest of the day. I like to get up very early (usually around 05h30), catch up on Facebook, finish my tea, and then do my meditation before setting my intention for the day. Routine makes it easier to get into the habit. Insight Timer is also great for this as it tracks your sessions.
Comfort. You don’t need to sit in the lotus position or do any mudras (if you want to, of course, that’s also cool). I usually sit cross-legged in bed, with my back supported and my hands relaxed and in my lap. Sometimes I have a cat or two on my lap, so I don’t even bother sitting up. Instead, I make sure my back and neck are supported and simply close my eyes.
Patience. This is a hard one, I know. I won’t lie… it takes a teeny bit of patience at first. The thing is, many people think that they have to have a totally empty mind, which is not true at all. Meditation is not about being able to clear your mind completely. It is about learning how to let your thoughts come and go without trying to stop them or focus on them too much. It is about bringing your focus and breathing back again and again and teaching your mind to find its calm. It is not an instant thing but it gets easier, I promise.
Breathing. Many guided meditations start with a breathing session. When you first sit down to meditate, you can get your brain and body into a more relaxed state by breathing deeply and consciously. Even a few deep breaths, holding at the top before you exhale, will help get you into a more relaxed mood.
Meditation is a work in progress. There are days where I skip my meditation or I rush through it or I get distracted. That is ok. You are doing this for YOU and being hard on yourself defeats the purpose completely. Let go of those days and try again tomorrow. Start with a short meditation and work your way up as you feel more comfortable. I aim for 10 minutes every day and that seems to work for me. You may find that a longer or shorter practice works for you. Experiment. Let your mind roam. The best advice I can give anyone learning how to meditate is to just START.