For many people, meditation is a mysterious practice that appears complex and complicated. Its powers may seem reserved for disciplined, spiritual experts who can transcend the physical world.
Becoming a great meditator can feel intimidating, but with practice, it can become easier. Like any skill, the more you practice, the more experienced you become. Looking back on my journey, I wish I had known some things before I began practicing this art. Before you start your next meditative session, try to remember these tips:
- If you can…find a time to meditate, and stick to it
Think about the best time for your meditative practice. You don’t have to be in the perfect mindset each day to meditate. There is no perfect time for every person to meditate.
However, if you want to improve your skills, you must find the time to practice each day and stick to it. To train the mind well, one must develop a routine. For some people, that’s early in the morning, before you begin your day. For others, it’s during the evening, after you’ve completed your work obligations. Repetition and consistency are essential when it comes to creating any practice. If you’re consistent, your body and mind will gradually learn that it’s time to settle into your daily routine, no matter how hectic your day becomes.
Find a meditation buddy. Accountability helps us feel committed to a skill or practice we’re learning together, even when things get tough. When we believe we’re not alone on our journey, we’re more likely to stick to our daily commitments. We can also discuss what we’re having difficulty with and get the help we need to improve.
- Be kind to yourself
It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey. This critical skill helps you focus, relax and concentrate. This can take time and patience. Your skills may not improve overnight, but they will get better if you remain calm and consistent in your practice.
Think of this particular skill as an exercise, like strengthening a muscle. Start small and build up your practice as you go. If 10 minutes is too long at first, start with five. Add a minute to your session each week until you can meditate for 30 minutes, or longer, each day.
Our minds tend to be overwhelmed and busy during the day. We may feel anxious and worried, attempting to juggle too many demands in our lives. We may not feel we measure up to the challenges and expectations of the people around us. However, this practice is about accepting yourself just as you are.
- Get Comfortable
Find a place where you can meditate each day that’s comfortable and quiet. Make sure the temperature in the room feels comfortable. Do not allow any electronics to disturb you during your meditation space. If you like, place a candle, picture or crystal in this particular area you’ve designated for meditative practice.
Wear comfortable clothing while you complete your practice. Dress in an outfit that allows you to breathe freely and easily. Take a seat in a comfortable chair or a spot on the floor in your meditation space. Make sure your body feels supported by a folded blanket, firm pillow or cushion. If you can, sit in a cross-legged position, with your knees lying slightly below your hips. Sit tall while you meditate and straighten your spine. If you’re sitting on the floor and need extra back support, place your back against the wall.
During your meditation practice, observe your thoughts, but don’t judge them. During this time, continue to sit with your eyes closed, scanning your body and noting how you feel. Consider keeping a journal nearby. Afterward, jot down a few observations about how you’re feeling after your practice. It doesn’t have to be a long journal entry. You can jot down a few words or a few sentences about how you’re feeling at that moment in time.
Although this is a skill that takes time to master, it is worth the energy. Pay attention to your body as it is now, observing running thoughts as they pass. Remember that you are enough as you are. This is the calming power that comes with learning this beneficial practice.