Meditation. It is for everyone, whether you know it yet or not. This guide will help you find a place for you to begin, even if you think you can’t meditate.
A word that is so simple, yet complex in many ways. When you look up the word “Meditation” on Merriam-Webster this is the definitions you get:
- : to engage in contemplation or reflection
- : to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
Easy enough, right? In other words, meditation is a way to think a little more about a topic or to concentrate.
And then we get into more complexities as we look further into the ways to meditate. If you google “types of meditation” you will get endless lists of all the ways a person can meditate.
For example, there are three categories of mediation.
- Focused Attention – Focusing your mind on an object, sound, or your breath.
- Open Monitoring – focusing on awareness of feelings, thoughts, sensations, either internally or externally.
- Automatic Self-Transcending (also know as Transcendental Meditation) – not focusing on anything specific, rather, it is a practice of complete relaxation of mind and body. Going beyond mental activity.
Also, there are many types of meditation within those categories. There are Buddhist meditations such as zen, Vipassana, Mindfulness, Loving Kindness. There are Hindu Meditations such as Mantra, Transcendental (TM), Yoga, Self Inquiry or “I AM” Meditations. Also, Chinese Meditations, such as Taoist and Qigong. There are also Christian Meditations, Sufi Mediation Techniques, and Guided Meditations.
All of these categories and types of meditation make it very confusing and could easily deter a beginner by the overwhelming amounts of information available. But meditation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are so many great benefits to meditation and it is possible to make meditation a part of your daily routine no matter who you are, or how busy your life may be.
Meditation offers so many benefits to our lives.
- Health benefits: Increases immune function and decrease pain
- Happiness: Increases positive emotions, decreases depression, anxiety, and stress.
- To read more: Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. – 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today
Famous and highly successful people meditate, and there’s a reason for it!
For me, when I started meditation I decided to make it simple. When I became more regular in my meditation practice I looked and continue to learn more about the different types of meditation. But I recommend starting simple.
Here are 5 Easy Ways to Start Your Practice
- Do a short 5 minute guided meditation. Here are some places to start.
- Podcasts for Meditation
- Youtube Videos 5-Minute
- It’s really that simple.
- Close your eyes and set a timer for 5 minutes. Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Try breathing in for 6 counts, and then out for 6 counts.
- Try breathing deeply, and then try breathing shallow.
- See if you can see a difference in just having awareness about the simple intake of oxygen that we tend to take for granted.
- Eat with awareness
- Try taking small bites of food and allow it to sit in your mouth without chewing
- Try to recognize the different ingredients in the food your eating
- Slow Down, close your eyes and just think about the food
- Maybe seek out the different subtle textures your food may have
- Try Meditation Music or Chanting
- This is a good practice if you like music in general
- Feeling the difference in tones, beats, rhythm allows us to have something to focus on and let outside distractions disappear easier
- Feel the awareness of the music and how it makes you feel; relaxed, peaceful, angry.
- Try going to a Yoga class
- Most yoga classes have a form of meditation either at the beginning or end of a class (both if you’re lucky).
- The instructions from the teacher might be simple to understand and sometimes when meditation is guided by someone else we are able to have more results.
I think a lot of people think they can’t meditate because they can’t turn off the constant mental chatter in their minds. I get it, I really do. After you start though, you will see the subtle changes of how you feel, how your days become a little bit more smooth, and how you may handle situations differently. The more you learn about anything, the easier it gets with time.
Meditation isn’t meant to be perfect, that’s why its called a practice.
Maybe it’s been hard for you to practice meditation in the past, but nothing good comes from inconsistency. The things we are successful in life have become a success through consistent work and effort. If it doesn’t work today maybe it will work tomorrow. If it takes a year to be able to sit with yourself for 5 minutes, then you have succeeded. The effort you put into your well being will begin to transform your life for the better.
Trust me, if my husband can go from skeptic to a regular practitioner, you can do it too!