If you read my first post Mind Body & Soul, you will know already how strongly I feel about meditation. It changed my life in a big way and I am forever grateful for the experiences in my life that lead me to want to research and learn more about the practice.
Now originally I started meditating to try and relax and wind down, anybody who knows me will know I am always bouncing off the walls. I have so much energy I’ve always found it hard to sit down and relax, or to switch off at night to try and fall asleep, I just love being on the go. But it’s mentally and physically draining to be this way 24/7, its important to take time out of the madness to relax and be still. So I decided to try and meditate, I had read so much and heard so much about it & the thought of being able to clear my mind and get into a peaceful state was very appealing to me.
Even though this was my own reason for meditating, there are so many other physical and psychological reasons you should start. I’m going to write a post in the future about the benefits and facts of meditation, but this post is for you who have already decided you want to meditate, but you just don’t know how or have found it too difficult.
I tried so many different ways at first and gave up more than a few times. All I can say is don’t be disheartened, this is completely normal. People have this pre conceived idea that to meditate you have to be sitting on the floor legs crossed in the lotus position, eyes closed, chanting OM and to have your mind clear of any thoughts. This is so far from the truth. Although eventually one of the goals is to be able to clear your mind completely & not to be distracted, that takes a lot of time and practice & there are a lot of different ways you can start to meditate in your day to day life which can help you improve and build up to the harder more disciplined forms of meditation.
The first step is Mindfulness
The perfect place to start. The practice of mindfulness is to bring our attention to the present moment whatever that may be. To be fully present in your own body and pay attention to every single detail of your experience as it is happening right now. You don’t have to take the time out of your day to do this, you can incorporate it into your daily tasks. Start small, maybe while you are walking to work in the morning, or you are washing the dishes, cooking a meal, or you’re lying in bed.
The purpose of mindfulness is to be consciously aware of what you are doing, while you are doing it. So to explain I’ll use my own example of walking in to work.
- Instead of having your earphones in and listening to music, start by taking a few deep breaths as your walking along. Just focus on your breathing for a minute and continue to take slow and deep breaths, focus on the long breath in and the slow exhale. Enjoy it. Although you breathe in and out constantly all day every day, this is automatic, you are never really aware of it. Become mindful of your breathing and form a connection.
- Next bring your attention to your own body, be aware that you are here and you are inside your body. How does it feel right now? Are you cold? Is the wind making your face and hands bitter? Is your body clammy inside your jacket? Or is the heat from the sun nice and warming on your face? Are your feet comfortable in your new shoes? You get the idea.
- Now bring your attention to your surroundings. What can you hear? The rain pelting on your umbrella, a dog barking, footsteps, car horns, your own breath. Now what can you see?..
That’s it, there’s no effort to it, no hard work, no taking time out of your day. And for that few minutes you will notice, your thoughts weren’t racing, you weren’t worrying about your bills or that bad news you received, or about work today. You were just fully present in the moment. For me this is one of the most important steps I’ve ever taken, as the more you practice becoming mindful the more you will realise that the present moment is all there ever is. The past and the future do not exist they are only thoughts in your head, the past is just a memory & the future is just an imagination. The only thing that exists is the current moment, be always present.
While your taking the first step and practising your mindfulness, I’m writing my next post. About how to use your mindfulness to start meditating.