With the new year just beginning a lot of us have made a commitment to take up a meditation practice. That’ s a great start. Your intention is essential in the process. But where and how do you start? Do you need to spend your money on lavish courses that offer salvation and enlightenment through self-proclaimed gurus and with ever so popular life coaches? With the next couple of techniques you can start your meditation practice right now. Just as the name says it- is a practice, the more you do it the better it will feel and the better you will feel. Of course, at times you will hit roadblocks, but remember just like everything else that shall pass. I have been meditating for over a decade and a couple of months ago I couldn’t sit still no matter how much I tried and instead of forcing myself to achieve stillness, I just went for a long walk. The next day I was back on my meditation cushion focused, collected and content. Here are the ways you can too get there:
1.Watching your breath.
Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. Take a comfortable seated position. Sit with your back straight and neck long, with your chin gently tucked in. You want to avoid rounding the back as that can cause mental sluggishness and you might fall asleep during meditation. You can choose lotus position or simply sit at the edge of your chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground and with your back erect. Gently close your eyelids without straining and squinting, then with your attention slowly start to follow the inhalation and exhalation. Basically, you are watching your breath with your mind’s eye. You will notice that at first the mind will get really loud. In fact, your mind has always been like that but you are finally paying attention. Once you caught yourself in the ‘monkey mind mode’ you will gently bring your attention back to the breathing cycle. Inhale. Exhale. It’s that simple. Start with 3 minutes a day, then gradually work your way up to 15-20 minutes.
2. Repeating Affirmations.
A lot of us are inherently stuck in negative self-talk and thinking patterns. For those of us the repetition of a ‘mantra’ –a statement repeated frequently - could be a great way to start to create new grooves and thought patterns in the brain. You want to pick a positively charged affirmation. A few examples:
I am at peace.
I am love.
I am playful.
I am light.
I am all possibilities.
You can repeat any of these affirmations over and over again aloud or silently in the mind. As for me, I love the internal repetition. Remember, at first you want to keep it simple. After some time, you can work with more complex affirmations. An example for that would be a meditation to help bring prosperity “I have a wonderful job in a wonderful way, I do wonderful service for a wonderful pay”. Just like with the breathing meditation, start with 3 minutes and gradually work up to 15-20 minutes.
It would suggested you pick a quiet place where you could practice every day and ideally you would want your phone off as this time is set aside to honor yourself. Your ‘quiet time’ is sacred. Good luck on your journey.