Just like any skill, meditation can be learned through practice. At first when people decide they would like to start meditating, they might find it difficult or boring and when success is not attained, the practice drops away. Like learning any skill, it is good to start small and then build upon your skill level. Here are some steps to help you get started if you are just beginning to decide that you would like to start meditating regularly.
1. Journal: Some find it helpful to use a meditation journal. If you would like to use a meditation journal it may be important for you to write down your goals for meditation in your journal to start out with.
2. Goals: Set a small goal that seems manageable to attain, such as, “I would like to meditate for at least 10 minutes every day for one week.” If you have never practiced meditation, you might be amazed to find that just ten minutes per day of intentional meditation time can really improve your well-being.
3. Space: Technically you can meditate anywhere- at the office, in the train station, at the park, or a quiet room at home. It is often nice to make an intentional space for your meditation practice. Find somewhere in your home that is quiet and free of distractions, a special place just for you. You might want to put some nice decor in your special space- perhaps some special stones, photos, incense, tapestries, figurines – any special sacred objects you would like to surround yourself with while you meditate.
4. Time: Set yourself some intentional time for your meditation. It is recommended that you meditate during a time when you feel most alive and awake, perhaps early morning. It is not recommended that you meditate at times when you may be tired, exhausted, or at times just after eating a meal because it is during these times that you are most likely to fall asleep instead of getting in some useful meditation. Set yourself a consistent time each day and make a point of practicing your meditation at this time. It could be something as simple as, “I am going to meditate from 8am to 8:15am every morning.” write this goal in your journal if you choose to keep one. It might be ideal for you to set a timer so you don’t get so involved in your meditation that you loose track of time.
5. Posture: A comfortable posture is recommended where you are sitting and can be relaxed without slouching or falling asleep. Some choose the crossed legged, lotus, position. Some choose sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Some choose to use a meditation bench or cushion. Just experiment with whatever sitting posture is comfortable for you. It is not recommended that you meditate while laying down.
6. During Meditation:
- Sit in a comfortable posture with your eyes closed. It is recommended that you sit with your palms up.
- Take natural slow deep breaths.
- Relax~ Focus on your awareness on your body. You might choose to focus your attention to areas where you may be holding tension or you may choose to focus on each body part equally. Tell your body parts with your thoughts to relax, for instance, “Relax feet, relax feet, relax feet, ” until you feel they are fully relaxed. Imagine your body parts become relaxed as you intend for them to do so.
- Clear Your Mind~ There are many techniques to do this and it is often a misconception that you must think of nothing to meditate. One way, just as you do your body, would be to think over and over, “relax mind, relax mind, relax mind.”
7. When you feel that your meditation is complete or your timer chimes, slowly open your eyes and come back into conscious awareness. Notice how you might feel different after meditating. Notice how you might feel different throughout your day. Notice any intuitive insights that you might hear more loudly inside your self than you did before you started meditating. Record any changes, insights, or feelings you may experience in your journal.
See Meditation Techniques for more information about Posture, Breath, Relaxation, and Clarity of Mind.