“The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.”
What exactly is mediation? The textbook definition is reaching a level of consciousness in your mind to where you can control what you think. In many ways, it’s nothing more than an advanced level of mindfulness.
If unanimously agreed upon that definition, one cannot think of any reason why someone shouldn’t at least try it and see if it benefits them.
The conflict lies in a misconception about it that often keeps people from trying it out or at a greater level of cynicism, even dismissing any talk about it. Many unjustly categorize meditation with something new age or “hippy crap.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Meditation is not necessarily sitting down crossed legged and chanting “Om.” It begins with whatever puts your mind at ease.
You could be in your kitchen cooking something. You could be taking a shower. You can even be standing somewhere, waiting for something or someone and go into a meditative state. Which of course begs the next question, what is the first step to meditation?
To better understand it, let’s point out one meditation experts always say first: Meditation is not doing something, it’s allowing something to happen. More specifically, it’s allowing your mind to be in control.
So what are the first few steps to start with if you’ve never meditated before?
- Firstly, make sure you’re in a calm place. As pointed out above, you don’t have to be sitting in a dark room by yourself. That said, if you’ve never meditated before, it is a good idea to be alone to eliminate any distractions. As time goes by and you become better at this, you’ll be able to meditate almost anywhere in any environment.
- Breathe deeply. Take at least five to ten deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Hold each breath for as long as you possibly can.
- As you breathe deeply, acknowledge every smell and every sound around you. Be it in meditation or exploring mindfulness, it’s always crucial to be aware of your surroundings. For example, tell yourself out loud what you’re smelling. It need not be food. Then tell yourself out loud what you’re hearing. It could be your AC or running water or even your own breathing. Whatever it is, say it out load to yourself.
- Acknowledge how your body feels step by step both internally as well as externally. For example, you may say “I have a headache so my forehead feels weak. My feet are comfortably resting on the ground. My arms are crossed without any pain,” etc.
- Tell yourself out loud why you’re meditating. It could be “I am meditating now to be stress free,” or “I am meditating now just to see what it feels like.” Whatever the reason, repeat it to yourself a few times.
As you complete the steps above, embrace the new awareness that you’re feeling of everything: your physical state, your mental state, your location, your thoughts. If you do this on a regular basis, at some point you’ll be able to get more control over your thoughts.
One crucial thing to remember is that time of development for ANYTHING varies from person to person. Perhaps that’s why so many people give up on new ideas so quickly; they don’t see instantaneous results.
And that very well may be the case with meditation. However, healthcare experts, life coaches, motivational speakers and even doctors almost unanimously agree that the steps above can be beneficial to everyone if given the right amount of time and dedication.
Also keep in mind that the steps listed above are fairly elementary and are just to get acquainted with what exactly meditation is. Should you choose to practice meditation on a regular basis, there are several other methods to find out about and explore to see what exactly works for you. Many such methods can be found online.
How do you feel about meditation? Have you tried it before? Do you have a specific method to go about it? Share your thoughts by commenting below.