Getting started with meditation

The benefits of meditation are numberless.  From reducing stress,  to changing our physiology the benefits far out weight the time you put into it.  For those who have never tried it before I offer a few basic suggestions on how to meditate…

Getting Started

There are a lot of ways to approach meditation and to incorporate it into your life.  Below is just one suggestion on how to get started with a basic seated meditation:

  • Set a time to meditate:  Our lives are busy.  If we want to get something done we often have to plan it.  Planning time in your day or week to meditate helps many follow through on actually doing it.  You may find that meditating in the morning or in the evening before bed is easiest, this is because our brain waves are naturally in a slower phase than during the middle of our day.
  • Set the intention to meditate:  In the beginning of meditation there is effort.  We have to set the intention to meditate.  If we spend an hour sitting, and just engaging with our mind and thinking as usual, there will be no benefit, whereas if we spend an hour on the cushion making effort to go beyond thought each time one arises there will be significant benefit.  The effort is fueled from the intention.
  • Get comfortable.  When you meditate it’s best to be upright.  I prefer sitting, though many like to stand or walk in their meditation.  Upright is better than laying down, simply so you’re not tempted to fall asleep.    No matter your position, be sure you’re comfortable.
  • Set a timer.  Even if you have no need to set a timer I find doing so is helpful just so you don’t let your mind convince you to keep glancing at the clock.  I suggest starting off with 20-30 minutes right off the bat.  I’ve found it to be more helpful than starting short and working your way up to longer meditations because often it takes the first 10-15 minutes to settle into it.  If you give up before you actually experience meditation than of course it will become frustrating and there will be no benefit.
  • Sometimes I will read a poem or quote before meditating, or I’ll simply remind myself of my own intention to meditate.  Something to open the space and mark the beginning of the session.
  • At the end of it I take a moment to reflect and appreciate the effort, experience and insights that were had.  Giving gratitude is the greatest way to acknowledge receiving and it triggers our minds to hold the experience by reinforcing neural pathways.

For more on the benefits of meditation click here.