Want to start meditating but not sure how? Well, the truth is that the process of meditation is really easy. You don’t need any special knowledge or products. All you really need is a place to sit and 10 minutes of your time. I’ll show you how in three steps below, but first…
Who is Meditation for?
Do you ever deal with anxiety or depression? Do you want to be more productive and focused? Would you like to be less ‘me’-centered and feel more empathy for others? Are you stressed, and would you like to feel more calm?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, meditation will be beneficial to you. In fact, it has been scientifically proven to help in all of these areas and more.
What Meditation Isn’t
Meditation isn’t magic or a panacea. And while meditation does have its benefits, it takes practice like anything else.
I would also like to note that while meditation is connected to some religions, you don’t need to believe in any sort of religion or New Age philosophies to practice meditation.
Step 1 – Find a Place to Sit
No, you don’t need any special cushion or bench. These are commonly used, but sitting in a chair is perfectly fine.
If you find that you enjoy meditation and want to pursue it further, then you can think about buying a cushion at that time. However, know that it will take some getting used to.
Lastly, if you experience back pain, the support of a chair will be useful.
Step 2 – Body Positioning
When you imagine someone meditating, you probably picture that person cross-legged with their hands forming circles between their thumbs and index fingers. All you need to worry about it finding a sitting position that feels comfortable to you.
Keeping your back straight should be a priority, as upright posture will allow you to stay alert and avoid causing any pain.
Your eyes can be open or closed, but I recommend closing your eyes, at least to start. Most people find it easier to focus this way.
You can place your hands any way they feel comfortable. You can cross your legs if your seating arrangement allows, but it’s not necessary.
Step 3 – The Process of Meditating
Every day we are constantly lost in thought, and we don’t even realize it. The goal of meditation is to quiet the constant stream of thoughts invading your mind and instead pay attention to the moment you are experiencing.
How is that done? The easiest way is to focus on your breath. Follow your breath as you begin to inhale. Feel the air rush through your nose and fill up your chest.
Also take note of your surroundings. How the sun warms up your skin and the breeze cools it back down. How your chair feels against your arms.
And each time you become distracted and lost in thought, redirect your attention to your breath.
Often it’s helpful to listen to a guided meditation. I think Sam Harris’ short mindfulness meditation is a great place to start. Once you’re familiar with the process, you can do this on your own without the audio. (By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about spirituality from Harris, check out his amazing book Waking Up)
That’s all there is to it. At its simplest, meditation is an escape from the constant noise and distractions in our heads. Your regrets from the past and worries about the future are left behind as you focus on only the moment you are experiencing. You get into this moment by focusing on your breath and surroundings, and every time you find yourself lost in thought, bring your attention back to your breath.
I really hope you’ll give this a try. If you have any concerns or questions about meditation, I would love to hear them below.