An Intro to How to Meditate
Where to Meditate:
- Set up– you need a clean, clear (hopefully) space that’s quiet. The corner of a quiet room is perfect. You honestly need very little. A rug is nice and a mediation cushion is helpful.
- Sitting on Floor: you can buy a zafu (meditation cushion) online. They come in a few shapes- traditional is round, but they also come in a crescent moon shape, and square. But at this point just pulling a cushion off of the sofa is fine. If they are thin, stack 2 together. A height of 3-5 inches is great, higher is best if your hips are tight. Sit on it, bend the knees and cross the ankles
- Sitting on Chair: if for any reason (bad knees, back) etc. the floor doesn’t work, then sitting on a chair is fine. Choose a straight back chair, where you can put your feet flat and the back allows you to site straight. Put a cushion at your low to mid-back area that braces you to an upright position if needed.
Choose the time that’s best for you.
- Morning– best if you are a morning person, otherwise feeling sleepy can be an issue. Also this helps you set you up for a calmer day.
- Evening– mediation at night, it will help clear the day’s mental debris.
- Anytime– of course if you are a mom, or have a varied schedule, you could even try mid-morning or the kids nap-time. After work is best for some folks, prior to dinner and dealing with rest of the evening.
- A timer,there are lots of Zen, or meditation apps or timers to be had. Choose one you like but be sure not to set it too loud, also turn off all other devices that could interrupt.
- A room that’s moderately lit. Don’t try to meditate in the dark- you will tend ot feel drowsy especially if it’s evening. And too bright may make you feel agitated and unable to pull inwardly.
- Don’t try sitting outdoors in the beginning- it can be distracting, even though lovely. The sound of birds, bugs, and even feeling the wind can be too distracting. Trust me on this.
What to Do:
- Sit down, with a timer set for 10 min, or more but I’d recommend 10 or even 5 at first!
- With spine straight but not rigid. Eyes lowered, meaning barely open.
- Take a few deep breaths and mentally allow yourself to “arrive,” to feel exactly where and how you are at that moment. Acknowledge it to yourself. Are you tired, sleepy, stressed, excited from a conversation you had? Just become aware of your starting point.
- Simply start to be aware of your breath. Notice the action at the abdomen.
- Feel the gentle motion of the rise and fall of the belly and chest.
- For the rest of the time- stay with the breath as your anchor. Meaning, if a thought, sound or emotion comes up, that’s fine. But bring your attention back to the breath.
- Feel that your breath is your home base. A safe place you can return to.
- This is the work of the mediation: bringing your attention back to the breath, and to the present moment. It may feel like a battle- that’s why it’s a meditation “practice,” not perfect.
How to Conclude:
- When you hear timer, gently take a deep breath and stretch as you feel, to reawaken the body.
- Pause before standing up & going on to your day.
- Do not judge your meditation, as “good” or “bad,” by how restless your mind may have been. That is actually irrelevant!
- Hard to believe I know but I started mediating in the ’90’s and now I’m finally getting that it’s impossible to judge oneself in terms of “progress” by looking at one session.
- Sometimes my teachers have said you are progressing and because of that you are more aware of how restless your mind is! It’s like someone who needed glasses, finally getting them- all of a sudden they can see the dirt that has always been there.