Meditation is something that we’re hearing more and more about these days. While in the past it was seen as something a bit “nonsensey”, today it has become mainstream. This is mainly thanks to the mindfulness movement, and the toned down, less evangelical version of mediation it promotes.
As a result of this, attitudes towards meditation have shifted dramatically in just a few short years. When I first began therapy in 2015, I was way too embarrassed to tell anyone that I was learning to meditate. But these days, it seems that everyone and their Mother are trying to jump on the meditation bandwagon.
Now, ordinarily I’d come down very hard on any bandwagoning whatsoever, but in this case I’m not. In fact, I think it’s friggin awesome that so many people are trying to develop a mediation practice and incorporate it into their daily lives.
The Benefits of Meditation
Why am I so pro meditation? Well, that’s easy.
- Meditationn forces us to take some time out from our day just for ourselves.
- Meditation helps us to mute the noise of the world and distinguish between what’s important, and what isn’t.
- Meditation helps us to connect with ourselves, our bodies, our emotions and our hearts. This might sound very airy fairy, but it’s essential to inner peace and self love.
- Meditation provides a spiritual aspect to life. This might not be true of everyone who meditates, but it’s certainly been my experience, and one that I value hugely. I’m not religious and never will be, and I don’t know that I specifically believe in anything. But, my meditation practice gives me a sense of something bigger, and I find immense comfort in that.
Unfortunately, developing a meditation practice isn’t always as easy and straightforward as many people expect it to be. Forming a new habit, no matter what it is, is tricky. It can’t be done overnight. The simple decision to do it isn’t enough. Without determination, commitment, self compassion and patience, most people never develop the daily meditation practice they want.
So, I’ve decided to share my 3 tips for developing a meditation practice that you can fit into you daily life and enjoy the huge benefits of easily.
3 Tips for Mediation
- Use an App
- Be Ritualistic
- Forget Everything You Think You Know
Our brains are programmed to be constantly working, constantly busy, and never silent. This is why so many people find the very act of meditating uncomfortable. Apps can help with this as they give your mind something to focus on rather than just expecting it to sit quietly for a prolonged period of time.
There are so many meditation apps on the market for both Android and IOS right now. Most of these apps have introductory courses for people who are new to meditation. These generally involve listening to a ten or fifteen minute guided meditation each day for a week, before graduating to the next level or stage.
I’ve used Head Space and really enjoyed it. Right now I’m using Insight Timer and loving it. If you read some reviews and try a few different apps, you’re sure to find one that works for you.
I think that small daily rituals can make new habits much easier to stick to. This is something that I found when trying to develop an affirmation practice, when trying to get into the habit of morning mirror time, and when learning to meditate. In fact, rituals were a big part of my recovery process in general.
What I mean by ritual is this; make a bit of a fuss of your new meditation practice. I meditate at night time, and this is my ritual; I light my vanilla candle beside my bed, I prop up my pillows so that I can sit upright against them while I meditate, and I then sprinkle lavender essential oil all over my pillows and the top of my duvet.
This ritual is very short and simple. It’s not complicated and takes me about a minute to complete. But it gives my meditation a sense of occasion, and helps me to prepare for it. Developing a similar ritual around your new meditation practice could help you in the same way.
From the conversations that I’ve had with followers, friends and other people in my life about meditation, I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make is the assumptions that they have before they begin the practice.
Most people think of meditation and are immediately conjuring up images of bald headed monks sitting in the lotus position on top of some snow covered mountain, humming. They believe that the point of meditation is to quiet the mind completely and shut down thoughts, feelings and emotions.
The reality of meditation is very different. You can meditate on the bus on your way to work. You can meditate on the toilet. You do not have to be in an ancient Himalayan temple. And for the vast majority of people, meditation isn’t about shutting the mind down completely. Rather, its about filtering the bullshit from the truth.
When I meditate, I rarely achieve a state of complete and utter silence. Most of the time, I achieve a more peaceful, less manic version of my mind. My thoughts are slower and I can identify them more easily. My feelings and emotions become clearer and I can understand them better.
For me, meditation provides me with a filter. With this filter, I can dispose of the bullshit that I don’t need (such as: was this person annoyed with me earlier, how am I going to find the money to do that thing, will I be able to get X,Y and Z done in time) and what’s left is just the truth – that I am enough as I am, that I am safe and secure, and that no matter what comes down the line, I will be ok.
Meditation can be the most wonderful thing in the world. It’s something that every single person can benefit from, and should enjoy if they choose to try. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy and people often give up too soon. But I’m hoping that with these 3 simple tips for meditation beginners, you can develop a practice that will last for years.