I have to admit it – I have been working at meditating on and off for almost 10 years now, but never really sat down to give it a shot. But once I did, once I really opened up and allowed myself to try it, I felt incredible afterwards! It was a bit of an uneasy feeling at first – I couldn’t place the way my mind and my body were feeling, but I had a sense that was a good thing! The rest of that first day was fantastic and I felt confident and in control! I’m not sure how it got such a “voo-doo” and “hippie” reputation over the last several years, but if you take a moment and try (really try!) it is worth it! I still have a long way to go in discovering myself through meditation, but here are 5 steps that worked for me to meditate:
1. Set up a special place – just for you. You should feel comfortable and surrounded by love. I have pictures of friends and family, a few candles, and if it’s the right temperature, a window open. Fresh air is incredible for relaxation!
2. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe. Yes breathe – just follow your breath by thinking, “Inhale, exhale – 1, inhale, exhale – 2,” and so forth. When you find your mind planning out your day, come back to thinking about your breath and start over. It’s not a race, or a competition – it’s slow and steady training to keep yourself focused.
3. Set a timer. Find something other than your phone (you don’t want any text messages or phone calls to distract you!) and set it for 5 minutes first. You’ll be both surprised at how slow and how fast 5 minutes can go. Having a timer helps you to relax easier (I was always afraid I didn’t have enough time, or somehow I would get “sucked in to meditation” and it might take way too long). As you get better, move it up to 10 minutes and so forth.
4. Let the frustrated feelings happen. Allow yourself to feel them, to notice them, and then move on. You will get frustrated, busy thoughts will occur, but allow yourself to feel and think them, then move on. It’s the opposite of meditation if you get angry at yourself for not being able to focus right away!
5. Be grateful at the end. Whether you were able to connect with your breath and your body or not, spend just a few minutes at the end to be grateful for the opportunity to try to give your mind a small opportunity to focus.
Good luck! It’s a challenge, but I can tell you, once you are able to start figuring it out, all that work will be worth it!