Meditation Seems Daunting! Where Do I Start?
Ahh being alone with our own thoughts - that is a terrifying idea for most people! But sometimes, you’ve just got to go within if you want to create focus, calm and healing for your mind, body and soul. All meditations have similar instructions: create focus within and let everything else go. Sounds easy right! Well no, not really. Meditation can be super hard and takes a while to get the hang of. That’s why it’s called a meditation “practice” it’s something that you continuously have to practice to get better! So it’s important to be patient with yourself. There is no right or wrong, and there are thousands of ways you can start your meditation journey. From using a meditative tool like holding your favourite crystal, komboloi worry bead strand or a beaded bracelet, or just focusing on your own breath.
Despite the huge range of options, most meditators throughout the world start in a very similar way. They sit in a nice, comfortable quiet place with eyes closed. They then focus on the breath, or body, the sounds of the crystal beaded piece in their hand, or even on a repeated word or phrase (mantra).
This is what really works for most people. It is a good place to begin. The next few points will cover this territory in more detail and hopefully provide a nice starting point for the Lithos family journey to mindfulness!
Posture And Place
To begin with, one must choose a relatively quiet place. A bedroom, garden or living room will work fine. Any time of day can work, early morning or evening is often fine. Allow five to twenty minutes when you are less likely to be disturbed. I like putting an alarm on (a soft sounding one!), or a watch/clock to glance at during the session.
Position wise, one can either go for a upright padded chair, or if comfort is preferred, laying on a couch/bed. Francesca and I love putting on a guided meditation to follow - there are plenty of these available on YouTube! This is the most luxurious way one can learn to meditate. I will include some of our favourite guided meditation links in the end of this blog, alternatively keep reading and follow the instructions below!
Distractions Are Normal.
In any meditation, you are bound to get distracted. When this happens, your first strategy is to refocus on the breath, breathing in and out continuously. Some distractions are difficult to break free of. This is when it helps to use a little technique called "naming the distraction". So if something is really bugging you, you step back from it and ask, "What is this?" and label it. If it's about work you say "work", or "food" or "back pain"- you get the point.
This is what we call AWARENESS or PASSIVELY WATCHING.
Naming a distraction disentagles you from it! You have to stand outside it to label it it. It may not disappear , but it won't dominate you anymore! Just like the Beetles said, "Let it be!"
Furthermore, it can be helpful to use imagery. You imagine putting the distraction on a shelve or in a box!
What Is Likely To Happen When You Meditate
Usually a meditation goes like this. The first couple of minutes are scrappy. The unfinished business of the day or what is going to happen next, clamours for your attention as soon as you sit down. Gradually, you sort out the bits and pieces and they lose their grip on you.
As you enter the present, sounds often seem louder and you feel the body in more detail. I personally find that my limbs feel heavier and just like a "zoom in", i notice different aches and pains or fatigue. These are all physiological signs of relaxation and all worth noticing.
If you are at all tired, you can soon drop into a pleasant, daydreamy state. If you stay alert, it gets even better!
The mind detaches from thoughts, one by one, and becomes delightfully clear and still. The body literally enters the first stages of sleep and feels serene. In time, the peace and clarity come so often you take them for granted.
Thats it, you have done it. Always remember that meditation works because it is so simple. The less you try overcomplicate, the more you repose. It really is a passive, watching state. If you distract you mind of thinking, you automatically relax.
This article is nothing more but a very basic description of what a meditation is! To me, a meditation can take place in so many different forms, and once you start you will soon realise too! I have found myself in deep meditative states while stargazing with my favourite komboloi worry beads in hand, floating in the sea or patting my cat. It is an ancient practice, perhaps much more regular in the olden days, when our lives weren't filled with as many distractions. For me, to meditate is to truly be in the moment!
I hope this post has been helpful to the beginners, as well as a good read to the practiced meditators. I am now off to quieten my mind, catch you all on the next post! :)
Guided Meditation Links