In an over stressed world, meditation provides us with an escape from the hustle and bustle. It’s a way to quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit. If you are considering starting a meditation ritual or if you’re in need of a refresher course, one can take advantage of free guided meditations, however, these seven steps can get you started on finding bliss in a matter of minutes – no vacation needed.
1. Serene Surroundings
Creating a sacred space to meditate is critical especially for meditators who are just starting out. You should always begin your meditation in a relaxing area. A place that is uncluttered, quiet and set to a comfortable temperature is ideal. If you’re a parent of small ones, this can be rather difficult but not impossible. Try meditating early in the morning or before bed, when tiny eyes are dreaming sweetly.
Meditation need not be done only in the home. In the workplace, if you don’t have an office with a door that you can close, find a quiet place in the building. Most work environments these days have dedicated quiet spaces for their employees.
In nature is my favorite place to meditate. Find a park if you’re in the city, or go on a weekend retreat in the woods if that’s available. Practicing mindfulness or meditation can be done through movement as well, such as a walking meditation.
You can also practice mindfulness at work, which is focusing on the present moment while working. Mindfulness while working allows you to be present, grounded, and non-reactive to the challenges that you face in your job.
2. Avoid Harsh Lighting
When reaching the utmost state of relaxation, lighting is key. Avoid florescent lights and glares of televisions and device screens. Instead, opt for natural lighting by opening a window or lighting a few scented candles. Here are some amazing lighting options for your meditation practice:
Himalayan Salt Lamp – made from authentic Himalayan salt from the Himalayan Mountains, this lamp made by d’aplomb, helps to alleviate stress and purifies the air quality.
Soy Candles – burns cleaner than the conventional candles, soy candles are non toxic and sustainable.
3. Follow your Breathing
This is a very powerful method of freeing your mind from the stress of the day. When meditating, be aware of your breathing. Notice how the air flows through you and then out again like a gentle wind. Don’t force your breath; let it ease in and out. This might be difficult at first, but it gets easier over time.
4. Resist Intruding Thoughts
As your mind begins to clear, you will begin to have passing thoughts. Resist the urge to follow those thoughts and instead, remain focused solely on your breathing. That said, be gentle with your practice. While meditating, if a thought appears, acknowledge it, then bring your attention back to your breath or whatever you use as your anchor. Do this for every thought. I find that if I merely try to push it away, the thought comes back in full force, which consequently disrupts my practice.
A good metaphor for thoughts are passing boats. Imagine you’re sitting on the shore watching boats float by. The boats represent your thoughts and you being on the shore is your meditation anchor. Your task is to just observe each boat pass by, and as each boat disappears, you focus back on being on the shore. In other words, don’t get off the shore to board the boat.
5. Posture and Stance
Finding a good comfortable place and position in which to sit is very important. With your legs crossed in the classic meditation stance, straighten your back and sit tall. Tip your chin forward and rest your left hand in your right palm in your lap.
A good posture allows for a positive energy to enter through you. You become the perfect channel for positive and loving energy, which enhances the practice of meditation.
If you find it hard to follow your breathing, try focusing on a phrase such as “let go.” You can also repeat a meaningless sound to clear your mind. There are many meditation apps and Youtube videos that can guide you in your mindfulness practice.
Other options to consider:
Singing meditation bowls – creates a beautiful sound that can kick start or close your practice.
7. The Eyes Have It
When meditating, your eyes should not be wide open nor should they be completely closed. This position is best described as a “sleepy state” or “barely open.” A lowered gaze is also an option.
Meditation has many mental and physical benefits. It releases stress, helps you find balance and allows your mind to refocus. In fact, a recent study showed that those who meditate whether by yoga or prayer lowered their blood pressure significantly. It also claimed the hospital patients who used meditation or prayer recovered more quickly as opposed to other patients.