A Guide to Meditation

There will come a time where you will want to take a break. Maybe it has already happened to you, and you’ve abandoned a project you were working on, or you ended a relationship you couldn’t upkeep, or even you couldn’t seem to get out of bed in the morning. Maybe life is boring, or too hard, or too complicated, or even too much to handle. Whatever the reason, it can be overwhelming, and you will probably need to take a break from the normalcy of life. Likely, someone close to you will recommend therapy, getting fresh air, or finding a new project to stimulate yourself. But sometimes the answer lies where you wouldn’t expect to look.

 

I started meditating when my mother started meditating. I was eleven when she received her 200-hour Kundalini Yoga Certification, and her daily practice became my daily practice as she forced me to sit with her every day at 6:30 in the morning and meditate. Of course, being eleven, I despised it. What eleven-year-old would want to wake up even earlier than they have to for school and sit quietly for fifteen minutes when they could be sleeping? Granted, I did it with minimal complaining, and eventually, it became routine. Our consistency varied depending on the time of the year and what was currently happening in our lives, but we both tried to meditate as much as well could. It took years before I understood how meditation had helped me get through school, and another year on top of that before I realized how much I enjoyed meditating.

 

There are different types of meditation. All types help with control over the mind: stopping intrusive thoughts, helping with focus, depression and anxiety, lack of motivation, helping with dissociation, and providing self-control for those who struggle with it. I have spoken to many people who meditate, and those who continue their practice regularly or when they require it find themselves happier, more in control of themselves and their lives, and healthier. 

 

One can meditate silently, sitting in a comfortable position and letting the mind fall quiet as the body releases tension. Some people meditate to help them fall asleep, lying in bed and counting to five on their inhale and counting to seven as they exhale until the process lulls them to sleep. Some people chant along with a mantra, the repetition, and the power behind the words helping them find peace and deep meditation that gives the person control over their thoughts. Some people move during meditation, the movement giving their body power and strength to get through the harder parts in life. 

 

Of course, it is a difficult process to get into: the mind does not want the body to sit still, and it does not want to be controlled. When you are meditating, you will feel an itch somewhere, or your arm might feel like it should be adjusted to the right, or your foot will fall asleep. These urges to move come from your mind attempting to regain control, something you must resist to continue your meditation. A movement that is not required for your meditation will ultimately break your focus and pull you from the quiet place you will be in. 

    

Along with this, you will find your mind wandering. This is entirely normal, as it is sometimes hard to focus for someone who is used to providing their brain with an auditory or visual stimulus. If you find yourself thinking about something when you should be meditating, just let the thought quietly move on and return to the quiet place within your mind. Do not feel discouraged: even the most seasoned meditators experience days where they cannot seem to focus. It just takes practice.

    

If you wish to begin meditating, but don’t know how to start, here’s a very simple meditation to introduce you to the concept:

    

Find a comfortable sitting position, and if you cannot find one, lie down on your back. If you are sitting, rest the hands on the knees, and if you are lying down, let the hands fall to the side, palms facing upward. Close the eyes and feel your body settle into the surface supporting you, whether it be the ground, a chair, or a bed. As you settle, inhale to the count of five, hold for the count of three, and exhale to the count of seven. Repeat this as many times as necessary until you feel you have completed your meditation. 

 

If a thought crosses your mind, let it float by and continue counting your inhale and exhale. If you would like to do this mediation for a set time, set a timer, and don’t worry about the time you spend meditating: just focus on the breath until you are ready to complete it. Once you have finished, continue sitting quietly and let the breath resume its normal cadence. Check-in with the body, see how you feel after you have finished, find where you have released tension or are now aware of tension in your muscles. Open your eyes when you feel you are ready to continue with your day.

 

There are plenty of resources you can find to help with meditation. Yoga classes tend to include meditation for the opening or closing of class, there have been many books and journals written that can help you dive deeper into your practice, and there are even YouTube videos that can put you into a deep meditation as you listen to the video. 

 

If you are interested in hearing more about meditation or my practice or are looking for recommendations, feel free to contact me about anything regarding meditation. If I cannot help you, I will be able to redirect you to someone or somewhere that can. Happy meditating!