I always run into people who are dying to adopt a meditation practice but have no clue how to get started. It’s too hard to sit still. Or there’s no time to meditate. Or they just don’t really know what mediation looks like for them.
We're constantly encouraged to quiet our minds, enter into our third eye, gain perspective on our lives, and zen out in a world that bombards us with demands, deadlines, and a whole lot of stress to manage. It’s overwhelming, really. And then we’re supposed to "look within" in order to reach a higher state of instant enlightenment?
Before I offer you a strategy to begin a meditation practice, I'd like to acknowledge the fact that you're not just some one trick pony. You're a beautifully woven web of mind, body and spirit all rolled into one curious and complex living, breathing being. In order for you to walk strong and be whole, you need to address all the parts of your life that make you who you are.
That being said, let’s explore these 5 steps to get you to that mysterious and exciting next level called mediation.
1. First, take care of your basic earthly needs so that your body is nourished and your mind can go find that happy place.
This includes drinking lots of quality water, and eating close to the earth. Processed, sugary foods mess with your body’s blood glucose regulation, which messes with your cortisol levels which mess with your mood. Having a happy and peaceful body is a crucial precursor to having a peaceful mind.
2. Find a physical practice.
The whole idea of yoga asanas (movement) is to satisfy the physical needs of the body so the mental juices can awaken and flow through. Of course, you don’t need to do yoga if you don’t want to. Your physical practice can be anything from walking up a flight of stairs to playing basketball with your kid. Get the blood flowing, oxygenate your brain and fire up your whole system.
3. Practice mini moments of mediation.
Do this when you have a bit of free time, like in the morning, when you wake up (before you put on your make-up). Say a little prayer for you. You deserve self-love and reflection. Think about all of the great things that you enjoy in your life. Think about the things you might want to see look different. Keep them accessible and achievable.
4. Set an intention.
Why do you want to meditate anyway? If it’s because Oprah and the Dalai Lama say you should, well, it’s probably not going to work out so well. A meditative practice takes time, it also needs to come from within.
Start here: Take a deep breath. Let yourself get swept away by a life-long dream. Visualize yourself there. Feel yourself smile about getting yourself there. Focus on making one step in that direction to get you there. Do that right now. Got it?
Congratulations, you just meditated.
5. Know that you have everything inside of you to make your intention happen.
We all walk this earth looking for answers to the mysteries of this beautiful world we live in. Through all of my schooling, scientific research and never ending inquiry for ultimate enlightenment, I have learned one thing. It’s not as complicated as it seems.
It’s actually quite simple, really. I have journeyed to the ends of the earth and back to figure that out. Meditation helps you strip away the things in life that don’t really matter and help you focus on the things that do. I have found my own personal meditations in a stranger’s smile, helping a friend in need, connecting to the people around me and taking the time to connect to myself. You don’t need an altar and you don’t need to move to India.
All you need is yourself.
Stay whole and let your light shine.