How to get started with Meditation
Are you having trouble getting started with meditation because you... Can't sit still?
Find it bothersome to remain in silence? Can't seem to clear thoughts from your mind?
I'm not going to lie... if these are concerns for you, meditation takes some work to get started! But there are a great many benefits to meditation which is likely why you've found yourself here. If you're interested in the practice for relaxation, self-care & self-empowerment, or because you're starting out with spiritual practices, you have to find a way to truly get into the "mode" in order to have success with it.
Take it from me - someone that used to HATE the idea of meditating... But now, I do it regularly for spiritual reasons.
It can be done!
Hopefully, this list of tips (based on my experience) will help to ease you into the practice.
First and foremost, my suggestion is NOT to try meditating anytime you're overly stressed and anxious. At least when you're starting out and not used to it, I have found that it only adds to any frustration you're feeling if you sit/lay down to do it and quickly realize it's not working.
I remember years ago when I first tried it, I was so anxious that it had this effect on me... and I grew even more frustrated because my intention was to relieve the anxiety that I was feeling. But if it piles these feelings and effects, you're actually fighting & resisting the purpose of meditating.
So in the long run, you are better off taking a break and trying again another time. It's similar to how we're told to get up and walk around if we're laying in bed unable to sleep - the longer you stay in the position & moment of trying to do something that you can't, your body & mind tense up and resist it even more.
LSS: Don't fight it or persist when it won't work, try it again another time.
But when you do feel relatively calmer.. ease yourself into simple starter practices. Begin by just committing to taking minutes (however long you can do is fine) to be still, in silence, and with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath.
Count 5-10 seconds during each inhale and exhale; and physical condition permitted, between each inhale & exhale. Only as your body is comfortable and allows can you decide how long these durations are and what the flow will be.
I find that the biggest challenge when you're starting out is being able to clear your mind so that you're ONLY focused on your breath. Acknowledge any thoughts that pop up, but then mentally tell them that now is not the time. Keeping to the simple challenge of being able to only focus on your breath will allow you to work up to more in-depth meditations with visualizations.
The bonus of breathwork: With practice, you'll be able to extend your durations and this leads to developing more lung capacity.. which also improves vocal work such as singing and public speaking! As you improve your practice, focus on deeper breaths before adding the extra second(s). Go with what works for your body though and don't push this if you have any limitations that make it difficult.
Only once you've gotten comfortable and good at focusing on your breath and pushing thoughts out of your mind, you can move on to trying visualizations. This area can be tricky for those that aren't naturally imaginative or much of a [day] dreamer, you need some direction on what to visualize.
Personally, I was never one to use recorded meditations, mostly since the apps/programs that are available today did not exist back when I started... so, it's up to you what you want to do.
So if you want to do it yourself as I did, here are suggestions for starting visualizations:
Envision yourself in a natural habitat that instantly relaxes you (examples: a beach, a forest, on a mountain, near a waterfall)
Envision yourself in a natural habitat with animals that resonate with you (examples: imagine yourself bird watching, running alongside/with a horse or dog)
From here, just spend as many minutes as you can with the visualization. The more you get comfortable with it, and the longer you can do it, the easier you will find meditation to be.
And when you're ready for the next step and want to begin practicing with a more spiritual intention, be sure to check out my FREE Beginners Meditations! Each video provides an introduction to why we do these practices regularly and guides you through the meditation.
Ashley Tilson is a multi-modality Intuitive Healer that is a Holistic Trauma Recovery Specialist. She helps adults who are struggling to feel safely free and happy in their adult lives by minimizing and removing traumatic triggers, connecting with and healing their Inner Child, and embarking on the life that they think they can only dream about. Learn more about her and her services here.