How to Meditate: A Guide For the Utterly Non-Zen
Everywhere you look, people are telling you to meditate. It’s for your health, your piece of mind, your stress levels. But if it isn’t something that’s already, you know, ‘in your wheelhouse,’ learning how to meditate is about as pleasant as flossing your teeth at your grandmother’s funeral while your friend sends you concert pictures.
With this guide you’ll be on your way to understanding what meditation is really all about, and how you can do it (even if you can’t sit still for more than five minutes).
What is Meditation Really All About?
A lot of people that haven’t tried meditating think there’s a specific goal, to be able to sit and instantly clear their minds for some greater look at the universe. It’s what’s been romanticized about it, and it’s wrong. Meditation is about training your mind to accrue better focus. That’s all. There’s no “one route,” because each person is has to find their own way.
What Are Some Common Mistakes?
The biggest common mistake people make when it comes to meditation is believing they’re making a common mistake when they start. Don’t worry! Just about everyone thinks they’re doing it wrong when they first pick it up, but as long as you’re sitting there, attempting to focus your thoughts on something then you’re generally good to go.
What’s a Good Way to Start?
If you want to check it out to see what all the craze is about, but you know there’s no way you could sit there for 10 minutes or longer, don’t worry. The steps lined out below are how you can get into meditation, even if you’re a hyper person!
Step 1: Pick a time. It can be any time you want, but you need to be on point with that time; if that means setting an alarm every day then that’s what you should do, but setting that schedule really helps with the whole “focusing the mind” aspect.
Step 2: Don’t plan to sit out for a while, instead plan on spending just two minutes a day. That’s all you need to do at first, and if you’d like to add more time then you can increase it by two minutes per week!
Step 3: Don’t worry about messing up! Seriously, this point cannot be stressed enough. You could have the fanciest meditation mat used by Gandhi himself, or you could on your bed, or the floor, or wherever is comfortable for you.
Step 4: Ask yourself how you feel. Spend a little time talking to your body; listen to the aches and pains, but really take a moment to accept everything that’s on your mind. The bad, the good – it’s all OK for the moment. Remember, this is about focusing on you.
Step 5: Now for the “hard” part, count your breaths. Yes, your mind will wander from time to time, it’s basically a machine in and of itself, but you can’t let that affect you. Simply accept that it happened and start your counting over. It’s the little things that compound over time, learning to let some of them go can only be good for you!
Step 6: Remember back when I said to keep going back to counting your breaths? Well that can get tiresome after a while, so every once in a while stick with a thought that keeps coming back. Think it through as best you can, from all angles. The important part is that you focus all of your mental attention to it.
Meditation isn’t always easy, and it can even force you to confront things about yourself or your life that you’ve been putting off, but it’s all worth it in the end. If you follow the steps in this guide then it doesn’t matter how short your attention span is, two minutes is nothing! Plus it can help to increase that anyways, so you may as well get started today!