How to start a meditation practice
I’ve written many times about all the beautiful and powerful benefits of having a meditation practice. It can truly be life changing. But how do you start a daily meditation practice when you’re a complete beginner? This question has popped up now and then and I thought I’d address it.
Taking a meditation course is obviously a great way of starting. I took my first meditation course at age 16 and we met and meditated three times per week. It was a great way of learning and also having a group of people that held you accountable for your daily practice. But maybe there aren’t any classes where you live and that don’t mean you can’t start anyway.
Some people argue that meditation can’t really be taught and that (much like sleep) it’s just something that will come naturally given the right circumstances. However creating the physical and mental space for it in your life is a good way to start.
Find a spot in your house that feels good, has good energy and that is somewhat clear of clutter. I made a nice little corner in my bedroom with some blankets to sit on, some incense that gets me into that calm space and some home made beeswax candles and crystals. Next decide on a time in your day that you will dedicate to your practice. Start small! Five minutes is a good start.
Find a posture in which you can sit comfortably with you spine straight. It could be a half lotus or any other sitting posture. Place your hands one on top of the other, palms facing up and thumbs touching each other or in any other mudra you prefer. Close your eyes gently. Close your mouth and breath through your nose. Observe your breath. Breathe calmly and count every outbreath silently in your head. When you reach 10 you start over from 1 again. Keep in mind that it’s not gonna be this zen experience in the beginning, it’s WORK. You’re gonna struggle, your mind will slip into its normal state of babbling away like a monkey. Don’t fight your thoughts, simply observe them without judgment. Then draw your focus back again to your breath and start counting. Do this for five minutes.
Doing this every day you will see that it will gradually become easier to focus and after a while you might be able to drop the counting and just breathe (or use a different mantra if you prefer). You will also be able to sit for longer stretches of time.
The key to your practice is CONSISTENCY! When you do it every single day you will feel that it becomes easier and that you also start to see the benefits.