Last week I wrote about my experience with meditation. This week I have some recommendations for how to get into meditation. Remember, your mileage may vary, but here is what works for me.
1. If you’re in a city, it’s likely there are classes you can take to learn the basics of meditation. At its core, meditation is about focusing on something (usually your breath). Then, you use that focus as a stable foundation to try and stay in the moment despite the fact that your mind will wander. Finding a teacher who can get you up and running can be quite helpful.
2. Pick up some books on meditation to expand your understanding. As I mentioned in last week's post, Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the people who help get mindfulness to the level it’s known today in America. Any of his works are quite helpful. There are many other authors out there who are well-respected leaders in mindfulness and meditation, though. Find one whose writings jibe with you.
3. Get a meditation app. There are plenty of them out there. I use one called Insight because it has many free options. Some apps include specialty meditations to help with anxiety or depression. They also include meditations to help you sleep. Most are guided, which means a teacher speaks and tells you how to breathe and what to think about while you sit there. It’s not a controlling thing, but instead gentle guidance.
4. Practice, practice, practice. The more time you put into meditating, the more results you’ll see. For me, as I meditate daily I find I remind myself to turn to my breath in moments of stress more often. It helps relieve my anxiety and calms me. Do I remember to do this all the time? No. Are all my meditation sessions enlightening, ethereal moments where I reach another consciousness? Hardly. Sometimes my mind wanders about for 15 minutes and I rarely focus on my breath or calming my mind. But I know that’s not how it is every time and that the time I’m putting in is helpful.
Have you spent any time meditating? If so, how was it? Did you find it helpful? Feel free to respond in the comments—I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.
This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.