Meditation is a powerful tool that can reduce stress, help our physical health, ease chronic pain and support better sleep. Meditation has also been proven to improve mental and emotional wellbeing.
On a deeper level, meditation can help open us to the cosmic universe (or spiritual consciousness) that is within each of us. One could call it our "divine inner knowing." Meditation can assist us as we open our inner awareness, intuition and decision-making processes.
Why then, do so many people find it difficult to start and maintain a meditation practice? I was one of these people. The first few times I attempted to meditate I was shocked at how distracted, uncomfortable and unfocused I was. Most people need to practice meditation for a while before they can really get into the groove, and that's okay. The more I put myself in my meditation seat, the longer and stronger my practice has become.
If you've never tried to meditate, don't worry. It's incredibly simple to start:
1. Find a quiet spot where you will not be interrupted or distracted.
2. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Feel free to use pillows to make your experience more enjoyable.
3. Make no effort to control your breath, simply breathe normally.
4. Bring your attention to your breath. In and out. In and out.
5. Bring your attention to your body and thoughts.
6. Bring your attention to any emotions that are present.
7. Be kind to yourself.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Wherever your mind wanders, it's okay, simply return your mental focus back to your breath. Whatever emotions come up, simply be with them. Some people feel physical energy moving through their body, and others feel sadness, anger, or even laughter come through. The key is to be kind and gentle with yourself. Start in small increments and work up to more time as you become more acclimated. A good beginning goal is 2-5 minutes. Set a timer so you don't have to wonder about an end time.
There are several approaches and disciplines, so try out different styles until you find a practice that works for you. This is a simple guide with more tips on how to do meditation. When I was just starting out, I found one of the easiest approaches was to listen to a recorded guided meditation; here is a link to a few free guided meditations that may work for you.