If you’ve never meditated before, the thought of sitting down to meditate can seem a little intimidating. Maybe you have an image in your mind of a wise monk sitting cross-legged on the floor, closing his eyes and thinking progressively deeper thoughts until he reaches enlightenment. How could you possibly replicate that?
In fact, meditation isn’t something you do with an end goal in mind. You don’t have to see visions or open your chakras or push yourself into some vague feeling of “enlightenment.” All you have to do is sit down, focus on your breathing and notice your thoughts as they pass by. That’s it. You can do it anywhere at any time of the day. Morning, noon or night, you’ve always got time for a quick meditation session.
It sounds simple enough, but when you sit down to meditate, you might find that you have no idea what to do. Should you close your eyes? Cross your legs? Fold your hands in prayer? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for people who want to try meditating for the first time.
1. Find a Quiet Place in Your Home
Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for the duration of your meditation. You don’t have to block out an hour–ten or fifteen minutes will do the trick, especially since you’re just getting started.
2. Sit in a Comfortable Position
The traditional meditation pose involves sitting cross-legged, but you can sit any way you wish as long as it’s comfortable. You can even meditate lying down or standing up.
3. Close Your Eyes
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Try counting to three while you inhale, holding the breath for a few seconds, then counting to six as you exhale.
4. Focus On Your Breathing
Draw attention to your breathing. Inevitably, thoughts will pop up in your consciousness, particularly if you’re stressed or agitated by something. Don’t try to “shut off” your mind or force the thoughts away. Simply acknowledge them and let them pass. If you get distracted by a thought, return your attention to your breathing.
5. Commit to Meditating For a Set Period of Time
Thirty minutes is a good amount of time, but you can meditate for ten or fifteen minutes if you don’t have much time. You can even meditate in one minute if you’re in a pinch. Just commit to a time and stick with it. You can use a timer if it helps.
That’s it! You’ve successfully meditated.
And on a final note: don’t beat yourself up if you can’t quiet your mind right away. Meditating is a skill just like anything else. You’re not a failure if you get distracted from time to time. Just keep at it, and you’ll find that the distractions become fewer and it becomes easier to quiet your mind. You’ll start to find true inner peace.