Think back to the first time you tried meditation. Maybe you sat down, tried to clear your mind, and find a place of peace but then that “thing” that happens to all of us happened to you. Your thoughts wouldn’t shut off, your posture slipped and your back started to ache, and 5 minutes in you gave up because you weren’t feeling any calmer.
In fact, you probably ended your first session a little frustrated and discouraged. A lot of us had the same exact experience the first time because let’s be real, meditation is not as easy as it looks. And truth be told, a lot of us give up on it before we get the hang of it.
What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way? That you could actually make meditation give what it’s supposed to give by tweaking it to your needs? Yeah sis, it’s very possible. But before we get into the how to meditate, let’s talk about what it actually is.
What is meditation?
By formal definition, meditation is “thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.”
That’s it. Notice how the definition doesn’t say anything about having to position your body in a certain way, or believing in one particular philosophy or religion. This goes to show you that meditation is whatever you make it, as long as you keep the core purpose in mind, which is reflection and mindfulness.
Knowing this little bit of knowledge, you should be far more relaxed into the idea of trying meditation again or even for the first time. So let’s look at the three ways in which you can make it work for you and your needs.
What is your purpose?
Why are you meditating in the first place? Are you looking to become more calm and relaxed? Is it a part of your religious beliefs? Is this a way to connect better with yourself, the universe, or another divine source? Is this your way of giving yourself a break?
Putting a purpose behind meditation makes it much more meaningful because then, it’s just not just you sitting on your floor in silence, it’s you pulling your energy back into yourself so you refresh and recharge your mind, body, and soul.
The right position and location.
Meditation can be done anywhere; Sitting in your favorite chair next to the window, standing under hot, steaming shower water, lying on your back in the middle of a grassy field—you have so many options when it comes to positions and locations.
When setting up your routine, pick a place that works best for you. A few things to keep in mind:
- Choose a place where you’re comfortable, but will still allow you to maintain solid, straight posture. If it’s somewhere too comfortable—such as your bed or couch—you run the risk of getting sleepy or distracted.
- Make sure you can go there often. It wouldn’t do much for your daily mindfulness to find the perfect meditation spot, but not be allowed to retreat to it frequently. Choose a space that is convenient and accessible.
- If posture and position is an issue, consider meditating with your back against the wall until you can do it on your own. You can also stand, sit in a kitchen chair, or invest in meditation chairs or mats.
Engaging in mental release.
One of the most difficult aspects of meditation is being able to clear your mind and just sit in mental peace and silence. It feels like every time we truly begin to relax, we are flooded with all of the thoughts, memories, and tasks that we’re trying to escape for a moment.
Contrary to popular belief, not having any thoughts actually isn’t something that’s expected of you during meditation. The key is to actually refocus yourself to being in the moment. You can do this by:
- Journaling as you sit in silence. When thoughts come rushing in, you should absolutely do something with them. So why not write them down as they come? This is a good way to release what’s been on your mind and heart so that you can quiet the mental chaos and focus on being calm and at peace.
- Redirect your attention. When you notice your mind starting to wander and think on any and everything, don’t try to stop your thoughts. Simply acknowledge them, let them flow, and redirect back to your breathing.
- If you notice that the silence is what is causing you to think much more than usual, offset it by playing meditation music or doing a chant. That way, you’ll naturally focus on the sounds and not your own thoughts.