I first started to meditate, reluctantly, as a little kid.
I would just copy my grandfather, who used to meditate often. As I grew older, I have gone through fits and starts. Sometimes I meditate daily for weeks on end. Other times…not so much! I find that when I have a consistent meditation routine, life seems to be less stressful and more fun.
Wondering how to start a meditation practice?
I have good news for you. You don’t need to wait to be initiated by a guru or teacher. You don’t need to learn a secret mantra. Over the years I’ve experimented with a few different varieties of meditation. In reality, there are countless forms of meditation and no single form is better or worse than any other. They all have their place.
To start, just find a quiet place, take a comfy seat (on the floor cross-legged or in a chair) and set a timer (I like to use my phone) for about 10 minutes to start. Then, follow the instructions below. Pick any of these three powerful forms of meditation as a starting point. As you evolve your practice, you might then wish to find a meditation teacher to help you go even deeper.
1. Meditate on breath
Often called “Mindfulness Meditation”, the idea here is to just be aware of what is happening.
As with all Meditation, there should be no judgement or clinging to thoughts. Just let thoughts come and go like clouds moving overhead. Pay attention to the inflow and outflow of your breath. Start to notice the infinite subtlety of the air and how it moves through your body. If you are distracted, no worries, just keep coming back to your breath.
This practice will dramatically heighten your awareness to the present moment.
2. Meditate on compassion
This technique is praised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So it must be good!
I think we all know the world can use more compassion…it’s worth doing. Simply turn your focus to people who you know (or have simply seen), who are facing sorrow or misfortune. Wish these people freedom from their sorrow, and bestow upon them more happiness in both the present moment and in the future. If you notice barriers or “resentment” coming up towards anyone, consciously let those barriers go!
Through this practice you will become more compassionate to yourself, others and the world at large.
3. Meditate on imagery
Visualization is a powerful and popular meditation technique.
Simply identify a peaceful place, a setting of your choice, in your mind. For example, your place can be a relaxing beach a wonderful mountain lake or a garden or wildflowers. You get to choose! Spend some time exploring this place. Don’t try to create the space, it is already there, just allow your mind to explore. Notice all your senses come alive: smell, touch, sight, sound and even taste!
This technique is amazing for fighting stress, problem-solving and unlocking your inner creativity and wisdom.