Meditation: How Do I Get Started?

Just Sit

Just Sit

Ok. You realize you want all the benefits that meditation can offer you. Now how do you start? Here are a few ways I got started plus more from one of my favorite blogs ThinkSimpleNow.

• Take a Beginner Meditation Class offered at many Yoga Studios
• Use guided meditations such as found in the app “Insight Timer” which you can download onto your phone for free
• Choose a time to meditate for five minutes every day for twenty-one days such as before you get out of bed in the morning, right before you go to sleep at night, right after the kids go off to school, the beginning of your lunch hour; connect it to something you do every day.
• Start with a short amount of time and do it consistently. The science shows that consistency is the key, not necessarily the length of time.
• Create a space in your home to meditate. It doesn’t have to be big, just special. Include a candle or any piece of memorabilia that has meaning to you or photos of loved ones.

Ideas from Tina Su at ThinkSimpleNow:

• Zazen or what swamiji calls “Just Sit”. From Zen techniques and also used in transcendental meditation. This is the simplest technique of meditation:

A. Find a comfortable place. Sit with your back straight. It’s important that you are not lying down or slouching as you might fall sleep. Make sure you won’t be disturbed by closing the door and turning off or placing the phone in silent mode.
B. Let your hands rest naturally and comfortably in your lap, or on top of each other.
C. Close your eyes.
D. Start breathing deeply and fully, eventually to a natural breathing rhythm.
E. Focus on your breath and nothing else.
F. When a thought comes, acknowledge the thought, let it pass, and go back to focusing on your breath.

• “Being with Sound”, an alternative technique to the above:

A. Find really calming music, either light classical or nature music.
B. Do A-C from above.
C. Focus on the sound of music and nothing else. Put all your attention on the sound.
D. When a thought comes, acknowledge it, let it pass, and go back to focusing on the sound.

•  Guided Meditations by Deepak Chopra – This is a great guided meditation CD for beginners. Techniques on gratitude and forgiveness are very enlightening. If you are serious about meditating or have experiences with other techniques, these meditations may not feel as effective for you. Give yourself an hour or two to go through this CD the first time, to identify which of the meditations you connect most with. Build a routine around those particular meditations.

• Local Meditation Groups. I found it helpful, especially when starting out to find a group of people who regularly meditate together. It helps to keep the energy and momentum going for your own practices, but also, I’ve found the energy field to be more intense when I am sharing the experience with other people, both friends and strangers. It’s always so calming to sit together with a group of peaceful people. I practice with a group on Sunday mornings, 2-3 times a month. For me, leaving the weekly satsang feels like leaving a day at the spa. I feel refreshed and centered. Here are some ideas for finding a group near you:

A. Zen meditation group – They usually have group zazen sessions several times a week with sessions between 30-60 minutes long. The hours for these (in my area) tend to be quite early in the morning. Just Google “Zen Meditation Groups” for groups near you.
B. Buddhist temples. Try doing a google search for a Buddhist temple in your local area. They typically have group meditation sessions several times a day. Lots of options in terms of time slots. The techniques may vary at different temples, but the underlying purpose is the same.
C. Eckhart Tolle Silent Groups – Typical format consists of silent meditation for 10-15 minutes at the start and end of a meet-up. Including a 30-60 minute video in between. You can find a list of contacts for your city from eckharttolle.com or check if there’s a local meetup in your area.
D. Meetup.com Groups – Meetup.com is pretty cool for finding local interest groups with in-person gatherings. Try doing a search for the word “meditation” in your area code.

I hope you’ll choose one idea from this list and start your practice today. Find a friend who would also like to learn and support each other in the process. Together you can reduce your stress, heal your soul and create more joy, calm and inner peace.

Namaste.

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