Time to Meditate: A Simple Beginner’s Guide
Christine Chen | My Mind
You’d like to be as calm and serene as a monk, but you don’t even know where to begin. Between the kids’ carpool, job demands and errands, how do you find time?
Here’s the good news: it doesn’t take a lot of time to feel the benefits. Meditation can literally change your life today.
Meditation helps you clear the mental blocks that prevent you from making the best decisions for your life. It will also help you be more creative and productive, because a clear mind is like a clean engine — it runs better. Meditation also reduces stress and helps your health. The Mayo Clinic advises that only a few minutes can help you find calm and peace, which boosts your body’s immunity to illness and disease.
When and Where
You can meditate when you’re feeling anxious, as a remedy, or you can do it as a regular session to train your mind and body. One medical study actually found that in just eight weeks, meditation changes your brain to have better memory and focus, among other things. Try it at home, with no distractions, at first. Then, as you feel more comfortable, you can meditate anywhere — on a train, in line — you get the picture.
This is the most challenging part. There are several types of meditation, but start with this simple practice to create greater awareness and contentment.
- Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.
- Close your eyes gently, and think of softening the skin in the areas of your eyes, jaw and forehead.
- Inhale deeply, then open your mouth and let out a sigh.
- Close your lips and start to breathe in and out of your nose, gently and slowly.
- As thoughts come up, acknowledge them, and imagine them floating away rather than assigning feelings, reactions, stories and more to those thoughts.
- Repeat step number five as many times as you’d like (or need).
- At some point, thoughts will cease to arise, and you’ll feel a sense of clarity and calm. Keep breathing.
At first, you’re likely to think nothing is happening, but keep practicing. Eventually, you’ll clear thoughts and their associations easier and more quickly, getting to that clear space in a shorter amount of time. But, remember that this isn’t a race. Meditation is about letting go in your own time and more often in daily living, surrendering to the idea that one moment is exactly that — a moment in time. Over time, this practice will help free you from gripping onto stress and clutter in your brain. You’ll just breathe, move on to the next moment, and live your life. If you want to continue to explore the calm and serenity of the monks, here’s a beautiful way to start practicing loving kindness meditation.