Nikki Harper – Meditation is known to bring enormous benefits to our lives. Numerous studies have shown that it can help to boost creativity, calm anxiety, increase productivity and lower blood pressure – and it’s also one of the best ways to create a more spiritual approach to daily life. But not everyone finds it easy – in fact, starting a daily meditation practice can be quite a challenge. If you’ve tried but think you “can’t meditate”, you’re not alone. Here are some tips to help you get going.
1. Think Little, But Often
Many beginners to meditation think they simply don’t have time to meditate – who can afford to give up half an hour a day in these stressful, busy times? In truth, however, meditation doesn’t have to be done for very long at all in order to bring you benefits. You can start with as little as five minutes – the crucial thing is that you meditate every day.
Building up a habit of any kind takes practice, but recent informal research has shown that once you have meditated for 11 days in a row, you’re likely to keep going. Can you give up five minutes a day for 11 days? Yes, you can. And – as you can see below – you don’t even necessarily have to stop your daily tasks in order to meditate.
2. Meditation in Motion
Another common misconception is that you must sit still to meditate. Not so. You can enter a meditative state of mind while engaged in any routine task where you can safely allow your mind to wander. Meditate while you’re weeding the garden, or washing the dishes.
Rhythmic, repetitive actions lend themselves especially well to mediation, so you could meditate while you’re walking or running. Think of a single word mantra such as “hope” or “peace” and simply silently repeat it with each step you take. Try to focus just on the word, and nothing else, and you’ll quickly enter a meditative state.
Some activities, such as tai chi, deliberately encourage a meditative state of mind while you repeat cycles of movements – look into this if you think it might suit you.
3. The Meditative Gaze
The whole “empty your mind” thing can be very daunting to beginners in meditation, as it is simply so hard to tune out our busy thoughts. Many beginners find it helpful to have an object to focus on rather than trying to close their eyes to meditate. If you meditate outside, choose a simple object such as a stone or a log. Get yourself comfortable, and just stare at your object, bringing your eyes back to it each time you find them wandering. Remember, you’re only aiming for about five minutes, so this is not as difficult as you might think.
If you’re indoors, a candle flame is a classic meditation tool, and sitting in a darkened room can also help to still your mind.
4. Guided Meditations
Meditation doesn’t have to be done in silence. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with listening to a guided meditation track in order to help you. There are thousands to choose from, ranging from almost silence, to chants, to imaginative and creative meditation “journeys” to wondrous places. Why not choose a selection and experiment to see what suits you best? You won’t enjoy all kinds of guided meditation, or all kinds of voices, but you’re sure to find something which works for you.
Likewise, meditative music can be used to aid your meditation. If you use music, it helps to use the same short track each time you meditate – soon, your brain will come to recognize this as “meditation time”, which will help you to enter a contemplative state much faster.
Once preconceptions about how to meditate are swept aside, you’ll probably find it easier than you think. Think you can’t meditate? Try these tips and see – you’ll probably surprise yourself.
SF Source Wake Up World Jan 2020