October 14, 2022
Meditation 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Finding Inner Peace.
Do you feel overwhelmed by how much you need to get done? Does it feel like you are constantly stressed and experience forgetfulness? And do you happen to experience stress in your body? If you answered yes to these questions, you have come to the right place. Mindfulness is a great tool to lower stress and help us find equilibrium. However, many of us find it hard to meditate due to some misconceptions I hope to clarify in this article. Here are five things to consider when starting a meditation practice.
Give Up The Control
A common misunderstanding is the need to control our environment by thinking that meditation is only possible in a quiet and controlled place. So we get frustrated when we can’t control the external and end our meditation session early when disrupted by noises around us. For example, our practice used to be near a train track, causing the floor to vibrate each time a train would pass. I used to encourage my clients to incorporate sound and vibration into their meditation. This was the best way to teach some clients how to integrate the environment into their meditation. When meditating, we need to let things be around us as they are.
If you are an over achiever, you might run into the issue of trying to meditate longer in the beginning. Choosing a longer time in the initial phase can cause impatience, irritability, and feeling discouraged. I usually encourage clients to pick a shorter time (like 3 minutes to 5 minutes) and then gradually extend it as you increase their tolerance for the practice. So choose a time that works for you in the beginning.
Be in the Moment
Here is how you can get started. Find a place to set comfortably for a couple of minutes. Decide how long you would like to meditate and set an alarm if that works. Slowly, slowly, begin by noticing your breath. When ready, close your eyes and continue to focus on the breath as you inhale and exhale. Do not try too hard to control your body; just notice your experience at the moment. Absorbe the present moment and let go of any expectations.
The initial goal is to notice how you feel in your body. You can use the Body Scan Technique to notice how you feel from head to toe. If you hear any sounds around you, just incorporate them into your whole experience. If uncomfortable thoughts appear, just notice them and let them go. The goal is not to control anything but just be with everything in a neutral manner. Notice and release whatever comes to mind. Try your best not to label things as good or bad, but just neutrally observe and release them. You can use Leaves on Stream techniques to release your thoughts.
Noticing the Changes
What do you notice as you meditate? Do you feel a sense of clarity, lightness, and renewed energy? Do you notice aches and pains in your body? What you feel and experience is a simple way your body and mind communicate with you. What part of your body needs kindness and compassion today? Do your hands hurt? What can you do to be kind to your hands today? Meditation not only helps us destress but also helps us become more aware of our basic needs.
As you end your meditation, allow a few seconds for your mind and body to notice your surroundings and feel the changes. Maybe spend a minute to notice some revelation and clarity you might have gained through your meditation journey. Consider journaling your thoughts if you happen to have a few minutes.
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