Trying to start a meditation regime is almost like having sex for the very first time. Not only can it feel awkward, but you have all these unanswered questions. Am I doing it right? How long is this supposed to last? Like how deep is this supposed to go? But fret not, here are some “dos” and “don’ts” of meditation to help you find your “zen” spot.
DON’T TRY TO STOP YOUR THOUGHTS
It’s so hard to silence the mind when you’re trying to meditate. But come to find out, you don’t even have to. Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. It’s about observing them. Suddenly we become the observer of our breath, the noise around us, and especially our thoughts. It’s in those moments of stillness we find peace, regain a footing in our lives, or simply reconnect with our purpose. So instead of getting mad at yourself for getting distracted, observe where you are. Let yourself be there in that moment. Witness your thoughts and let them pass. No judgement. No strain. You will find that with consistent meditation, what starts out as a bunch of chatter in our heads becomes clear, directed thoughts and eventual silence. But it’s a process and something that you can’t control. Meditation is the art of being. You don’t have to do anything else.
DO USE MODERN TECHNOLOGY TO HELP FIND YOUR XI
Unfortunately, there is still no hack for meditation. But modern technology has made it easier for those who can’t seem to drown out the outside noise. You might not be able to be in a room with a dozen chanting monks, but you can still hear them via streaming services such as Pandora or even a quick search on YouTube. Do you like the sound of the rain? Whelp, there’s an app for that. Invest in a small fountain to set your space, try a video/audio guided meditation or even get on the web to find a local group meditation. The resources that are available to us are astounding and some literally a click away. Whatever excuse you’ve created to not meditate for at least five minutes a day has been cancelled out thanks to our modern advances.
DON’T COMPARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH OTHERS
I’ve heard people recount some pretty awesome experiences while meditating — from seeing ellipses of light to even being “visited” by someone who’s passed away. Me on the other hand, I just keep seeing the back of my eyelids. And there’s nothing wrong with that. All three experiences are completely normal. Besides, we meditate for our own benefit, not to swap stories. Your experience is your own and will be as unique as you are. Be open to the world that may or may not open up when you start meditating. As your meditation regime grows, so will your experiences.
DO TRY NEW WAYS OF MEDITATING
When it comes to meditation, there are different forms and there’s no “One Size Fits All.” Some people prefer to meditate through yoga or simply sitting cross-legged on a plush cushion (because we all have one of those lying around). For me, nothing feels more freeing than a brisk jog where I can quiet my mind, zone out and come back to center. Some people meditate through more creative outlets like coloring, writing, or even playing an instrument. What suits you? What activity takes you to a place of mindfulness and introspection? We all live busy and very different lives. Pick a form of meditation that aligns with your journey, specifically. You can even choose a few different forms of meditation if that’s what it takes for you to work it into your daily routine more frequently.
DON’T EXPECT A CERTAIN OUTCOME
The benefits of meditation are astounding and range from increasing creativity, attention span and even immunity. But just because your friend got rid of her anxiety attacks using meditation, it doesn’t mean you’ll have the same results. Meditation is a personal journey. Maybe you won’t notice a difference in your energy or attention the first day or first week. Maybe it’ll take a whole month or two. But you will benefit from consistent meditation.
With our busy lives, it’s the quiet, introspective moments that keep us on track, remind us of who we are and what we are capable of. So however you meditate, just do it.