I’ve recently started mediating. There are tons of reason to begin doing this, most if not all of them health related. Some people mediate to increase their ability to be more mindful on a daily basis, to combat anxiety or to bring down their blood pressure. Of course, I’d heard of meditating for years and for the most part didn’t participate other than once every few months when my anxiety got really bad. I decided to make it into a daily practice after hearing in one of my audiobooks that this is how you listen to the Universe and get direction. Now, I certainly believe God talks to us in other ways than meditating, but I wanted to make sure I opened up every channel, because I’m ready to listen. I spend a lot of time in prayer, but it’s said that this is how we talk to God. Reading and meditating is how we listen. SO! In case you’re looking to build this practice into your daily life, here are five tips to help you get started and maintain your meditative practice…
1. Set your intentions
This one is helpful just to give your brain some direction. You’re not creating thoughts, rather telling the Universe what you’d like help with. You can ask a question before closing you eyes, focus on a word during meditation, imagine yourself in your ideal state or anything else you’d like to move your live towards or away from. This one may feel like an ambiguous tip, but it kinda is. Your intentions are totally up to you and how you approach your meditation is as well. I like to either ask a question before I meditate or repeat a mantra during meditation. This doesn’t mean you’ll get your answer or suddenly feel like forgiving that ex, but it does allow you to be open to receiving and let’s the Universe know what is most important on your heart.
2. Set an alarm or put it in your planner
If you do not set a time frame before hand to meditate, it’s a lot less likely to happen. I set a time to meditate on my lunch break. This is the best time for me because my partner and my dog are not home and the only distractions are the ones I create (social media, television, cleaning to procrastinate doing work, etc). By putting it in your planner or setting a timer, you are letting your subconscious know that this is important. But this tip is two-fold. You must also keep your date with yourself and follow through. If you keep snoozing that alarm or scratching it out in your planner, you then let your subconscious know that the alarms and notes you set don’t mean much, and that well bleed into other parts of your life outside of just meditating.
3. Choose your atmosphere and create ambiance
I typically mediate in one of two places… on my bed or in my home office. I’ve created an atmosphere in both of those spaces that is clear, filled with good energy and comfortable for me. Once you know where you want to be, decide on how you want to feel based on what you’d like to hear. You could choose a playlist on Spotify, use that one ocean setting on your alarm clock that you never use, or use an app. Tyler and I use the app Insights timer. I’m still new to it but I am able to choose bells to start and end my meditation, what kind of music or chanting I’d like to hear and how long it will go for.
4. Set a timer
For me, this is essential. I would check my phone every 45 seconds if I was just guessing on when I was done. I would love to suggest just going into the flow and letting the music see where it takes you, but as a novice, sitting still and allowing my thoughts to melt away is hard! Ultimately, it takes practice, just like anything else. I love the Insights Timer because I can set how long I’d like to meditate for as well as if I’d like interval bells. So! If you need to know when you’re halfway through your ten-minute meditation with a bell, you can do that!
5. Give yourself grace
This one is especially important for novice mediators because quieting your mind is hard and honestly, meditating for the first few times can be really uncomfortable. Swirling thoughts and then frustration because you cant shut your mind up, wondering what it is God would like to tell you and if you can actually hear it, but what will it sound like and dang I’m hungry, I wonder how many likes I got on that picture… yeah. Welcome to my brain. I’m certainly getting better at it, but I had to learn to allow those thoughts to come in and kindly, woosh them out. I allow myself to “see” the thought and then like its flowing down a river, allow it to pass. Don’t beat yourself up for not being as Zen as you want to be. Instead, take it slow and practice, practice, practice.