Many of us who have tried meditating for the first time have such a discouraging experience, we claim that we can’t meditate and leave it at that. Many of us have sat down and closed our eyes and “tried not to think of anything” only to realise, guess what... we are thinking of everything! To those, I say, “Congratulations, you’ve successfully sat through your first meditation session, and had the same experience as many of the great masters.”
What you have experienced is an increased awareness. That can only happen when you stop to sit and try to control the mind. You'll suddenly be aware of your body, your to-do list, the last argument you had, and the list is endless. This enhanced awareness is the first important step to meditating. The next step is to take out the fight.
Controlling the thoughts in the mind is definitely not easy, but it’s not impossible either. It takes practice, practice, practice. I’ve been meditating for about 15 years and have to say that I have good days and bad days. It's impossible to begin meditating with the attitude that you will feel calm right away. That's just unrealistic. Try riding a wild horse in a day... get where I'm heading?
The benefits of meditation are endless, but in order to receive them, it takes commitment, dedication and most importantly patience. If you have none of those, well... then I say that it’s even more important for you to try meditating!
When starting a meditation practice, preparation is key. As the saying goes, "Every job well begun is half done." This applies to meditation as well. Below are some hints to preparing yourself to meditate:
1) Find a clean and quiet place to meditate. Either visit a meditation centre or create a place in your home quiet and free of clutter and disturbances. Finding the space isn't always an easy task, but it's important to create the space.
2) Set a regular time to meditate. You'll never find the time, so you need to make the time. Easiest to do it when you wake up and before your check your iPhone, and also just before you sleep. Again, keep the iPhone at bay unless you are using a new app that will help you with your meditation.
3) Talk to your co-habitants about your new regime and solicit their help and encouragement. Request for respect of your newly created space and time and work together to make some ground rules. Perhaps you'll find a meditation buddy in your roommate or child.
4) Comfort is so important. If you cannot sit in Lotus position, it's fine. Sit in a comfortable and steady position that allows your spine to be tall with the head, neck and trunk aligned and relaxed. If sitting on the floor is not comfortable, you can opt to sit in a chair.
5) Regularity is key. Two minutes done regularly is so much more effective than 30 minutes done once in a while. If we have a busy season, we will likely forgo a practice if it takes 30 minutes, as we think it will save us time. But it doesn't. Actually the time you take to meditate will sharpen your brain like you wouldn't believe. So try 2 minutes at first and increase gradually. If you're up to 30 on a good day but then run into a time crunch in your life, don't skip the practice. Just decrease the time to something you're okay with.