5 MINUTE READ
Meditation can be a daunting subject. While it has become more of a trending self-care recommendation as the wellness industry has grown, many questions about what it is and how to do it still remain for most. When it comes to, “What actually IS meditation?, How do I do it? and Where do I start?”, here is some guidance that I find helpful. First, it is important to clear out the idea about what you think meditation IS based on what you’ve heard or seen in order to open up a vast realm into what it CAN BE for YOU.
While meditation CAN involve sitting in a cave in the mountains for long periods of time, leading to profound insights, it does not have to look like that for one to experience a significant improvement in their quality of life. Yes, meditation can involve sitting still in a particular posture in a pristine and ideal environment with the lights dim, incense burning and stillness all around. But it can also look like sitting in the corner of your untidied living room with dinner cooking in the oven and the sounds of your kids watching TV in the next room. I’m not going to say that one is more valuable than the other because it is simply not true. One of the main purposes of meditation is to experience things exactly as they are, without resistance, just witnessing and being present. Taking a pause wherever you are, whatever the circumstances of your inner or outer environment can provide you with a completely applicable platform with witch to do this.
Further, in order to engage in a mindfulness practice such as meditation, you do not have to be sitting, your eyes do not have to be closed, and you do not have to walk away from it having received some life changing insight. While you might be on a beautiful hike or taking a peaceful stroll through the forest, you might also be at the grocery store at 5:30 p.m. waiting in what seems like an immobile checkout line or at work dealing with some sort of fundamental system malfunction. While some scenarios present you with an opportunity to be more still, connected, and less agitated, others give you an opportunity to be in a state of mental or emotional space that is not pleasurable, which is rich territory to explore. Each and every scenario provides you with the opportunity to pay attention, observe, and choose where to put your focus.
A very important point of guidance is to start small, start simple, and start with something that is realistic for YOU. Again, you do not have to feel like you have to make a mecca to some sacred land for months in order to be “doing meditation right” or making a positive impact in your life. Does 5 minutes sound realistic to you? Does every night sound attainable or is even the mere thought of that feel overwhelming with where you are at in your life at the moment? Maybe 5 minutes 3 times a week is a good place to start. Maybe 30 minutes once a week seems more your style? Maybe taking that hike and setting an intention to be as present as you can on the trail sounds like something you’d like to strive for. Only you will know. Listen to you your inner voice for guidance on where seems like a good place to start and get rid of any preconceived notions about what is expected of you.