If you’re new to meditation, getting started can be the hardest part. One thing to be on the lookout for is your mind which will more than likely throw up every justifiable reason as to why you can’t practice. Some of those roadblocks might include the belief that you don’t have enough time or that sitting in meditation for 10 to 20 minutes a day will be too boring. While both might be true, acknowledge that what’s probably even more true is your resistance which is screwing with you.
Additionally, you can checkout this recent Daily Herald post on beginning meditation. According to Thomi Liebich, while many think that meditation is about disengaging from life, in reality, meditation is about plugging in. He offers 5 tips to help beginning meditators out.
1. Don’t stress: Meditation isn’t tied to a particular religion, nor is it a means of achieving certain states of consciousness, says Liebach. Rather, the mindfulness-meditation strategies he teaches were developed primarily for stress reduction. As a guide for his workshops, Liebach uses the book, “Full Catastrophe Living,” by John Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
“It’s sort of like going to the gym,” he said. “You don’t go to the gym just so you can go to the gym. You go to the gym so you can be healthy in the rest of your life and meditation works in the same sort of way.”
2. Turn off auto-pilot: A big part of meditation is learning how to turn off auto pilot. “So often, we’re on auto pilot,” Liebach said. “We do whatever we’re doing without thinking about it much. We’re usually thinking about the past or the future and we tend to not really even experience what we’re doing right now.”
By teaching yourself to focus on the breath during meditation, you learn how to focus on other things while doing them. “We practice how to pay attention in a certain way. We’re practicing actually being present to our own experiences,” he said.
3. Start with the breath: In simplest terms, mindfulness-meditation is the practice of being aware of breathing. “We don’t really have exercises in mindfulness-meditation, we just watch the breath,” Liebach said. Identify a spot where you feel your breath, like at the entrance to the nostrils or in the belly. Then try to stay focused on that one spot.
4. Wanderlust: If your mind wanders during meditation, don’t beat yourself up because of your inability to concentrate. “When we know that our mind has been wandering we tend to be very judgmental, we tend to put ourselves down,” Liebach said. “The practice is to simply know what is happening, to let go of the distracting thought and to gently bring your attention back to the breath.”
5. Time it right: A common reason people give for not meditating is that they don’t have time. But meditation doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, Liebach says. “What’s more important than a long time is the frequency,” he said. So pick a time that works for your schedule and stick to it. For information on shorter, self-guided meditations, Liebach recommends “Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation,” by Sharon Salzberg.
Read more from Liebich on beginning your meditation practice here.