I have talked about it already: the mind. Too often, the mind is trying to fool us into negativity, pessimism and self-doubts. What to do about it? Well, it all sounds so easy:’Quiet down the mind, remember that you are not your mind, but just the observer and free to choose whether to use your mind or not.’As I am in a constant battle with my mind, which for some reason keeps finding reasons to doubt and criticize myself and everything that I am doing. I have wanted to quiet down my mind for years now. However, all that I have been doing so far was distracting myself. Watching series after series just to reach a state of not thinking, or whenever an ugly thought popped up I reached for my phone forcing myself to think about anything but myself and push this scary feeling away.
When being completely honest, I knew it wasn’t really working. I had trouble falling asleep at night, once I failed at distracting myself I was overwhelmed by the immensity of my mind and unable to deal with it… Whether you feel the same or not, I am certain that all of us are facing the same issue in a more or less intensive way. That is why I want to share my super-duper-tool: MEDITATION.
But how to get started? When meditation first got my attention, I didn’t know where to start and read one article after another trying to find some rules or clues to follow. Since this was not easy and also not really helpful, I want to try and give you some of these clues to get started with practicing meditation regularly:
♥ Where? The space.
Create a quiet and comfortable space for your meditation practice. If you have a spare room or one that is only used occasionally this is ideal. If not, a little corner in any other room that can offer silence and solitude is great, too. Once you have found your corner, create a relaxing and calming atmosphere. This can really mean anything. When I practice meditation, for example, I light up a little candle and turn off any other light, and sit on a cushion. This helps me become still. Find out what works best for you.
♥ How? The seat.
First of all, you don’t have to sit in a full lotus position in order to meditate! What a relief, huh?! All you need to do is, finding a comfortable seat that allows you to sit upright and still. This can be a simple cross-legged position, half- or full-lotus seat, your heels, but you can also sit on a chair, a cushion, up against a wall to support your back. Try it and see what works best for you. Once you have that position, gently lay down your hands on your legs and let yourself become still.
♥ What? The focus.
Once you have created the space and found your seat, you will soon realize that your mind will start telling you that it’s stupid, uncomfortable and you should be doing the laundry instead or get started with sorting our your financials. In short, you will be thinking about anything. Therefore, set your focus on your breathing. Do not control your breath but simply watch your inhales and exhales. Because I still struggled with simply observing my breath, I began counting my exhales from 1 to 10. Whenever I got lost in a thought or got to 10, I started over again. I have now gone over to a simple, but yet meaningful little mantra: let – go. On every inhale I silently say let, on every exhale I silently say go.
♥ How long? The time and routine.
The question of how long one should meditate is difficult and I would even say impossible to answer. Instead I would ask: How long do you want to meditate? Get started on meditation and try it for 3 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes,…. see for yourself. I can only speak for myself, but once I have seen and felt the benefits of meditation I stopped thinking about setting a timer, but did as I wanted and needed it. The same goes for the routine. If you feel that everyday is too much for you and it becomes more of a responsibility or burden for you, try once or twice a week in the beginning. Meditation is about taking time for yourself and not another thing you have to put in your calendar. Once you start feeling the benefits from your practice, everything will come automatically and you will manage to find the time and motivation.