The media certainly portrays meditation as a way to clear our mind completely, almost as if we are sitting with a blank slate in our mind. Which in my opinion is pretty daunting and a tricky expectation to achieve!
You might even type meditation into Google and be bombarded with images of people on beaches, or mountains all wearing yoga wear and that’s fantastic! But not always reflective of our own life.
Or perhaps you want to start learning and think you need a Meditation kit? With candles, music, yoga mats, crystals, salt lamps (yes I do have it all tucked away somewhere), but I can tell you, the main thing you really need is just yourself, and a few minutes of your time.
Yes, ideally we all want a quiet space, but sometimes it's about making the space, even for just a few minutes!
When we change how we look at Meditation, the whole process becomes easier. There is no need to start with a clear mind, or the right candles burning, or even sit in the lotus position. It does however start with you. And perhaps the best thing to do now, is to remove the expectations you have had or hold.
Remove the outcome, and just know that whatever happens it will be an experience. It’s ok not to know how you will feel or what you will gain from relaxing, because whatever happens you will learn something useful for next time.
The main thing right now is, don’t try and clear your mind. For me, Meditation is in fact focusing the mind, focusing to the exclusion of everything else. Whether it’s focusing on a feeling, an image, a sound, colour or something completely unique for you, just begin with something simple and breathe deeply. Your breathing itself is such an important factor when it comes to relaxation and sleep, and when you practice this you will definitely feel the benefit from being relaxed.
There are most definitely practical things you can do to make Meditation easier and some simple steps are below and for this example I will use a meditation focusing on colours.
Find a quiet space you can relax in, and are unlikely to be disturbed
You may find it best to sit in a chair as it’s easier to relax in this position and are less likely to fall asleep.
Begin breathing deeply all the way down to your stomach
Become aware of the present moment and your surroundings
If there are distracting thoughts, don’t attempt to push them away, just notice them, and be curious. It’s alright to let them drift on in their own time.
Focus your mind on the colour relaxation would be for you, as a completely unique individual.
Breathe that colour in to your mind and body slowly
Start with the colour at the top of your head and let it flow all the way down to the tips of your toes for the next few minutes.
Imagine or sense in your own way, how that would look, feel and sound like.
Come back to the room and open your relaxed and awake
It’s a simple as that when starting out! Meditation doesn’t need to be for long, a few minutes will do. But it does need to be consistent. We call it practicing meditation because it takes practice.
Another thing I like my students to know is:
Don't Lie Down!!
You don’t want to fall asleep, as although I’m certain you will feel relaxed from it, it’s not Meditation if there is no awareness there.
If you do enjoy drifting off to sleep with a track even a meditation for sleep one, it’s time to accept its Hypnosis. There’s nothing wrong with doing this, but when you are completely unaware of what’s happening in your Meditation, it really is Hypnosis and you are not gaining the learning or experience of taking yourself into a relaxed state of being by yourself. If in doubt set a timer!
Every so often I will meet a client who experiences a headache after Meditation. This is usually from trying to snap awake to quick after a finishing a Meditation, and not allowing your body to return to fully awake and functioning at the time and pace it needs. So, take it slowly right after wakening, don’t worry about it happening a second time or let it put you off, as the chances really are very low.
Many people say the feel like they are very slowly leaning forward/back or to the side during meditation. This is completely normal, and so is the sensation of feeling your arms or legs very heavy, very light or even floating, also hot, cold, numb or tingling. There is nothing voodoo, there is no magic, and the chances are you’re barely moving at all. I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of people meditating and despite their feelings they usually don’t move much. The sensations are created through changes in our mind as we relax and the brain moves through different states. Most people find these sensations diminish over time and practice of Meditation.
If you are listening to a relaxation track, listen to it fully first. It's always best to give it a test run before a meditation so you aren't jolted awake by sudden, unexpected chanting or similar, and of course nature sounds of rain fall through a jungle will have an effect on your bladder. It might be common sense but many people like to take it into account!
I hope you’ve found this helpful - especially for those just starting out learning something new. If you have enjoyed reading it you can check out some more of our quick read blogs, join us in West Lothian, or start learning right now!
Thanks and good luck!
Love Jennifer x