“Most people assume that meditation is about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind. But actually, it’s about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going.” – Andy Puddicombe
It is true: Meditation is not the practice of clearing your mind of all thoughts. Who can do that anyway?! The first time I sat down to meditate my mind jumped from one thought (what am I going to make for dinner tonight?) to another (is the 2 minutes almost up?) to another (F*!? I suck at this!). A wandering mind is normal and meditation is called a practice because you can always get better at it and it will never be perfect.
Want to give it a try?
1. Find a quiet place that is away from distractions and noise.
2. Sit with your back, neck, and head in a straight line.
3. Focus on your breath or try focusing on just one thought or word.
A few techniques that work best for me personally (read Type A personality): sit with your back up against a wall or chair for support, set the timer for 2 minutes a day to start - then gradually work your way up to 5 and then 10 minutes (a timer will keep you from constantly checking the clock), and either count your inhales and exhales (1…2…3…4…) slowing down your breath, or think the word “inhale” as you inhale and “exhale” as you exhale.
Need a bit more of a nudge to get started? There are apps you can download to guide you through it. My personal favorite is Buddhify, and another great one is Headspace. There are also corporate wellness companies, like Goomi, who offer guided meditation at your office.
It is medically proven that meditation can benefit both your mind and body. So grab a mat, pillow, patch of grass, beach towel, ANYTHING, sit down and get started!