“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.” – Eckhart Tolle
As meditation becomes more and more integral to people’s lives, there still lingers a misunderstanding that this relaxation practice is a luxury only meant for people who have the time and resources to obtain its benefits. This myth, however, deserves to be bunked once and for all.
Meditation is portable, free, and requires minimal time. If you’ve always been interested in meditation but felt it was beyond your understanding or means, stop right there. Pausing and resting one’s mind is not an indulgence – for many people around the world, it’s a necessary step to feeling a personal equilibrium and tranquility in their everyday lives. Meditation is a practice that is available to everyone, regardless of their history, social status, fitness level, and schedule.
The simplest method of meditation to start with is to seek genuine gratitude. With a grateful heart, there is room for understanding, kindness, creativity, compassion, relaxation, and positivity. Meditation also allows you to instantly connect with your body, making you feel present and grounded. Doing so can help you find that wise, calm, and centered place you’ve always been searching for.
Forget about all the common notions that revolve around meditation. You don’t have to completely clear your mind and you don’t have to feel empty. Simply allow thoughts to flow like ripples in a pond. Allow all thoughts to enter and leave at their own will. Going beyond your emotions allows you to move past a constant dialogue in your mind and understand that there is more to you and life than these thoughts and feelings. You’ll begin to understand that these thoughts are constantly draining you and you begin to experience yourself.
If you’ve in the midst of constructing your inner sanctuary via meditation or need some help doing so, try the following tips that are sure to boost your meditation game in no time.
- Learn to let go effectively. Avoid trying to imitate the same feelings you’ve experienced in your previous meditation sessions. Learn to let go of what you think this practice is and expect something new each time, or maybe even don’t expect anything at all. Understand that expectations can fixate you in the past and make you forget the true essence of meditation – to exist in the present moment. Every day is different with its own new set of gifts and challenges, so allow your meditation to guide you where it wishes. Avoid chasing, and simply let everything flow and unfold in its path. This is a skill that takes practice, so if you’re just starting out, it’s definitely something worth striving for.
- Don’t get caught up in the “how”. Most people get caught up worrying about the how, where, and what – where to sit, how to relax, how to sit, what rug or cushion to use, what pose to maintain – the list goes on. While these things may sound like they can improve your meditation, they aren’t what’s most important in your practice. Even if you don’t have a special corner in your home for meditation, know that you can meditate anywhere – even where you’re sitting right now. Just sit anywhere! And don’t worry about the length of time that you meditate. Even just a few minutes of mindful meditation will calm your body and mind. If you’re a beginner, try it for just a few minutes, and think about upgrading later when you can sustain a comfortable position for longer. In the beginning, however, just find somewhere comfortable and quiet, and you’ll be on the right track to mindfulness.
- Create your own space. As mentioned above, meditation can be performed anywhere, whether you’re in a park, at a yoga studio, or even in bed. But if you can, find a happy and calm place in your home or workplace and set it aside for meditation. Make sure this spot is clutter-free and if possible, decorate it with items and pictures that boost your creativity and inspire you. The items you place in this corner can be as simple as a rug and cushion, placed exclusively for your practice. You don’t need to dedicate an entire room to meditation—even a small corner of your home will do. Setting aside a special place can boost the effectiveness of this practice and make you feel more comfortable, which may encourage you to meditate more often.
- Try new methods. As meditation becomes more and more popular by the day, new technologies are matching its growth. If you have trouble staying on a meditation schedule or you need a little more guidance in your practice, try an app like Headspace which will give you reminders and a meditation schedule to follow as well as a daily walkthrough. It’s especially helpful for people with busy schedules. You can even use it on your train ride home! There are also plenty of YouTube videos that can help guide you through your daily practice. If you have trouble concentrating in general and want an extra boost to clear your mind, vitamin and all natural nootropics supplements might do the trick. If you need a little extra body support when meditating, try a meditation bolster, pillow, or mat that will give your back and behind a bit more cushing. A little more comfort will encourage you to continue through your meditation practice and have you looking forward to your next.
- Be kind to yourself. Sometimes it’s difficult not to compare yourself to others and their successes and accomplishments. A great benefit of meditation is learning the understanding that we are all on our own paths in life. Remember to be compassionate to yourself and apply this understanding to your meditation practice. There will be days when you feel focused and energetic, while on others you may feel dull, foggy-brained, and uninspired. Some days your meditation may not feel like it’s progressing as your mind continues to wander and your body feels anxious and antsy. Remember that every practice in life has peaks and valleys, so don’t stress too much on days like this. Take some extra self-care, have a good laugh, and understand that new challenges act as reminders to let you know that you’re still human.
Author’s Bio: Samantha is a writer, yoga enthusiast, part-time vegan, and online marketing researcher based in Berlin, Germany.