How to Meditate (or at least how I meditate)
How to Meditate (or at least How I Meditate)
I’ve heard people say they don’t meditate because they can’t turn off their racing mind, or they can’t sit still. Think about it: The whole point (I think) of meditation is to help you learn to quiet your mind. That’s why it’s called practicing meditation. If you started to play the violin, you wouldn’t fret (get it?) that you couldn’t step immediately onto the stage at Carnegie Hall and play like Hilary Hahn or Niccolo Paganini, would you? So it is with meditation—one practice session at a time.
Here’s what works for me. I find it best to meditate first thing in the morning (or at least right after I’ve had some coffee). We have a chair that I don’t normally use at other times, but because it’s comfortable yet not too much (think Goldilocks), it keeps me in the right posture for meditation. Years ago I used a yoga cushion, but I just can’t bend my knees that way now.
I have two apps, Insight Timer and Calm. Both have a variety of guided meditations. Insight Timer also allows me to set a time period for meditation, as well as pleasant background sounds and periodic gongs. I usually set my timer for 20 minutes, but if all I can do is 5 minutes, that’s what I set it for.
Calm recently added a 30-part “How to Meditate” series. Each session covers an aspect of meditation and is about 10 minutes. The instructor is Jeff Warren. His instructions are clear and upbeat. He wrote a book called Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics (sound like you?). LeBron James also has a 5-session series on how he develops his mental fitness. Wow!
Anyone can meditate. If I can do it, so can you. Try it. If all you can do is a minute, do it. If your mind races, so what? Just breathe, focus on a sound, feel your heartbeat, notice the warmth in your fingertips. Whatever works for you. Just get started. Saffron robes not required.