Meditation 101

I’ve been meditating for about 6 months now and I’ve noticed some significant changes in myself during that time. I’m more confident, less anxious, less stressed, more calm, less busy and more focused. Meditation is something I would have liked to have started in my late teens, I feel like it would have helped me a lot during that time. Here’s a number of lessons I’ve learnt since starting meditation.

  1. Just keep showing up – Like most things in life, consistency is key and meditation is no different. The benefits really start to become apparent when you do it on a daily basis. I’ve had a flu and chest infection the past couple of weeks, but I still showed up everyday to meditate. However, instead of doing my usual 15 or 20 minute session, I dropped it back to 3 or 5 minutes. The fact that I was still doing it daily is more important than how long the sessions are.
  2. The time and place doesn’t have to be perfect – We often talk ourselves out of doing something because all the elements aren’t perfect. “My running shoes aren’t very good, I need better shoes before I can commit to running” or “I don’t have a very good camera, I need a better one before I can take really good photos”. Don’t wait for everything to be right before starting to meditate. Just find a spot and start. Sometimes I meditate in the morning or before bed, or sometimes on my lunch break at work.
  3. There’s no wrong way to meditate – Meditation is a fairly simple exercise. There’s a number of different techniques, visualization, noting, scanning, but for the most part it’s about focusing on a particular thing, i.e. your breath and noticing when you get distracted by your thoughts. That’s really all there is to it. By simply turning up to meditate, you’re already doing it right.
  4. Make meditation a priority – Our priorities are defined by our actions, not our intent. If you want to start meditating on a daily basis, it only takes 5 minutes. Get out of bed 5 minutes earlier or watch 5 minutes less tv. Start small and go from there. In a month you might find that you prioritize mediation a lot more.

I would recommend that everybody try meditation at least once. It’s not a hard skill to start learning, it’s not overly time consuming and the benefits are significant. I can’t imagine my life without meditation now.