Meditating For Newbies

Meditating 101

So you read my edge of the seat stuff in my mindfulness post and now like that sales man that sells you a heap of shit you never needed nor wanted I have gotten you here to sell your soul to your self… Beyond the profundity let’s get into the guts of this.

Meditation is both simple and difficult.

Sitting is simple but can you sit in a way that you aren’t slouched over looking like Quasimodo? If not you’re gonna be sore the first few times you meditate. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to sit in a Lotus Position or any other botanically orientated way. Just sitting in a chair is good enough, as long as your spine is straight. The reason for this is it aids concentration. When you are slouched over and hunched up like a ’90s Disney witch then you will fall asleep.

So sit down. Step one complete. I personally sit on the floor with my legs crossed because it’s comfortable. To get into it you just want to keep your eyes open while you take a few deep breaths to just bring your breath back into regulation and calm yourself down from whatever you’ve been doing. These few deep breaths just slow everything back down.

When you close your eyes let your breathing return to normal. Whatever your normal breaths are, do them, don’t consciously breath, you go every minute of your life not consciously breathing so don’t start now! You want to watch your breath, be aware of it and follow its movement and the movement of your chest but you don’t want to control it. You know when you learn to swim and the first few minutes you are consciously breathing but then after five minutes you just adapt and breath normally? Do that! When you get better at swimming you notice your mind wanders to what you’re having for lunch for if the lifeguard thinks you’re a fat mess. While you are doing that you’ve just been swimming and breathing.

Now that your eyes are closed and you are breathing normally, just notice the movement of your chest with your breaths. Just notice how it rises and falls. Becomes harder and then softer. After a few breaths just notice all the sounds that are around you, cars driving by your house, the neighbors television set, whatever. Just notice it. Then turn your notice to your body, how is it feeling? Are you tired? Are you sore anywhere? Do you have an itch? Don’t scratch it! Just notice it. That’s all, it will go. As you will learn through meditation, everything is ephemeral and that itch will pass and you won’t even notice it has passed even after all the thoughts of wanting to scratch it!

Now comes the gravy to mindfulness or meditation. Just focus your whole mind on your breath. In, out, in out. That is all there is. You can count your breaths, counting up to ten and starting again at one. Or you can simply note, ‘in, out, in out’. Or you can just concentrate on the rise and fall of your chest. Or even notice the feeling of air passing into and out of your nose. Whatever method you choose you are essentially watching your breath.

Now when you notice your mind has wandered don’t get angry or distracted simply say in your head whether it was a thought or feeling you had. Then go straight back to watching your breath. That is it, keep doing this for ten minutes. No more than that. You wouldn’t run a marathon with no training so don’t meditate long without building up to it.

When you are ready to finish just take your mind off your breath and notice the noises around you again, notice how your body feels and when you’re ready open your eyes. Be careful to do this last step, going straight from a seriously relaxed state into jumping up onto your feet can make you light headed and fall over, trust me, I’m an idiot, I know what I’m talking about on this one.

So here are the steps:

1) Get comfy, spine straight.

2) Take a few deep breaths

3) Close your eyes and allow your breath to return to normal

4) Notice the sounds around you and how your body feels

5) Move your concentration onto your breath

6) Note every thought or feeling that distracts and move back to your breath

7) Before finishing just take in your surrounding sounds and notice your body

8) Take what you practiced in meditating and use it for the rest of the day

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