-- Cristina Trinidad
In honor of National Meditation Month, I wanted to share some meditation basics, along with some tips to help get you started with your own home practice.
What is meditation?
Well, to begin, meditation is likely not as complicated and esoteric as you might imagine. In fact, you have probably already meditated if you’ve ever practiced Savasana at the end of your yoga class. (You know—that pose where you lay there on your mat after practice—and if anyone were to walk by, you would appear asleep.) In meditation, the goal is to quiet the mind, and then hold that quiet for a period of time. The intention is peace, calm, and cultivating space to allow your unique inner voice to speak.
Sounds simple, right? It is—sort of—but it takes some practice. For example, your first time sitting could be a meditation on how cold you are, or how many yoga blocks are on the shelf. You may even fall asleep the first few times you try. Instead of getting frustrated, or angry, try to simply accept that this is where you are in your meditation. Don’t berate yourself for it. Make an impartial note of how you felt this time, and then move on.
There are some do’s and don'ts of course:
Why do you need meditation?
The simple answer to this question is: for many, very personal and varied reasons. For me, meditation has been a series of a-ha moments. While doing a guided meditation on self love, a phrase was spoken for the listener to repeat to themselves: “I love you. I am listening.” I realized that I had never spoken those words to myself before. I strung them together for friends, family and even neighbors, but never myself. Why wouldn’t we be just as loving to ourselves as we are to others? I've learned that these questions and thoughts are the result of what meditation can bring to the surface.
Meditation is seemingly simple, as you truly need nothing more than a moment, and a seat. But look deeper and you’ll see that it’s not easy to sit still. In a world where we are always expected to be on, and moving, taking the time to “do nothing” seems to many people to be a waste. If you make meditation a frequent part of your life, you’ll notice that the business of life needn't be so. Your practice of alert stillness will help you live in the present moment, rather than the past or future. And why is this important? Well because life is happening right now. When we tune out on the present, we tune out on the very essence of life itself. Meditation is the answer for that.
How can you start?
There’s an App for that!
Apps are great because they can set reminders for you to keep up with your practice. (Finally, a notification worth paying attention to!) You are also introduced to different guided meditations that can be helpful to newer practitioners.
“It is never too late for any of us to look at our minds. We can always sit down and allow the space for anything to arise. Sometimes we have a shocking experience of ourselves. Sometimes we try to hide. Sometimes we have a surprising experience of ourselves. Often we get carried away. Without judging, without buying into our likes and dislikes, we can always encourage ourselves to just be here again and again and again.” From When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chӧdrӧn
Do you meditate? What are some of your tips that keep you coming back to your practice?