There are many reasons why millions of people meditate and why they find it helpful.
-reduce or eliminate stress
-teach your mind and body to control your thoughts
-get stronger when life throws difficult situations at you
-realize that you are not who you think you are and find your inner self
-reach a state of consciousness where you are always in meditation
Yet, I see many friends who understand these benefits but never start. I understand it.
Why would you spend time quiet eyes closed while you could be just doing so many interesting things?
The answer will only come if you try. The most difficult isn’t to meditate is to decide doing it and then doing it every day.
Here is how to get started and some of the things I learned.
-start with a short session. 5–10 minutes only but commit to it.
-you don’t need a teacher or an app. Just get your phone timer and set it to 5–10 mins.
-sit somewhere quiet and just get your back and neck erect, head-up. You don’t have to try to look like Buddha or hurt your knees. Have a straight back, do not move, close your eyes and stay calm, that’s it. Do not take the pose too seriously.
-observe your breath going in and out of your nostrils (or your mouth if you can’t breathe through the nose).
-each time you have a thought going through your mind do not judge yourself negatively “I am so agitated” but instead observe it as you would look at a cloud passing by and it will soon go. If it’s replaced by another thought it’s okay, observe it too and don’t get upset you cannot get quiet. It takes time to get quiet in meditation (and then all day long). The practice is to observe every thought. Everybody has thoughts.
-if you find it boring it’s perfect, that is exactly what needs to happen. You need to quit your “chasing” mind that wants you to do something and resist. Train it.
-if you do not see the benefits that’s fine too. It’s all about patience and understanding you will see the benefits only after a while. They might come very fast too. They did for me.
It’s great to sit with friends or family. It’s also great to find or even create a group of meditators as group dynamics make it easier.
You can also use an app, there are plenty on your application stores. I don’t use anything else than my phone timer myself.
I highly recommend to go to a meditation retreat. You could do a week-end or a week and there are some near you for sure, there always is.
I started myself with the vipassana 10 day silent meditation and highly recommend it. They have centers all around the World. It is very pure and bare bones and it changed me, it was the beginning of my spiritual path. It’s free and you can only donate after you completed the 10 days. The monks did not even accept me telling them “thank you” and walked away when I tried to talk to them. If you want less bare bones and less strict Pachamama is great in Costa Rica, great master there. If you want higher-end I recommend “Spirit Rock” in California. I have never done a meditation retreat in Europe but for sure there are many excellent ones, start with vipassana.
The best meditation habit is one to two hours a day as this is the most efficient, try it for 90 days uninterrupted and it might change your life.
I will conclude by saying how much it brought to me and the most difficult again is just to decide to start and then do it every day, even for a short time.