How to Start to Meditate. A Small Guide.
TL;DR: Read the last section containing the how to guide, if that’s all you’re interested in.
Recently a friend asked me: “how do I start to meditate? I want to do it too, but I have no idea how to start.”
This question has been popping up in my head a couple of times since, and honestly, I have no idea how to start. The only thing I know is that you have to start, if you want to do it.
The more interesting question to answer is not how to start, but how to make it stick? And as I just been “meditating” here I realized that it’s not “I want to meditate” that has made it stick for me. As I wrote before, it’s been hard for me to calm down regularly for some time now, but also that the meditative experience itself has changed. The thing that made me sit down and do my meditation was my hyperactivity.
The reason I went to a doctor with my problem was that I was always very twitchy. Twitchy in a self-harming way. I was so nervous that I would scratch my fingers until they bled. Another thing that showed my twitchiness physically, were my legs. I would bob with my knees up and down all the time.
So the reason I started meditating, and what made it stick, was purely health related. I didn’t want to harm myself anymore. The doctor said: “Look you’ve got two choices. Drugs or a natural solution. What’s your pick?” It’s obvious what I chose, but with my choice came a high amount of blind believe, and trust, too. I had to believe that even if I, at the moment, weren’t able to see any reason, or any immediate result, that, after about three months, I would stop scratching my fingers. And I did.
So one of the reasons I meditate is not "to meditate" but rather "to make the twitching not come back". For a similar reason I workout regularly. It’s not “to build muscle”, it’s “because it helps me to balance myself.”
I hope this short introduction helps you find your own personal higher goal.
How to actually start
This is answered really easily: just do it. Just do it one time for a couple of minutes and then see where it takes you.
If you came this far, and now read this post, I am assuming you read some stuff here and there already. This means you are into the topic. You don’t need to read more, you just need to transfer theoretical knowledge into practical experience.
I can assure you, after you do it once, you’ll know more.
How to actually meditate
If that still doesn’t help. Here’s an actual “get started” guide.
- I would recommend to find a quiet place.
- You don’t need fancy equipment.
- You don’t need one of those fancy pillows. A normal chair is good enough.
- You don’t need a clock, or a gong.
- You don’t need music either.
Look, when you just start with meditation, you are the most startupiest meditator of all. An alarm is nice, and those gongs too, but they are even nicer when you have a use for them. When you buy a meditation CD to start to meditate, then whenever you see the CD, it reminds you that you were going to start to meditate, it defeats the purpose.
My doctor recommended “try to be dependent on as few equipment as possible. This way, you don’t need to have the equipment with you, to do a meditation session.” Makes sense?
In regards to the actual meditation itself, I would recommend to play with it. Do your very first session without a clock. Just sit down, and try to calm down. Breath in and out. Maybe you want to concentrate on your breathing. Just sit and relax. Sit for how long as you can bare it. I swear, the first time, you will highly over-estimate how long you’ve been sitting.
Just let it come naturally. If, after a minute, you can’t sit still anymore, end your first session. Try to guess how long you’ve been sitting. That’s the game you can play. How long am I able to sit?
From the first 2 minutes, you can stretch it out over the next three or four sessions. Then continue the game until you can sit still for 15 minutes. With meditation there’s nothing you can do wrong. You either sit, or you don’t. There’s no one who can judge you, there’s only you.
What made me believe in meditation was the fact that it’s me-time. Our whole world is so noisy, and stressful, all the time. We hustle, we make, we build, we think. We put our faces down into our phones and not in the eyes of the people that are dear to our heart. One person we also neglect is ourselves. You meditate to you spend time with yourself. With meditation you get to know yourself.
However, and when, you decide to do your first session. The best recommendation I can give is: start small.