Want to start meditating? Here are some pointers.

I have had a couple of people ask me recently the same thing, can I give them some tips on how to get started with developing a meditation practice. More and more people are starting to realise that there are countless benefits to our whole wellbeing that a daily meditation practice can bring. 

So why would you want to meditate? Where to start. You can google it and find out the abundance of positive effects of meditation to see for yourself, but here are a few that have had the most impact on me personally. The most immediate benefits are that it quiets your mind and gives you space to stop, to breathe, to centre yourself. I almost find it is like a recalibration to myself. The more you practice, the more you train your mind and you are better able to witness your thoughts, not only while you are meditating, but eventually in everyday situations. You are able to better handle difficult situations, your reactions to them and you come from a place of calm and understanding.

Meditation also your trains your mind to be in the present moment, instead of always thinking of the next thing, or re-churning past events in your mind.  Like one of my favourite Eckhart Tolle quotes says: "People don't realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind".

When you get really still in the present moment you are much better able to hear your intuition and inner guidance.  Got some difficult decisions to make?  Meditate. I guarantee you when you quiet your mind enough to listen to your gut feeling inside, you will know what what you need to do. 

So how do you get started? There are so many different forms of meditation and breathing, but for now, here a few basics to get started on your journey.

The first ting is to find somewhere quiet where you won't be disturbed, if possible. This might mean getting up a few minutes early in the morning to have peace and quiet, or closing all doors, or going out to your car at lunchtime.  I usually have two dogs trying to get in on the action. In your space, sit upright comfortably, cross-legged on the floor, or in a chair. Close your eyes and just breathe.

Bring your attention to your breath and just notice how you are breathing, don't try to control your breath, how deep or quick it is, just watch it, as if your body is breathing by itself (which it is), and you are witnessing your body in action. If you find your mind starts to wander, you can count on the breath, so count 1 in, 2 out, all the way up to 10 and go back to 1 again.  This keeps you focussed on your breath.

Another way instead of counting is to watch your thoughts as the come.  Recognise the thought and let it go, bringing your attention back again to your breath.  Keep doing this as your thoughts come and go. 

As you are doing this, sometimes when your mind gets really quiet, you catch a thought, and your mind will have a sense of clarity about it. If this happens just go with it, and listen to what this thought has to say, without actively thinking about or judging the thought.

Keep a notebook nearby and afterwards write down any insights that came to mind - you might be surprised by the power and clarity of your own mind in doing this. 

You can set a timer on your phone and start for 5 or 10 minutes and build it up to 20 or 30, also depending on how much time you have.  I would say it is better to do it little and often than not at all.

I hope this is of some help in your meditation journey, especially if you are new to it. If you have any thoughts or questions, I would love to hear from you!