Do you want to start meditating but you’re having a hard time figuring out exactly how? Meditation can seem like an intimidating practice in our highly goal-driven society. We all strive to be the best or as close to perfect as humanly possible. In meditation, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about actually taking the time to do it. It’s about intention. Try not to get discouraged if you feel like you’re not “doing it right,” or you can’t fully clear your mind. Training the mind takes years of practice, but you can still receive the health benefits of meditation by practicing at least 5 minutes a day!
Below is a short step-by-step guide for beginners on how to start meditating. You can read this script over before sitting down, closing your eyes, and focusing inward. Remember: don’t get too caught up in the steps if you forget something. The idea is to reduce stress, not create more. Ultimately, do what feels right for you in your practice!
A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
- Sit in a comfortable position where you feel grounded
- Close your eyes or find a spot on the floor in front of you to softly gaze
- Relax your muscles; notice and release any tension held in your face, shoulders, stomach, and legs.
- Return your mind back to your intention for your meditation. Why are you deciding to practice? Recognize that by taking these first steps to meditate, you are already progressing towards the fulfilling life that you want.
- Begin to focus on the breath by taking 10 deep inhales and counting as you open up your lungs to take in the air. On the exhale imagine you are blowing out stress and tension.
- For the next 10 breaths, continue to count your inhale, this time holding your breath at the peak of your inhale for 2 or 3 seconds, and then continue to count as you exhale. Feel the natural stillness that comes with resting the breath at the top.
- Notice any stray thoughts, but try not to engage with them or pass judgment on yourself for having them. Simply let them float through your mind like a cloud would in the sky. Refocus on the breath. You might have to do this many times throughout your practice…that is ok. You are cultivating compassionate determination.
- Try and pick a focal point for your breath. This is where you can best feel your breath. It could be the sensation of air going in and up through your nostrils, or perhaps the spot in-between your eyebrows. Observe the breath at this location, again acknowledging when your mind wanders, and gently returning your attention back to your focal point.
- Just breathe.
- When you feel ready, begin to reawaken your body and mind.
- Keeping your eyes closed, notice the sounds around you, feel the floor beneath you. Notice any body changes that occurred during your practice.
- Sit for a few moments to enjoy how relaxed you feel, allow your mind naturally to return back to a state of alertness without forcing it.
- Slowly return to a standing position and continue with the rest of your day!
Now that you’ve read this meditation script, go out and do it! You are welcome to adjust this script to any amount of time you’d like, by try for a minimum of 5 minutes. If you practice daily, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll be able to sit for longer periods of time!
I used Elliot S. Dacher’s book Aware, Awake, Alive to help with the script. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to take their meditation practice to the next level.