A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Home Meditation Practice
The first step is clearly identifying which goals you want to achieve. Get specific. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Are you all about locking in leads? Do you want to establish a strong network of influencers that can help you be discovered? How about pushing engagement on social media?
- 1. Just Breathe
First, take a comfortable seat. You can sit cross-legged or kneel on the floor, or you can sit in a chair if that’s more comfortable.
- Once you are settled in, pay attention to your natural breath. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, you may find that elongating your exhale helps you to feel calmer.
- When you first begin your meditation, keep your eyes open with a soft gaze and take five deep breaths in through your nose and out your mouth. If you’re comfortable doing so, at the beginning of the fifth breath, gently close your eyes. At the end of your fifth exhale, gently bring your lips to touch and transition to breathing in and out through your nose. Continue this way of breathing for the duration of your meditation.
- 2. Be Here Now
If you lose count, practice not getting frustrated with yourself. Just start again. Using the breath to create a singular point of focus is key for mindfulness meditation. That’s because meditation is about being present with how and who we are right now. The present is a midline—informed by our past, and aiming at everything we aspire to be. It all makes up the now. Everything is always now.
- Keep your focus on your breath by counting up to ten in five-breath cycles. The first in-breath as one, exhale two, and so on. Once you hit ten, start again at one. As distractions arise, be aware of them and acknowledge them; do not react to them, or to the fact that they’ve momentarily derailed your focus on the breath. Instead, simply exhale and release the distraction, and begin counting the breath again.
- Being in this headspace allows us to focus on the subtleties of the sensations of our body and mind. It teaches us to pause and respond, rather than react without thinking.
- 3. Let Go
When a thought arises in your meditation, inhale and acknowledge it without any associated emotion; then exhale, visualizing the thought dissolving from your mind. Then refocus on your breath and begin the process again.
- A common misconception about meditation is that one is trying to rid one’s mind of all thoughts, flattening the mental landscape. That’s impossible. So if that’s your goal, it’s easy to grow frustrated and quit. Meditation teaches you instead to observe your thoughts, pause, and then respond to them with a sense of clarity. A classic example: If there’s a problem that’s out of your control—like the coronavirus, for instance, or the related response of others—being stressed out about it makes little sense. But if you are thoughtful about the concerns you can control (such as wearing a mask, social distancing, or limiting the people you are in contact with), then you empower yourself and can take steps to address them.
- Over time, the meditation process becomes a tool to help control your impulsive actions and thoughts, helping you to think and respond in a more controlled, mindful way.