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February 8, 2019

7-Point Checklist to Begin your Meditational Journey Right Now

A famous poet once said that meditation is the self-reflective art that allows you to ‘know yourself’ a little bit more, to control what is controlling you, and to dissolve your consciousness into the collective pool. It is a peaceful practice unlike any other, which calms the inner turmoil and sharpens the focus of the mind. You do not necessarily have to travel to the heart of Himalayas and sit cross-legged while chanting mantras to achieve the ideal state of stillness. No, you can experience the soulful tranquility even while you are working in your sixteen-story skyscraper, surrounded by the humdrum of the busy metropolis. How, you ask? Let me show you the way. Check out the following pointers through which you can begin your meditational journey irrespective of where you are located or at which time zone you exist in.

Select a Type that Suits You Best

There are two ways that people usually go about a task. Either they plan it thoroughly before commencing it, or they fall haphazardly into it without any prior thought. The spontaneous approach may work well in some cases, but I believe that the organizational approach is the one which you should try if you haven’t practiced meditation before. Research the kind of techniques that are recommended by experts, such as ‘Metta meditation’, which includes an emotional openness to love and kindness, or ‘body scan’, which is more progressive and physically-oriented, dealing with the guided tenseness and relaxation of the muscles etc. Select the kind of meditation which you believe will suit you the best, and then pour your heart into it.

Take Baby Steps

Look, I know how much you love a challenge. It’s exciting, testing, and unlocks your inner potential. However, just like a flash fire, this sort of intensity burns itself out quicker than usual, leaving you completely exhausted. So, what I recommend is a step-by-step approach, which is gradual, moderate and dials up the difficulty factor slowly. Keeping this in mind, it is better to start small with something like ‘breath awareness meditation’ for about 10-minutes a day, instead of going all out on the complex ‘transcendental meditation’ or ‘kundalini yoga’ which would take up more than seven to eight hours a day before it could yield substantial results. Slip manageable chunks of mediation into your routine instead of overwhelming yourself with prolonged practice.

Make an App your Companion

It’s totally okay to ask for help. And what better companion than technology to aid you on your meditational journey? Yes, there are proper smartphone apps in existence which have been known to ease the meditational way for beginners such as yourself. Simply download them over your internet connection, as acquired from those amazing Windstream internet plans, and be ready to carry on-the-go wisdom in your pocket. One of the most famous apps in this category is ‘Headspace’. Its main features include guided meditations and mindfulness exercises, soothing sleep sounds, daily insights on new subjects, mini-meditation sessions, SOS sessions for instant help, tracking facility and whatnot. Though the app is free to download on both iOS and Android, it has monthly ($12.99) and yearly ($94.99) for full-fledged features. If you’re looking for a cost-free experience, then check out InsightTimer, SmilingMind or Simple Habit etc.

Prefer a Comfortable Stance

Meditation is the second name of physical and spiritual serenity, or when your body and soul are harmoniously aligned. In order to achieve this level of tranquility, you need to bring in the element of comfort. Choose a position or a stance which takes repose and relaxation into consideration. Don’t strain yourself too much just to maintain a certain posture. Don’t hesitate to use pillows in your practice. And most importantly, don’t feel ashamed in preferring a soft couch over the cold hard floor for your meditational session. Only you know your body’s comfort level. Own it.

Don’t Worry about the Distractions

Surroundings matter a lot when you practice meditation. Especially for the first time. Not everyone can afford to suspend their daily life activities and head up to a quiet and clean temple for meditational purposes. Though this may sound ideal, it’s not exactly practical. We’re all a part of an eternally buzzing metropolis. We need to learn how to meditate amidst all this chatter, whether we’re on the subway or in a diner. This begs the question. How can you maintain focus when there are way too many distractions around you? According to a Chinese Buddhist, the real trick lies in acceptance. Yes, accept the sounds around you and shift your focus on them. Instead of going for sensory deprivation, assimilate everything to open your third eye.

Accept Failure as a Part of the Process

There is a learning curve to meditational practice, just like everything else. Once you go down this path, you’ll come face to face with numerous hurdles and multiple exigencies. You’ll fall down, break your trance and get distracted. There is no doubt about that. You’ll feel like a failure, which will then force you to quit and leave. That’s exactly the kind of toxic attitude which you have to avoid if you wish to succeed. The thing about meditation is that it is a holistic approach. In other words, it can make you open up to failure, to actually embrace it and make it a living part of your personality, and to reach a whole new level of wholeness and well-being.

Master and Move on

Doing meditation is like climbing a long staircase. Each step carries you forward towards something much more elevated. Once you master one technique such as controlled breathing, you can safely move on to another one that includes higher levels of soulful meditation. This is how you’ll become an expert, and bring a balance in your physical and spiritual being.

In conclusion, meditation is not a quick-peace-scheme, learned overnight. It takes a proper mindset to flourish, and to harness that, you need to consult the aforementioned pointers which are made especially keeping your unique needs in mind. Let me know how it goes for you.

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Jenna Orsen  |  Contribution: 215