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How to Meditate
Around 20 years ago, I was working in the criminal justice system, and on occasion, someone would threaten to kill me.
Obviously, not a relaxing dynamic.
A stressed-out coworker gave me a book on meditation, which eventually proved crappy situations can be the start of some great outcomes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Regardless of the source, stress for most of us has gone up in the last 12 months.
Take control. Bring it down. Try meditation. You don’t have to be an expert; you just have to start.
Most days, meditation is glorious (even if I’m occasionally a bit more challenged with focusing) and every single time, it is beneficial, even after 20 years—though I still have days where my mind feels like it is full of bees and monkeys.
Focus on effort, not outcomes, when you start up.
Three things you should know when starting a meditation practice:
1. Don’t worry if you’re doing it right.
Regardless of whether you are religious or not, I promise you, a quick Google search will pull up a ton of books, articles, and starting points for you. There are a million different ways to meditate; find one that resonates with you and give it a whirl. Once you find the right fit, make it a regular practice.
2.Keep doing it even if you feel you suck at it.
Meditating is to the mind what a workout can be to the body. It is harder to start than it is to actually do it, and the longer you do it, the more benefits you see. Regular practice is important, but maybe that doesn’t look like a daily thing for you at the beginning. Again, like a workout, some is better than none.
3. Ignore your resistance and do it anyway.
Your mind has loved running wild and is not going to be happy about you working toward controlling your thoughts, instead of your thoughts controlling you. Your mind is an angry, sugar-filled, full-tantrum toddler; know that going in, and put it in a “time out.” Resistance decreases as your practice increases.
Finally, you know what works best for you, so follow your own happy path in whatever style and practice you decide to pursue.
Gathering information and listening to suggestions is great, but your needs, like your fingerprints, aren’t identical to anyone else’s. If you try to force yourself onto a path someone else feels is “best” for you, well, it most likely won’t stick. It will be like the time a yoga teacher told me I could do a handstand when I was pretty sure I couldn’t, I folded under the pressure, and I crashed and burned.
Knowing what works best for you and trusting it keeps you engaged and on track for better outcomes.