Do you sometimes feel restless and unbalanced? Are you looking for a way to relax and come down? I did and a few years ago I felt that change had to happen. Study and work were connected with the thought of trying to please others and my life was oriented towards living according to the rules of others. This lead to inner restlessness and dissatisfaction. I felt unbalanced, was in a bad mood. The psychological and physical strain left its traces. Regular neck and headaches and even migraines were the results. Until I realized that there is another way...
There's another way
During my training in personality development and communication, I learned that I am responsible for my inner peace and happiness all alone.
To be happier, I had to learn how to bring stillness, peace, and serenity into my life. I decided to become a craftsman and forge my happiness. But how does that work?
So that you can forge your own happiness, you need tools. And today you can find plenty of them, we only need to use them. One of these tools to reach inner peace and contentment is meditation.
In this article, I will tell you, based on my experience, what is important in the beginnings of meditation and what you can do to stick to your practice.
When I was a child, my father introduced me to meditation and breathing techniques. At that time, however, I hadn't quite understood what it was all about. For me, it was just sitting there and wasting time doing nothing.
Did you know that the best performers, authors, athletes and entrepreneurs in the world integrate meditative practice and mindfulness into their daily lives? Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jay Shetty, Tiger Woods, and Russel Brand, to name a few, do it.
Perhaps you have already thought about starting with it, but you have not done it because of your beliefs like
"I can't think NOTHING."
"sitting still for a long time is difficult for me", or
"I'd love to, but I don't have enough time."
These thoughts were also my limiting beliefs and excuses. They are also those of many others with whom I talked about this topic. Why these beliefs are anything but a reason not to start and what you need for a pleasant start in your meditation practice, you will learn now.
Some people are deterred by the thought that if you want to meditate properly, you don't have to think about anything. That's not entirely incorrect. It is true that in traditional Eastern spiritual meditation, the meditative state means the complete silence of the mind. Very few people attain this state.
What we westerner often understand as meditation is actually mindfulness, focus, and concentration exercises, which calm and collect the mind and are preparation and approach to the meditative state
But before we go into the jungle of definitions, we make it easy for ourselves and call it all "meditation". Let us keep our purpose in mind, happiness, inner peace, and serenity.
When I began with meditation, I started very simply with sitting meditation, focusing on my breath and/ or counting.
With this, I simply observe my thoughts without judging. Perceive one thought after another and let it pass. Then I return to focus again on the breath. Five minutes were enough for me in the beginning. Mentally and physically. My mind wandered all the time and sitting upright with cross-legged was really hard for me. Try it out yourself. But pay attention to this.
Don't expect total bliss, relaxation, and enlightenment when you start meditating or sooner or later you will only be disappointed. Meditation can be a challenge at the beginning. You might feel uncomfortable in your body and mind. Some emotions or unresolved problems that may have limited your development possibilities and that you have suppressed so far could emerge.
With meditation and mindfulness, we begin to perceive our needs, desires, and worries, which we would rather have left hidden. That is what we are afraid of. That is perhaps the unpleasant part. This perception is the possibility to recognize which topics are occupying us and with which intensity they are doing it. This is where change and development can take place.
If you notice in your meditation that these unpleasant thoughts pop up, again and again, you can decide whether you get up and displace it or you can also recognize that there is a reason why it is so and starts to grasp the topic and change something. Change yourself, develop yourself.
The more practised and experienced the meditator is, the easier it is for him to deal with emerging thoughts and emotions. If mental illness is at play, it is advisable to consult a therapist and contact an appropriately trained and experienced meditation teacher to find out which form and intensity of meditation are appropriate.
TIP #1 I also recommend guided audio meditations. Someone will talk to you and guide you step by step with a pleasant voice and music. This helps you and supports you to keep the focus.
When it itches and hurts
During my very first meditation, I found it extremely difficult, almost impossible to sit up straight and meditate quietly for only 5 minutes. I was constantly itching at different parts of my body, cracking with all kinds of joints, and correcting my sitting position because my shortened muscles were really hurting.
However, this is not a reason not to meditate, but on the contrary, an indication to begin with. My first thought was: "That's not for me, I can't relax...". At the same time, however, I noticed why I was constantly tense, restless, and uneven.
"How am I supposed to find peace and serenity in everyday life when I can't even sit still for 5 minutes? I was no longer interested in finding something that would relax me, but in learning to relax and using it in everyday life at all times.
"How am I supposed to find peace and serenity in everyday life when I can't even sit for 5 minutes?"
- Myself - during my first meditation
Due to the shortening and inflexibility of my muscles, my back hurt extremely during meditation at the beginning. A pad or block under my buttocks is a remedy. In case of injuries or in old age, when getting from sitting is difficult, you can also meditate sitting on an armchair.
TIP #2 Do Yin Yoga. The body exercises of Yoga (Asanas) are primarily intended to prepare the body for the long sitting time while meditating. The long held sitting and lying Yin Yga poses are superb for the beginning. Yin Yoga is embodied meditation. With each time you will notice how you come more and more easily into relaxation and take this also into the day with you.
No time for sitting around?
Maybe you think you'd like to meditate, but don't have time?
Since I started to meditate regularly, I have much less time for stress, anger or unpleasant thoughts. Instead, I have much more time to relax, rest, and realize my goals. Through meditation, I also notice that I am more decisive and creative in my tasks.
At the same time, I am more attentive to myself and to people around me and my sleep has improved significantly. The neck and headaches have also decreased a lot.
Since winter 2017 meditation has become an important part of my daily routine, preferably very early in the morning. Right after getting up and toilet, at least 20 minutes.
TIP #3 Set up a fixed meditation place. Not in your bed. Make yourself a nice place where you can do your regular meditation practice. The advantage is that the meditation place serves as an anchor and your body and mind will find a more relaxed and pleasant entrance into peace every time you do your practice.
Also, set a fixed time for your meditation. The time of day is entirely up to you, but always at the same time. Develop a new positive habit. Start with small steps. If you start with 5 minutes, that's 0.3% of 24 hours. So if you don't have time for it, I also don't know...you can do that.
in a nutshell: This is how your meditation practice works
inform yourself about your suitable meditation practice (best with a meditation teacher)
for the practice at home, set up your comfortable meditation spot
same time, same station!
use a pillow or a yoga block
do Yin Yoga!
start small, 5 minutes are good enough
focus on your breath or start with guided audio meditations
when thoughts emerge, and that they will, observe-perceive-let pass-focus back on breath
and don't forget the most important thing. Smile :)