Starting Out in Meditation

Because a friend had mentioned how meditation helped her and said that I had taught her how I thought I would post how I’ve taught others how to meditate.

It’s not as hard as a lot of people assume. You don’t have to sit in a lotus position for hours for it to work. As little as five minutes of meditation can make a difference. The key is to slow down your breathing and your heart rate.

Meditation: Starting Out

I know for me, it was to take it a step at a time. At first, it was just choosing a place to meditate and then sitting there to meditate.

Choose the time and space where you can meditate; it should be someplace that is quiet, where you can be comfortable without falling asleep (so the bed usually isn’t the best place), and where you can sit for a reasonable time without being disturbed.

This can be sitting on a chair or the floor. If you sit on the floor, sit with your legs crossed and place your hands on your knees. If you are sitting in a chair, make sure your feet are placed with the soles flat on the floor. Don’t cross your legs or arms. Place your hands on the arms of the chair or on your lap. In both cases, try to have your hands with your palms up. Both of these positions put you in a kind of triangle shape. The triangle shape allows you to be open and receptive on three sides; the palms up allow you to send and receive.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

You can start out spending just one minute meditating and working up from there, adding a minute each day. Even five minutes at a time is beneficial. I learned these techniques when I was in therapy after my car accident, and I was afraid to drive again.

Now, close your eyes, and work on quieting your mind. Some people say to empty your mind, but this is nearly impossible, especially when first starting. Yoga masters spend decades learning how to “empty” their minds, but it’s not necessary for most people.

The Japanese have a technique called “compartmentalizing” specific thoughts… to be retrieved later. This technique was also used for me when I have had hypnosis. It works very well in meditation, too.

Imagine a beautiful cabinet in any style and color you wish. See the color and material it’s made of, touch it, make it yours. Open the doors of the cabinet, and you will see many drawers inside. Each of these drawers is a compartment to keep a thought, a memory, or a worry, to be kept safely until needed later.

Now start to quiet your mind. Whenever a new thought, worry, or feeling pops in, lovingly take it and place it in a drawer, telling yourself you will come and get it later.

Photo by Natalie on

With your eyes closed, breathe deeply… the technique I use for this is a breath rotation… first, breathe in through my nose and exhale out my mouth; after about a minute, breathe in through my mouth and exhale out my nose. Some people will do better doing just one, either way, depending on which one is most comfortable for them.

Okay, now this process doesn’t seem like much, but it all is part of the process of meditating. And it will take some practice. Even if you can only do this for five minutes, it’s better than doing nothing at all. It may take a week or more to be able to get to this point comfortably.

It doesn’t have to be a specific place, although that would be nice. It’s just identifying it as “my meditation place.” This can change as needed. Places could be sitting on a couch, in a corner on the floor, outside under a tree, or on a beach, or even in the bathtub. Sometimes the best place is sitting cross-legged in the middle of your bed…

I like sitting on the deck in the sun too. The beach. Walking around the neighborhood. While watching a mediation video that I have… it practically hypnotizes you… Listening to music. One of my favorites is listening to The Doors “Light My Fire” and visualizing and imagining that I am running through Woodland Park.

Sometimes just “being” is meditating. Meditation is the gradual shift in focusing your thoughts and attention to ignore those obsessive thoughts, lowering your heart rate and breathing.

When you sit and watch a fire blazing in the fireplace or watching fish in an aquarium, you are meditating.

When you zone off while watching a good movie or a great book, that is meditating.

Also, when you watch waves on the beach or a sunrise or sunset.
You can use other items to focus on, and it’s their simplicities that make them work so well… a candle flame, a quartz crystal, a mandala, colored lights.

You can meditate while walking, in a park, a beach, or on a labyrinth… any place you don’t have to worry about traffic.

Daydreaming and journaling are also forms of meditating.

Did you know that gardening is also a way to meditate? Anything that you can “lose yourself” in is a meditative experience.

There are so many ways and places that a person can meditate…. All you need is a comfortable, quiet place where you can relax and the ability to slow down your breathing and lower your heart rate.

Photo by Tina Nord on

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