When I first started my journey of self-discovery I really had no idea where it was going to take me. In fact, I started it in order to do what I thought were cool things like connect with the deceased, be psychic and foretell the future. I had no idea that those interests were really just a means to an end, and that I would end up somewhere completely different, not caring so much about those initial interests. But they served as a catalyst to get me started on this journey, and I’m so grateful they did. What I noticed at the beginning is that each teacher I respected, book I read and class I took emphasized meditation. Each had their own take on it, but the common thread was the same; sit down, connect to the present moment and see what arises. At first I didn’t really believe it could be that easy, and I spent a lot of time “trying” to “do” meditation and getting nowhere. This was because I was missing the whole point of the meditation to begin with: to experience the present moment. It is within that present moment when we touch upon the highest truth of who we are and what we came here to do. It is where we feel Source energy and connect to our own divine nature, allowing us to experience wonder, love and joy. It is our well-spring. This is why I meditate regularly now, to experience this place of truth and infinite knowledge. To become an opening in which this information can flow freely through me and into my reality. It has done nothing short of change my life and my day-to-day reality, and all for the better. My relationships are deeper and more balanced, my productivity has increased and I’m forging ahead in life, and I feel at peace within my core. Looking back at the past 5 years of growth and exploration I see that the common thread in all of the modalities I studied involved quieting the mind, connecting within and listening to my inner guidance – in other words mediation.
So how can you start a meditation practice that will help you receive some of these same benefits? I’ve thought about what I do in my daily meditations and how I developed my practice and I’ve outlined it below. It’s not a formula for success, it is just what worked for me. We are all uniquely individual so pick and choose the suggestions below that work for you and leave the rest. The most important part to remember is to not be too hard on yourself as you go about doing this. It’s easy to let that little voice in your head start nagging you about how you’re not sitting right, or breathing right or clearing your thoughts the right way. Just let those thoughts go, because in reality there is no right way to meditate, and give yourself some room to get used to this new practice. It takes time and consistency, but the rewards are immense and so worth the effort.
1. Create your meditation space
Start by finding a quiet place in your house where you feel comfortable sitting without being disturbed. You don’t need to take up a whole room, especially if you’re sharing your space with a spouse, housemates or kids. You really only need a little corner, or section of a room. The spot I picked in my house was in my bedroom where I felt I could put out my arsenal of meditational aids without being disrupted by my busy household. Once you’ve found your location, create a space that signifies to you that this is a special place for you. I like to have candles, crystals and either dried white sage or palo santo for burning in my meditation spot (see above). Typically I use a white candle and whichever crystals I’m feeling connected to at the time. Good starter crystals are clear quartz, amethyst for connection and black tourmaline for protection and grounding. I also have chakra stones in the foreground of the picture above, each one representing the 7 main chakras in our body. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and more importantly what your are drawn to and resonate with. It’s not about making a place that you think is right, it’s about making a space that helps you to feel relaxed, comfortable and open. Place a cushion or chair in front of your collection of items so that you can face them, whichever is more comfortable. I also like to have a blanket on hand as I can get a little chilled sitting there for a while. Lastly, have a journal and pen close by to take any notes you want to take shortly after you finish. I’ve found that meditating is the easiest way for me to get information and solutions to problems and questions I have, and it’s best to write down the information because it’s easy to forget. I’ll talk more about that below.
2. Sit down for your first meditation – keep it simple
The options for meditating are endless. There are thousands of versions out in the world, in books, on the internet, and on meditation apps, so where to start? I think in the beginning it’s best to keep it really simple and short. Don’t worry about connecting to anything in particular yet, just be content with learning to quiet your mind for a few minutes and become fully present in the moment.
Before getting started put on comfortable clothes you can sit in. Loose comfy cotton tops and pants are my favorite so that I can sit cross-legged and not get cold while being inactive for a while. Next, set your meditation atmosphere by lighting your candle(s) and burning some sage or palo santo (also known as smudging). If you do this each time, it will create a ritual that sends signals to your brain that it’s time to relax. Now that you are settled in and ready to get started, set your intention for the meditation. You can think this to yourself, say it out loud, or write it down in your journal, but be sure to do this. It not only sets into place what you hope to achieve in your own mind and energetic field, but it also sends the information out into the universe so that your guides and helpers can do their part. I’ve found that it makes a big difference in the results I get, so give it a try and see how it works for you.
Here’s a simple exercise: Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose. As you feel the breath come into your lungs, see it as beautiful golden light filling your lungs and body, relaxing every cell in your body as it permeates throughout. As you exhale, see any tensions, negative emotions or thoughts exit your body as black smoke. Keep breathing deeply like this, cleansing and relaxing your body, for 5 breaths. You will start to notice that your body begins to relax and settle and that your awareness, which may have been scattered at the start of your meditation, begins to become present. You should feel calmer and more centered at this point. If not, keep breathing and following your breath until you start to settle. The objective is simply to bring your awareness to the present moment, to feel that shift from a mental hamster wheel state of being to your natural state, which is relaxed, alert and calm. Thoughts will come into your head, but gently let them pass through without becoming attached and engaged in them. Let them float by like water. One teacher taught me to see myself sitting at the bottom of a pool and that each thought that came up was like a bubble that I could watch float away. This can help since it involves visualization which gives the busy mind something to do while you’re getting on with relaxing your body.
For the first few times you meditate, just work with the breathing exercise above. That alone will have noticeable benefits on your mood, outlook on life and relationships. It only takes a few minutes per day to stop, settle down and become present. As you become more accustomed to meditating, you can increase the length of time that you sit and maintain a state of calm. When I first started, I found that I could not get my brain to shut off – my little analytical engine was chugging away in the background planning out my day while I was trying to relax and focus on the present moment – they call this monkey mind. So I started using guided meditations to give my monkey mind something to do. It really worked well for me and I still use them to this day help settle me down when I’m feeling a little antsy and not very calm. Guided meditations also help you develop your visualization skills which is really helpful in developing your intuitive abilities. I will be posting a few on this site, so look out for them to be posted soon.
While you’re in your state of calm, take notice of any sensations you may feel in your body or otherwise. Do you notice your pulse slow? Do you feel any tingling or waves of energy passing through you? After you’re done, write these observations down in your journal and anything else that occurred or interested you.
3. Setting your intention and what to expect
When we are in a meditative state, relaxed, yet alert, we open up the possibility to tap into the vast source of multi-dimensional knowledge and information. It’s as if, by making a subtle shift in our awareness, we are transported out of our mental, corporeal self and into our limitless, eternal self. This limitless self can access any information and create anything you need – you are far more capable than you may have ever imagined yourself to be. For example, If I have a problem that I would like a solution to, or a question that I would like an answer to, I sit down to meditate and set my intention on finding a solution. I typically start by writing the question down in my journal right before getting started. As I begin to breathe deeply and calm my mind, I will start to get information. Usually I wait and listen for a while first before I start writing so that I am sure that it’s not just mrs. monkey coming out to play. Then I write. Sometimes I write pages and pages of information down, other times it’s only a few sentences. Either way I get information about the topic I set my intention to better understand at the start of my meditation. It works amazingly well and really helped me to begin to trust that I could find all the answers I needed for myself from within. You can too.
Intention is also the gateway to manifestation. So if you’re trying to create something in your life, set your intention and then focus your energy on feeling what that would be like if you already had that which you wanted. During your meditation you can visualize yourself in the situation or outcome you desire and this will set you on your path to achieving it. In your limitless capacity you can create anything, so keep your thoughts positive and aimed at what you want more of in your life.
4. Repeat . . .
The clarity and calm I feel when meditating and the effects it has had on my daily reality are too good to be ignored. What at first seemed hard to fit into my schedule has changed into something that I carefully guard my time to ensure. It has had such a profound impact on my life that it has changed my career trajectory, awakened me to my purpose and deepened my personal relationships. So I strongly encourage you to start a meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be every day, be realistic about it. But do try to fit it into your day when you can. Little by little as you start to notice the benefits you will be more motivated to carve out time in your day to make it happen more often. Start out with the simple breathing exercise and then start to explore longer or guided meditations with a specific purpose. Give yourself permission to relax. The laundry, emails, phone calls and errands can wait a few minutes more while you nurture your soul and reconnect to your true self. It’s there waiting for you.