One thing I have heard quite commonly from people is they feel they cannot do meditation because they cannot get their mind to be quiet. In this moment they are missing a strong point. To begin with, mediation is becoming aware of the constant chatter in your brain. You do not have to be a complete master at finding that stillness when you first start out. That is why it is called a mediation practise. Therefore, feeling like all you hear when you try to meditate is a busy mind, you being aware of that is actually you practising meditation.
When I first started getting into meditation, it took me many tries, many styles, many experiments really, to find what helped the most. If you have thought about getting into meditation but feel like a complete newby at it, here are some tips that helped me.
You do not have to have your eyes closed. To being with, you can just have a single focus, pick a spot and look at it. Some people can find it uncomfortable sitting in the darkness with their eyes fully shut. So, don’t, focus on something, half-close them. The point is to focus on your breath so do not worry too much about whether your eyes are opened or closed.
You do not have to be sitting cross-legged with your back straight. Now some mediation teachers will disagree with this, however as with all my approaches within my coaching, to me, finding what works for you is much more important than doing it perfectly. When I first started, what worked best for me was walking meditation. This is just slowing down a bit, noticing the sounds of your feet crunching on the ground, noticing what surrounds you. Making your walk more of a mindful experience and as always, bringing the focus back to your breathing.
Something I also like doing is doing a lying down mediation, in a recliner works well for me because it is so comfortable. Sometimes when lying down you do need to be more careful about falling asleep though.
Your mind does not have to be completely quiet. Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts, it is more just about creating more awareness around them. To begin with, you might just be growing more aware of what your thoughts are. This can be quite uncomfortable if you are not used to being so still and allowing yourself to listen to your internal chatter. Once you notice how busy your mind is, eventually this then starts to lead to becoming more selective with what you put your attention towards. Then, overtime, is when you can start to find it easier to bring more stillness into your mind and enjoy the feeling of nothingness.
Not everyone likes the same type of meditation. Everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another. Some people prefer guided meditations, some people prefer creating complete silence, some people prefer meditation with an intention. Me personally, my favourite lately is a heart centred meditation, bringing your awareness to your heart centre and expanding the feeling of love and gratitude.
As you try it more, as you learn what your like and do not like, you will find your own style. It is also important to remember that like most things, the practise of meditation is not always completely linear. You will be up and down with your abilities and your level of focus. Be comfortable with where you are in the moment and try to just go with that for the day.
Meditation is really about the focus of your breath. Big breaths in and big breaths out. It is there to help you relax. If you are putting too much pressure on yourself of whether you are doing it right or not, then you are losing the purpose of why you started meditation in the first place. As always, remember to be kind with yourself and allow yourself to be okay with where you are right now.