I have tried and failed to start a meditation practice so many times, I can’t even begin to count them. I am currently working again on a meditation practice and this time, it seems to be working out much better, thanks to youtube and couple of phone apps.
The benefits of meditation can be incredible. Meditation reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and even increases your sense of well-being because it allows you to slow down your mind so that you are less reactive. Long-time practitioners talk about watching things happen to them from a removed point of view, which allows them to choose whether, how, and when to react. Sounds like a recipe for joy to me!
I haven’t experienced that yet, but I can imagine that it brings an incredible sense of power and inner-peace to be able to slow down or stop a reaction. If you’ve ever gotten a confrontational email and immediately shot off a defensive reply, you know how powerful delayed reactions can be. Imagine being able to take the emotion out of your reactions so that you can really see what’s in front of you and act appropriately. And really, as if I needed more convincing that a meditation practice is worthwhile, let’s not forget that it was her meditation practice that gave Tina Turner the inner strength and confidence to finally leave Ike! Count. Me. In!
So how does someone get started meditating? There are many different types of meditation, and some of them are quite intimidating. Even with a regular yoga practice, where I can zone out in Savasana and start to feel like I’m floating, it is almost impossible for me to sit still for even 5 minutes and quite my mind. So how does someone start a meditation practice in a way that allows for some early wins to keep them coming back?
Some research on meditation practices indicate that the greatest benefits, the ones described above where you can almost watch your life happening from a place removed from reaction takes serious discipline. Those benefits come from being able to still the mind for a good 20 minutes. Honestly, that also mostly comes from Transcendental Meditation, which is difficult to get into because it requires a resource commitment (money), finding a teacher, and going all in. I want some early wins, so I’m going to start with something a little less intimidating: guided meditation.
Guided meditations are amazing for beginners and are available on such a wide range of topics! I’ve used guided meditations related to the following:
- Letting go
- Clearing energy/chakra balancing
- Connecting to Spirit
- Connecting to passed loved ones
- Having a productive day/enhancing confidence
- Improving sleep
There is literally a guided meditation for anything you need! Just do a quick search on youtube for “(topic of choice) meditation” and watch the results come in! If you really want to commit or you’re worried about the quality of free meditations, you can use apps like breethe, clam, or headspace. I haven’t subscribed yet, but I have used some of their free meditations and they’re great.
Once I have a consistent meditation practice using guided meditation, I can start investing my time and energy into a more challenging meditation practice. There are still many benefits to be had to using guided meditations and it’s so much easier for me to focus on someone’s voice and use that to go deep than it is to sit and get quiet in the mind on my own.
For me, this practice of seeking out joy through developing new habits means that I need to get some quick wins to keep coming back. I think that’s true for all of us for anything we try. We need to see early progress when starting or stopping a habit – otherwise it’s so easy to give up. I can dive into certain things, but a hardcore meditation practice is a bit intimidating. Because I know developing a meditation practice has been very challenging for me in the past, I am taking a path-of-least-resistance approach to this practice, using 5-15 minute guided meditations each day to bring early wins to help build the habit.
Here’s a great one from youtube for chakra cleansing before bed.