Why does something so simple seem so complicated?
I put off meditating for sooo long. I thought it seemed pointless, what good is just sitting there not thinking going to do me?
It turns out a lot of good actually.
Just like we need to lift weights and exercise to get strong and fit, our minds need a workout too. Meditation is an ageold tradition, across countless cultures that offers a mental fitness program that produces real results.
My hope is that by testing a few different options you will not only be less intimidated, but also able to find one that best fits you or allows for some variety when you need to mix things up.
It is important to remember that with any of these meditation practices, you will encounter the same discomfort, the same unease and the same busy mind. That is good!
This is the heavy lifting that will strengthen your mind . By the end of one week I am confident you will be flexing those mental muscles and notice a real change in your awareness.
So let’s look at a few different ways you can give meditation a try!
We are so fortunate to live in the age of information. While it has its downsides of course, one massive upside is that there are several amazing meditation apps that can take you from novice to master.
The two I have actually paid for past the free trial are Headspace and the Mindful Mama App.
I have loved both. While one is obviously shaped around the experiences of motherhood, they both have similar key features that make them easy to use and very helpful tools.
YouTube Guided Meditations
There are also a ton of freely available guided meditations on YouTube.
I would take these with a grain of salt as obviously anyone can upload videos to YouTube, whether or not they are actually qualified to lead guided meditations or not.
That being said, there is a huge library of wonderful content and great guided meditations offered by some often highly qualified teachers.
Mala Beads, Mudras + Mantras
If you happen to have them, mala beads can be a nice tool to help stay focused while meditating.
If you don’t have them, you can use mudras, or different positionings of your fingers in their place.
You will need a mantra to pair with them. You don’t need to overthink this, it can be as simple as “I am grateful” or “breath in, breath out.”
If you are using mala beads, start with a single bead between your thumb and middle finger. Either outloud or in your head, recite your mantra as you roll the bead between your fingers. Then, move on to the next bead and repeat.
If you are using your fingers, using both hands at the same time, tap your thumb to your index finger and recite your mantra either outloud or in your mind. Go on to do the same with your middle, ring and pinky fingers, keeping your two hands in sync.
If your mantra is more than a few words you can also tap each finger per word, finding a nice rhythm. Or in the example of “breath in, breath out,” you could tap on breath in and move on to tap the next finger on breath out.
In both instances, setting a timer on your phone can help you stay focused for your chosen time slot.
Sitting in Silence
Oddly enough, the most simple of all of these options tends to be the most intimidating and most uncomfortable.
In our busy lives most of us never slow down enough to just sit quietly with nothing but the sound of our breath and the racing thoughts in our heads.
This can be hard to find longevity with if you start here, but everyone is different. I used Headspace for a while as training wheels before I could really do this without crashing and burning.
I like to use the timer on my phone, otherwise I would probably only last about 1 minute before thinking 10 had passed, making sure to have a soothing alarm set.
I invite you to play around with these and hopefully find one that fits for you! Commit to trying it for 5 minutes a day for a full week and give meditation an honest try!