Meditation isn't just a new age trend, it is an ageold tradition across countless cultures that can seriously shift your awareness, here are some easy ways to try it out for yourself.
"To accept some idea of truth without experiencing it, is like a painting of a cake on paper which you cannot eat." -Suzuki Roshi
Meditation is something that has completely transformed me and my life. While originally I had so much resistance around the idea and basically poo-pooed the whole concept, once my ego got out of the way, and basically once I became completely desperate to regain a sense of clarity in my life, I realized just how amazing it can be.
In the schools of Zen, meditation is generally done as a seated practice (za-zen), although the essence of Zen is that all aspects of life can be a form of meditation. I however am using a more loosely defined version of the word to mean any mental practice that requires your concentration and attention to exercise and expand your awareness.
We are so fortunate to live in the age of information because meditation resources are readily and amply available. In some ways it can become overwhelming, so I would advise that instead of feeling like these are boxes you need to check off on your path to enlightenment to do list, that you treat them as a selection of desserts to choose off of a menu.
If you test one out and it doesn’t suit you, try something else. There are enough meditation resources to last you many lifetimes so don’t feel like you need to suffer through one if it isn’t in alignment with you. You will of course be faced with the same busy, monkey mind no matter which route you take, so don’t let that discourage you, but you should at some point come to enjoy whatever method you dedicate yourself to. I would recommend trying one out for a week, and if it isn’t uplifting after that, try a new one.
Of course you can always mix things up on a regular basis, but you wouldn’t do sit ups one time and expect to have washboard abs, so give whatever avenue you start out on ample time to sink in before changing course.
These are some of my favorite resources to use in my meditation practice. There is no one “right” way to meditate and any time spent devoted to exercising your awareness is time well spent. I hope you find something that works for you!
There are a ton of different meditation apps out there. These are ones I have tried and enjoy using. If not free they all at least offer a free trial so you can test them out before committing, although I will say making the investment can be a helpful way to keep yourself accountable to your practice!
Headspace is one of my favorite meditation apps because it covers such a wide breadth of topics. You can search for specific subjects, such as grief, self esteem or pregnancy and they have a program created specific to those areas. The app logs your minutes meditated which can be fun. They also offer live group meditations daily, have mini courses within the app with helpful graphics that make understanding some of the techniques and concepts easier.
An app that was created specifically for us mindful mamas is called just that, Mindful Mama. This app is cool because it offers guided meditations that are very clearly oriented towards the experiences of motherhood. There are breathing exercises, mantras for repeating and little mini pauses which make it simple to integrate your mindfulness practice throughout the day.
I also really like the Down Dog Meditation app features which are similar to their Yoga apps. What I really like about this company's apps is that you can custom tailor your practice and it keeps track of your sessions on a calendar for you. What's super awesome about these are the price, since you get yearly access to the meditation, yoga, barre, prenatal yoga and workout apps all with one subscription. Make sure to check out their website vs. on the app store as they offer better promotions that way.
Lately I have really been loving Insight Timer, which I use just for the timer aspect. You can custom create a session with bells and sounds set at specific intervals and it will let you know how many consecutive days you have kept up your practice. They also offer guided meditations, courses, music, sleep sessions and meditation for kids.
Meditation Mini Course
Another free option to try is the Mindvalley 6 Phase Meditation Program. It is 7 days of study that combine a myriad of styles, traditions and the science to back them up for a transformative experience. Each day explores a different topic and pairs an educational video with a guided meditation.
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.
There are many books on meditation, and many accompanied with meditations. Generally speaking it helps to have the audio version, which is when an Audible membership comes in handy.
Here are a few books that I have done the meditations in. They are all extremely different, but all worthy of your time. I will admit that I tend to take longer finishing books that include meditations because I feel like I can’t continue with the book until I have done the meditation, but the timing of when I reach the meditation and when I actually meditate don’t always line up.
Let me know your favorite way to meditate or which methods work for you in the comments!