What is meditation, anyway?
Well, some busy executives take time out to jot down a list of must-dos at the beginning of every work day, or some time each night to scribble down some thoughts. We see meditation as another arrow in our quiver of practical tools: Taking a few minutes each day to quiet our minds and pay attention to our bodies and breaths allows us to stay better focused on the things that matter during the day, like constantly being aware of what inspires us and taking the time to acknowledge and express gratitude for those things.
Over the next two blog posts, we’ll tell you how to build a meditation practice of your own. This post will focus on the practice itself; the next will focus on the physical aspect of meditation: How to build your own space for meditation.
For now, let’s consider some ways to begin a meditation process:
Start gently. Two minutes, that’s all it takes. Set a timer. Sit in a quiet spot, or someplace you’re not likely to be disturbed. Close your eyes or not, it doesn’t matter. Look at the ground or at a favorite plant or out the window, but maintain a soft focus. Let things get a little fuzzy. Track your breath as it goes in and out: Where is it going? How does that feel?
Be comfortable. Sit in whatever position and location you can maintain for the entirety of the session. Some folks sit on poufs; some sit on the floor. Others sit on a favorite chair. Anything is fine. Remember, this is your session, your time.
Tie your meditation practice to a “trigger.” Think to yourself, “6AM is time for coffee and meditation,” or “noon is time for lunch and meditation,” or “3PM is time for a walk and meditation.” If you link your meditation practice to something you already do, you’re more likely to get it done and actually make it a practice.
It’s not all about the breathing. It’s also about being aware. If you can’t get behind the breathing, consider a two-minute “body scan” practice: As you begin your meditation, start with your toes, then your feet, then your ankles, and all the way up your body to the top of your head. Really pay attention to how each body part feels. This is a great way to ease yourself into the meditation practice.
Enlist some help. If you want to, meditate with a buddy. If that’s too troublesome, you can find guided-meditation apps for your phone that will help you through short and longer sessions. Some of these apps are free, so you’re not losing anything by trying them out.
What do you think about mediation? Has it helped you? Tell us in the comments below. And tune in next week for our tips on building a meditation area of your own.