Meditation for many people is a mystery, or esoteric humbug. Meditation is something for tree huggers who wear sandals and light incense. Fortunately, the general perception of meditation has changed a lot – and so has mine. For a long time I thought that meditation required special skills or knowledge and that it was complicated. It took me quite a while to get to grips with the subject and even then it took me half an eternity to really understand it.
In some ways meditation is really incredibly difficult and complicated. It is difficult for many of us to engage with ourselves for the few minutes it takes to practice it. We have forgotten to take time just for ourselves and our thoughts – and often that is exactly what we want to avoid at all costs. It is so much easier to constantly distract ourselves – no matter what. We live in the age of smart phones, social media, we have an overkill of TV channels (with no valuable content), we are bombarded with information non-stop, so that we cannot or do not want to hear our own thoughts anymore. Many, especially from my generation, like to claim that everything was better in the past. I believe that things are just very different and we need to find new ways of relaxing and detoxing – not only physically but especially mentally. Meditation is certainly one option – at least for me.
The most difficult thing about meditation is probably starting and then it becomes really difficult… doing it regularly, best on a daily basis and that is the real challenge in the beginning.
So, what do you need to know when you want to start to meditate?
What skills are required?
If I were to answer these particular questions from my point of view, the answers would be:
a. You need to know that you are willing to spend a few minutes every day with just yourself and your thoughts.
b. The only skill you need is knowing how to breathe… in AND out!
The beauty about meditation is that it is no more than a decision to actually do it. Everyone is very different and every meditation is different. In the beginning you might experience some restlessness and even unease and that is ok. You may be caught up in thinking and that is ok as well. When you get too caught up and notice, go back to your breathing. There are really wonderful apps out there that can help you get started. My personal favorite and my companion is “Headspace”. What I love about it is
- Andy’s voice, which I find very soothing
- There is no unnerving background music (I know some love that but it is not my cup of tea as I prefer silence)
- Here you learn that you do not need any “qualifications” to meditate
You do not need any equipment to meditate. You do not need to sit in a certain way that may feel uncomfortable to you. You do not need a certain mantra to meditate. You do not need a special place to meditate.
The beauty of meditation is that you can do it anywhere you like. With some practice you can even meditate in an overfilled train or airplane – I tried it and it actually works (wonders). Taking time for oneself without any distraction seems to have become a luxury that many people unfortunately no longer allow themselves. Silence and being alone with our own thoughts can be scary and takes getting used to. You do not need to meditate for hours, just start with a few minutes and shut off all media during that time. Take some time out of your day for yourself and for your thoughts and you might be very surprised by the result.
A few days ago, waking up very restless and doing my own morning meditation I was suddenly flooded by memories and was almost overwhelmed with the feeling that someone was thinking of me very intensely. And they were good memories and they allowed me to even go into an internal dialogue with that person for the first time in a long time. I know that may sound strange but if you cannot personally talk to someone it can be really helpfull, and it was actually a “conversation” I enjoyed very much.
You are allowed to let these thoughts and feelings in and don’t let anyone tell you that meditation needs certain skills or is difficult to learn. If you would like to know more about it, feel free to contact me.
And even if you find that meditating is not for you, do something mindful for yourself ever day.
YOU ARE WORTH IT AND YOU DESERVE IT!