At the end of a recent personal training session, one of my clients confessed he had no idea how to start meditating. I felt the exact same way when I started. It doesn’t come naturally. And the vague idea of what should happen during meditation makes it even more difficult to start. Actually, I like that. Because I know from years of trying to become my own master and make my body work for me, I know that the struggle normally provides an intense amount of value. And so meditation has for these past several weeks. The value is in the struggle. And the reward is controlling the mind to generate another level of focus when I have to deliver my best (which is in about two hours for a presentation to a sales group).
How to Start Meditating
Even so, we all need some guidance to know what good looks like. I highly recommend starting with guided meditation. You can go to a class or ask for help from a friend, but perhaps the easiest way is to download an app and use it. Like I mentioned before, I use OMG Meditate (resource at bottom). But you can find a plethora of good apps to choose from.
Once you choose an app, set aside five minutes and hit the play button. Start small. The instructor will guide you through the meditation. If you still have a fear of entering the unknown, know this. Meditation forms vary. The value lies in the ability to control your mind and enter the present with full awareness. My client and I ended our training session with 15 minutes of meditation. His first response, “I’ve never heard the toilets flush from upstairs before.” Not rocket science, right? The fact that he had control over his body enough to pick up small cues from his environment already shows progress. Noticing a toilet flush won’t change the world. But have you ever missed a cue from a colleague, employee, or potential client? How might the skill of living fully in the present help you function at a higher level?
So to remedy your fear of emptying your mind of all thoughts and humming for minutes on end, here are the things I actually focus on when meditating:
- noticing and regulating my breathing
- how each area of my body feels
- experiencing my heartbeat
- relaxing every area of my body
- listening to sounds around me
- noticing thoughts and allowing them to pass quickly to refocus my attention on one thing
Not a lot to it, but a lot in return. Enjoy the benefit!
Resources: OMG Meditate app