Introduction to Meditation
What is meditation exactly? Meditation is practicing mindfulness. You train your brain to become more aware. Meditation can bring about clarity, emotional stability, & many more benefits. How exactly do you meditate? To put it simply, you sit in a quiet place & begin focusing on your breath. It sounds so easy to do, but many people, including myself, have a hard time with it sometimes. People often think it is about silencing your thoughts but I feel that is harmful! You are supposed to be present when partaking in this practice. You accept & acknowledge your thoughts for what they are. You will remember you forgot los frijoles on the stove, or wonder what new recipe you want to try out for lunch. You might even come across some repressed pains from the past. But all you can do about it is b r e a t h e. It can be easy to forget what this practice is all about—relaxing & taking time out of your day to calm your self, your mind, & your subconscious.
When I started dabbling with meditation, I wasn’t quite sure how it worked & I found myself giving up about five minutes in. A million random thoughts all just came rushing in, completely flooding my brain at once. I found myself getting overwhelmed & worked up, rather than calm & centered. I started my meditation practice about two years ago, shortly after having moved away from home. However, it wasn’t until a year ago that I feel I actually started taking my practice more seriously. I pushed myself to last at least 15 minutes per meditation. Guided meditations are my personal fav, & you can find one for practically everything on Youtube! When I am sitting there breathing in and out, & I find that I have been focusing on any particular thought for too long, the guided practice brings me back to center. It feels good to have someone guide me in my practices at the moment because as someone who doesn’t feel they meditate regularly, it takes a lot of stress away from the whole experience. Just recently, I started to educate myself a bit more on meditation & being more intentional about my practice. Listening to podcasts, reading up on it online, & watching videos about other people’s experiences has really helped me tremendously! My experience with this practice was at first very confusing & I never really felt anything after my practices. If anything, I felt overworked and stressed out during & after it because I was working so hard trying not to think about anything, only to find out that wasn’t what it was really about.
I have recently learned that you are not supposed to be amazing or great at this practice when you first start. I would always start with a goal or expectation in mind. It usually was to not think about anything and to suppress all incoming thoughts & just breathe. In retrospect, those expectations were very unrealistic for someone just learning to meditate. A great starting goal is to simply be mindful of your breathing. Recently, I have learned to just be present in my meditation. When you are present, you aren’t worrying over the past or future. You are simply existing with the now. By practicing gratitude, you open yourself up to receive the now moment. The now moment will bring you peace. With my practice, I inhale in the present & exhale the thoughts flooding my brain. This sort of feels like deleting your browser history, a fresh slate. Practicing mindfulness & gratitude brings me to the present & I feel so much better. This shift in my perception of mediation has helped me find the calm I was looking for when I first started my meditation journey. Sometimes, I’ll be so calm & relaxed that I’ll fall asleep! Guided sleep meditations can be helpful if you have trouble falling asleep at night!
Like I mentioned earlier, I am just at the beginning of my meditation journey. It is an unfolding process. You learn to slowly just let your thoughts be. There is no judgement involved, simply observe them & you might even learn to better understand these thoughts & the feelings they invoke. So if you also find yourself at the beginning of your meditation journey (or thinking about starting), don’t get discouraged! Meditation is a skill. The brain is a muscle & just like any other muscle it has to be exercised. It takes practice to be comfortable with this practice. That is why I currently prefer guided meditations. I need a “guide” because I don’t feel skilled enough to do it alone & that’s okay. That will come with time & practice. I just recently started to emerge myself into meditation & I am so happy that I have friends who practice as well because being surrounded by people who do the same as me encourages me to push myself to keep going and take this journey further. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be using my meditations for powerful manifestations ;)