6 simple steps to meditate – Learning meditation is a bit like learning to throw a dog a bone, your mind, in this case, to distract it, occupy it, and get out of your internal dialogue.
Indeed, even if the techniques of meditation are numerous, several have in common to occupy your mind by giving it an object of attention on which it concentrates actively, but without tension, for a few minutes and to which you bring it back when you realize that your attention has drifted away from it.
This bone can be a word, with or without meaning, that you repeat in your head. It can also be an external sound like running water, music, or the rhythmic sound of a metronome.
Or a physical sensation, like air flowing in and out of your nostrils, a movement, like your belly, rising and falling as you breathe or your body as you walk. Or a pleasant image, the light of a candle, for example, the movements of the waves on the sea, or even the smell of incense.
The method of learning meditation does not matter. The important thing is to choose one that seems interesting to you and that you will keep and practice regularly. This is how your ability to be open to the present moment and even your ability to let go will develop.
Learn to meditate in 6 simple steps
The goal of this meditation is to train your mind to be present in the moment by observing your breath without directing or changing it. A daily period of 10 to 15 minutes in a quiet place is sufficient.
1. Adopt a stable and comfortable posture, sitting straight on a chair, feet flat on the ground
Or, lie on your back with a pillow under your knees to keep your back straight. What matters is that you feel comfortable enough to sit still for a few minutes, allow your breathing to flow easily, and relax.
If you fear falling asleep while meditating lying down, prefer the seated position to stay alert. Indeed, meditation is different from sleep. And if you ever doze off, which is common in the beginning, especially if you’re very tired, don’t worry.
Tell yourself that’s what your body needs, and you’ll pick yourself up at the next session.
2. Relax your shoulders, and place your hands on your thighs or knees, palms up or down
If you’re lying down, place your arms on either side of your body and your hands on the floor or resting on your stomach.
Remember that the goal is to find a posture that promotes relaxation. So, forget the Lotus posture. If, during your meditation period, you feel any discomfort, become aware of it. Since that is what is present, change your posture and move on.
3. When you are ready, gently close your eyes
If you prefer, leave them slightly ajar with your gaze directed to the ground and not at the objects around you. Take a few deep breaths, release the air from your lungs and relax.
If you are working with a previously recorded guidance to meditate, start it now. Otherwise, follow these steps.
4. First, pay attention to your breathing without modifying it
Feel the air passing through your nostrils, your belly swelling and deflating slightly.
Pretty soon, without realizing it, you’ll get distracted and start thinking about what’s on your mind, planning your next activity, replaying a recent conversation in your mind, maybe ruminating.
5. As soon as you become aware of a distraction, simply bring your attention back to your breath
Many people often ask: I want to learn to meditate, but what to do with the distractions?
Get back in touch with your next inhale, the next exhale, and so on. This is, without a doubt, the real training of meditation: learning to notice when your mind is distracted to bring it back to your original intention. It is a learning that extends to the rest of your life and that allows you to stop the ruminations, the internal dialogues, to interrupt the resistance before you become too committed to it.
When you notice that your mind has gone elsewhere again, you can also let go of the thought you have by telling yourself: I will think about that later. Bring your attention back to your breath again. No matter how many times you get distracted, the important thing is to get back to your breathing as soon as you notice it.
Be patient with yourself
Above all, don’t blame yourself when you realize that the housewife has taken you elsewhere. Notice the distraction, maybe smile at how easy it is for you to time travel, and return to your breath, to the present moment, again and again. If you notice that your breathing is tighter because you’re paying attention to it, take note and just try to relax.
Remember, learning to meditate is practice, and like all practice, it requires repetition. Be confident! Gradually, you will notice that you stay connected longer to your breath and to the present moment.