Meditation came into my life during a particularly difficult time
I was 26, and was preparing for the Bar Exam. If you guys have ever been through this or know someone who did, I am sure you will agree that it is a crazy stressful and insanely exhausting moment in one’s life. During that year, I was studying somewhere around 10 to 14 hours every day. I was under incredible levels of stress and as if it wasn’t enough, I had just discovered that my partner of 2 years was cheating on me while he was in Geneva, interning at the UN. I was a total mess, had a broken heart, was left with a big apartment to pay for all by myself and somehow still had to hold everything together and continue to study all day, every day.
It’s around that time that I started to hear about meditation. The more I heard about meditation the stronger I felt called to it. The call got so strong, like I felt it in my bones, that I decided to skip classes for 1 and a half week and attended a Vipassana 10-day silent meditation retreat. This looked like a very crazy idea at the time, my parents thought I had completely lost it and was joining a cult (which obviously I wasn’t). It was a crazy spontaneous decision, but I am so grateful that I did it. This retreat taught me so much on myself and also gave me a seriously solid foundation on which I continue to build my meditation practice.
Here are my 5 easy steps to mindfulness for meditation beginners
Today, few years and a couple of hundred hours of meditation later, I decided to share with you guys my best tips on how to start meditating, because I know that it can be confusing and hard to grasp at the beginning. But trust me on this one, it is so rewarding if practiced on a regular basis. If you are in this situation, where you feel called towards meditation but don’t really know where to start or what to do, then these 5 easy steps to mindfulness are for you. They will get you meditating, in no time !
Step #1 to mindfulness : Create a sacred space
My first step to begin meditating is to create a sacred space for your practice. Start by finding a physical place where you will meditate. If you can dedicate an entire room to your meditation practice then that’s amazing. If not, use a corner of your room, in the salon or even in the garden. Really, any place where you can sit comfortably every day, not be disturbed and most importantly feel good, will do just fine. Then go on and personalize that space if you feel like it. For example, create an altar, put candles, crystals, pillows, really anything that will make that place your sacred meditation space. The reason you should create this space is that it is highly recommended to always meditate at the same place as it will fill that space with lots of energy that will help you in your meditation practice. So, first step to mindfulness for meditation beginners is to create a sacred space where you will build your meditation practice.
Step #2 to mindfulness : Find a comfortable position
My second step to begin a meditation practice is to find a comfortable seated position. It is true that posture matters, but in the beginning, let’s just not make such a big deal out of it. All will come in time. So for now, just find whatever is more pleasant for you. Sit down and be comfortable. Be it on a yoga mat (I highly recommend these #1 yoga mats), in the lotus position, using a meditation pillow or bench, or even on a chair. Sit with your back against the wall if you need support, extend your legs in front of you if having them crossed is uncomfortable. Really make the posture yours. Experiment with various postures and decide which one suits you best. Also try to wear clothes that allow you to stay in a seated position comfortably for several minutes at a time. The lotus position in skinny jeans might not be the most enjoyable thing. Trust me. The second step to mindfulness for meditation beginners is to find comfortable clothes and position in which you can sit for longer periods of time.
Step #3 to mindfulness : Observe the breath
Alright now that we have created a sacred place for our meditation practice and that we have found a position and clothes in which we can comfortably sit for longer periods, it is time to go within. So gently close your eyes, let them rest and bring your attention to the breath by simply observing it. Do not try to control your breath, simply observe it as it comes and as it goes. Observe without any expectation, any judgment. If your breath is shallow then it is shallow. If it is deep then it is deep. If it comes from the left nostril, then it comes from the left nostril. Simply be aware of your breath and observe it. No judgement. No expectation. Pretty simple, right ? But wait till you try it because you will see that although it is pretty simple, it is not that easy. At the beginning, try setting a timer for somewhere around 10 to 15 minutes. And then, as you get more accustomed to your practice, you can increase the time. The third step to mindfulness for meditation beginners is to start observing the breath as it is rather than how we would like it to be. Simply observe.
Step #4 to mindfulness : The wandering mind
Now that we have been observing the breath for a while, you will find that your mind will start to wander. One moment you will be observing your breath and the next you will be thinking about that one super embarrassing thing you said last week at work. As you will soon discover, that happens a lot especially in the beginning. Whenever it does happen, simply observe that your mind has wandered and bring it back to the breath. What I mean by ‘simply observe’ is that whenever you realize that you mind has run away from your breath, do not get angry, or disappointed or impatient or anything at all. Without any judgment, any expectation, simply acknowledge that the mind has wandered away and gently bring your attention back to the breath. At first you will find your mind wandering at every chance it has and that is normal because the mind does not want to work. But with love and patience you will find yourself able to bring your awareness to the breath more and more easily. Just keep going. The fourth step to mindfulness for meditation beginners is whenever your realize that the mind has wandered away, gently bring it back to the breath, without judgment.
Step #5 to mindfulness : Sending love and light
When you finish your practice take a moment to thank yourself for taking this time to meditate. Thank yourself for creating time and space for you to practice mindfulness and grow spiritually. The fifth step to mindfulness for meditation beginners is to end your practice by sending love and light to yourself and to whomever you wish. Personally, I always finish my practice by filling my heart with love and light and saying the following :
May I be happy, May I be well, May I be free from suffering.
May all beings be happy, May all beings be well, May all beings be free from suffering.
Let’s start meditating !
That’s it ! If you followed these 5 simple steps, then congratulation, you have started your meditation practice. I know that at first it won’t be as easy as it seems. Your body and mind who have been used to a certain pattern all your life will not give in easily. It is normal that at first you feel uncomfortable, want to move your legs or scratch that crazy itch. It is also normal that your mind will wander anywhere in the past or in the future refusing to be in the present moment. But if you give it some time, love and patience, you will see these initial obstacles slowly melt away as you become better at bringing your awareness to the breath.
Of course, there are a million other ways of practicing meditation and by all means, please try those that you feel called to. But I wanted to share these 5 simple steps for meditation for beginners because I truly believe that they will gently introduce you to meditation.
I hope that this has been helpful, please leave me a comment down below to let me know how your meditation practice is going or ask any question that you may have.
Sending lots of love