Meditating on your own can feel daunting
I created this FREE guided meditation for people who want to meditate, but find it hard to stay seated. Click below and I will send you a 20-minute version to get you started and a 30-minute version for when you're ready to sit longer.
Are you just getting started with meditation?
Here are a few tips
Take it easy
The single most common concern I hear (and concern feels a little too light...more often than not it is anguish and frustration that is expressed) is that people get upset at themselves for not being able to focus. And maybe it feels too flip to say "take it easy," but seriously, take it easy. Rest assured that even long-term practitioners have wandering thoughts. Our minds are designed to be creative. The fact that they wander and create new connections is actually a good thing. Meditation isn't about creating a blank void, it is about recognizing where we are attached to how we see the world. The best thing you can do for your practice is give yourself a break. This doesn't mean forget discipline or intention, just don't make it into something that it's not.
How should I sit?
I like to sit on a cushion with my legs folded in front of me in what is called Burmese Lotus, but there is no right way to sit. Some like to sit in Full Lotus others do best in a chair. Experimenting with different postures will help you determine what works for you. Do not worry if you cannot sit in Full Lotus, very few can and it is not important for the cultivation of the quality of your mind.
What is important is to be intentional and active in your posture, whatever that may be. Hold your spine straight. I like to imagine a string pulling through my spine from my seat through the crown of my head. Tuck your chin and keep your eyes open just a little bit. This will help you stay in the room and out of fantasy. Hold your hands either in front of your belly, left inside of right with the thumbs touching. Or stretched out and resting on your knees/thighs. Try to be active in your stillness. Don't be lazy in your posture.
How do I start?
Almost everyone begins by just following your breathe. The reason for this is because it is such an intimate behavior, but also one that we take for granted and overlook all the time. It is often only when breathing becomes difficult that we realize what a gift we have been living with all these years.
Focusing on your breath is also incredibly easy because there is a rhythm to it. Try to extend this rhythm. Certain teachers recommend a longer inhale and others a longer exhale. Mine tend to be similar. But find what is comfortable for you and then try to extend the time on both ends. Focus on the breath, notice where is settles in your body. When you mind wanders (and it will), just come back to the breath. This is your connection to life.
Do I need a teacher?
The easiest answer is 'No.' In fact, no one can meditate for you. You can have the best teacher in the world, but if you are not putting in the practice it will not matter. One of the best teachings as it relates to mediation is "Don't listen to anyone else. Go find out for yourself." This is because no one can really tell you what it is like. Awakening is experiential, not intellectual.
That said, having a good teacher or someone who can help guide you can be extremely beneficial. There are all different types of teachers, good, bad, and otherwise. But working with someone to hone your practice and refine your technique can move you along.