The first time I sat down to meditate was about 2 years ago, and it was everything but calmness and clarity. At the time, I didn’t have a firm reason as to why I should meditate. All I had was the encouragement from my ex-boyfriend and that I needed to find the characteristics of a loving person within me (This makes him sound like a jerk, but it was the best advice I’ve ever received). I looked at his lifestyle, mindset, and how he carried himself through his beliefs and that was a good enough reason to start.
Prior to my first sit down, I thought meditation was going to be a quiet and soothing ride, but that is its external representation. Internally, it is like being strapped to the back seat of a Mad Max car.
Meditating isn’t as glamorous as how advertisements and online gurus make it to be, but like any type of sport or practice, you will find that sweet spot where the waves are calm once you make it into a habit and a commitment.
Your First Week (Initial Clean Up)
The thought of sitting down may already be uninviting to you. The idea of being still can seem that way especially when the world around us is high on stimulation.
When you start, there may be thoughts about what you might wear to work tomorrow, rather you should take a shower in the morning or wait until night time, and rather you should quit your Starbucks addiction.
These thoughts are what I call, “Daily Mind Trash” where the thoughts are simple and not very rooted in your beliefs. During this meditation session, you might even encounter weeks and years-old of mind trash where these thoughts pertain to who you are, your aspirations, and along with all the problems in your life that you were too afraid of confronting.
All these thoughts won’t come in chronological order, but they will come all at once and you may feel like drowning.
But the only way around it is through. You can’t sweep years-old trash under a carpet and expect the room to smell good. Put in consistent work and you will see changes in the quality of your life, the shift in the perspective of how you want to live, and the space that is readily available for you to improve it.
Sit in your favorite chair or part of your bed that makes you feel the safest. Set a timer for 5–10 minutes and put on a soothing song from Youtube that makes you feel at ease. Something you can imagine yourself melting away to. There might be times where you have the urge to open your eyes and that is okay. Fight that urge for as longest you can then reset.
Humans love to be in the know; we are conditioned to want to see what’s going on even though nothing is happening. Notice what your body is telling you. Listen to what your body wants to do. Do it then reset.
The Second+ Week
Sooner then you know it, week number 2 rolls around, and your thoughts haven’t scared you away, yet. Remind yourself that thoughts are only thoughts until they define who you are. Thoughts can be strong enough to become actions, and through meditation, actions can be backtracked to the root of where it has been slowly cooking for years.
The second week might not be very spiritually invoking, but it can be a trajectory you can aim yourself at as more thoughts unfold.
This week may be as hard or harder than the first week. There may be fights with yourself about why your mind is always so busy, why you’re holding your breath instead of flowing like a rhythm, and why it is so easy to lose your focus on keeping your headspace clean.
“Your goal is not to battle with the mind, but to witness the mind.”– Swami Muktananda
You will slowly realize that meditation is not about keeping your head empty of thoughts. That is not humanly possible. It’s easier to understanding meditation as a way to organize your thoughts. It’s like brushing your hair after going on a full day of amusement rides and roller coasters, but instead of one day, it’s been 22 years or however old you are. It’s especially painful and frustrating.
Continue to push through this week. The third and fourth week will be interesting.
Your First Month-ish
Realizing what you are feeling the moment you feel it is a huge accomplishment because the quicker these feelings are noticed, the quicker you can control your reaction to certain situations.
For some, it may not be at the 1-month mark that these changes start to happen. Many may relapse and start over or even take up to months of practice before they obtain a slither of this accomplishment.
It all depends on how dedicated you are and if you’re in the right mindset during your practice.
To have a healthy mindset and be on track, ask yourself these questions:
What is the reason why you’re meditating? Who are you? What kind of person does the world need more of?
Is it to have a healthier relationship with who you are? To have a better insight of why you act a certain way in situations? If your answer is to obtain something tangible as in becoming more wealthy or to have more friends then most likely these goals will never become true.
Instead, dig a little deeper and give yourself a more detailed answer. For example, the reason why you are meditating is to be more aware of what and who are surrounding you.
If you want to find more success within your career than how can you become a better team player? You can be more patient of hearing out new ideas, inclusive of the people on your team, and have a stronger work ethic.
Find the deeper meaning to why you are meditating and that should lead you on the right tracks. Eventually.
The environment you create for yourself, rather it’s positive or negative, will eventually involve your friends, peers, and coworkers.
A Life-long Practice
Meditation is a practice that you can never perfect because there is an entire world within us that is waiting to unfold. Every day we are confronted with stimulations, new experiences, tragedies, and new levels of emotions that all mold into who we are.
Meditation is about learning who you are and who you can become. We evolve every day, constantly.
When you sit down to meditate, it won’t be a straight line to success. Sometimes we will be confronted with our worst fears and it can be very lonely.
Of course, meditation is a very individualistic skill to practice and it will always get worse before it gets better. But always know that the highs will always come down and the lows only have one direction to go next, up.
“Only in my deep meditation do I come to know who I truly am.” — Sri Chinmoy
I have only been meditating for 5 years, but through it, I have found the person that I want to become.
I have found clarity, acceptance, and peace.
Most importantly, I have found fluidity in how easy a circumstance can move through my life.
Feelings aren’t stuck in my head for too long anymore. Situations, where I have no control over, do not phase me as much. Most importantly, I am able to recognize when to let go of a situation where I am not in control.
Meditation should be a life long practice.
As long as you have good intentions when you’re meditating, you are making the process.
Streaks do not matter if you are only meditating for the numbers.
Fight to find the stillness within yourself as often as you can and you will naturally find clarity in any aspect of your life.