As the end of the year approaches, many of us are thinking of New Year’s Resolutions or ways in which we can make our next year better. We look at things we want to change and things that we want to make better. We are always looking to the outside, to the world, when we should be looking inward. We should be looking to ourselves. One of the best things to help us find this new path is meditation.
Meditation is a search within, a search for where we want to go. What better way to start the New Year than with creating a daily meditation routine? Just five minutes a day to start with and that’s it. Five minutes a day! You can add more time as you go along, but the time length itself is not important. What is important is simply being in the here and now and allowing your time to be just yours.
Meditation is a practice which means that you practice it. Daily. It is never perfected. You will always grow and change due to this practice. Meditation simply involves silencing our mind and allowing it to show us what we need to know or learn. It will allow you to learn exactly who you are and who you want to be.
So let's begin your journey to a new year of meditation and peace.
Steps to Beginning a Meditation Practice:
1. Create a quiet time for meditation.
First, decide when you would like to meditate. This could be in the morning or afternoon, in the evening, and even before bed. You may meditate multiple times per day. There is no minimum or maximum when you choose to meditate.
The key is to choose a time that you can dedicate each day. Once you decide on a time, try to make sure that you continue during this time. Setting a practice begins with it becoming a habit.
But don't be upset if you miss your time due to travel, etc. Simply chose another time and space to meditate. The point is to dedicate your time to this.
2. Create a sacred space for meditation.
Dedicating a sacred space for meditation doesn't mean spending a lot of money on pillows and timers and videos. All you need is a quiet space with no distractions such as televisions, cellphones, pets, or other noise. The place should be dim, possibly lit by a candle for focus.
Many people choose a meditation pillow, but those can be expensive. Others opt for a yoga mat, a blanket to sit on, or even simply a bed or mattress. The point of this sacred space is to allow you to disconnect to the outside world and to focus on your meditation.
3. Relax and let go.
Once you have decided when and where, now it is the time to just relax and let go. Begin getting comfortable on your pillow or mat and sit up tall. Cross your legs and allow your arms to fall to your lap. You may place them down on your knee or upwards in your lap or on your knees.
Next, take a deep breathe and just relax. Begin at your toes and begin to let them fall gently on the floor. Then move your focus up to your legs, your hips, your torso, your chest, your arms, your neck, and finally, your head. With each area, take in a deep breath and hold it and then relax the area. As you move upwards, you will begin to feel your entire body relax. This is where you want to be...simply relaxed.
4. Silence your mind.
Now, here comes the part that most people find to be the hardest thing about meditating—silencing the mind. Many feel like, if they think things or hear outside noises, then they are failing at meditation and must quit. This isn't true. Remember that meditation is a practice and not perfection.
As you sit quietly, choose a word, goal or mantra to focus on. An example may be peace, patience, or a sound or musical note. As you begin to focus on this mantra, notice if or when your mind begins to wander. When it doesn't simply recognize it and then allow it to blow away like the wind.
Do this each time your mind wanders and you will find that it will not wander as often, and eventually that time will diminish.
5. Keep a journal.
As you meditate and find your mind wandering, simply pick up a journal next to you and write these ideas in your journal. This will take it from your mind and allow you to refocus. The journal may also be used to write ideas and inspirations that may come to you while meditating. This is a great journal here.