It’s amazing to me that I started meditating almost exactly two years ago. For many more experienced meditators, this is but a sliver of time in comparison to their practice. But the simple truth is that even with just two years under my belt, so much has changed for me in my life since then and I honestly don’t know where I would be without my meditation practice. I can tell you from first hand experience, I am a kinder and more caring person since my first session back in December 2015. Ask my wife! I suspect (or maybe hope) that she would support my claims and tell you that I have changed for the better in the last couple years.
In this post I want to show you just how easy it is to start your own meditation practice. I will explain how I got started and describe some of the fears that hold us back and stop us from achieving our goals. Beginning your practice is easier than you think, and I hope that after reading this you will agree with me.
Often times when we want to start something new we look at others that we admire and think to ourselves, “I’ll never be as good at—fill in the blank—as them.” We never get started because it’s somehow easier to admit we never tried than it is to admit we failed; or at least it is for me.
But as the ancient Chinese maxim goes: “Every 10,000 mile journey starts with a single step.” Believe me, I know this is much easier said than done. The first step is always the hardest because it’s when we have the most fear. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of learning something new. Fear of trying something new and hating it. The list goes on and on…
There are a million reasons not to take that first step but a better life doesn’t happen without action. You can’t wish your way into becoming a person who is filled with ease and peace—you must act it! At the end of your life, wouldn’t you like to say “I’m glad I tried” instead of “I wish I had”?
We often assume that motivation precedes action but in reality, it’s the other way around. The more you act, the more motivated you become. This methodology is not only applicable to meditation, it’s applicable to anything in life. Try it and see for yourself.
Instead of trying to build enough will power to eat healthier, try just eating one healthy meal a week. Stick with the one meal per week for a while and chances are you will become motivated to eat two or three healthy meals a week. Before you know it, you are eating healthier than you would have ever thought possible.
So, as it pertains to meditation, instead of trying to psych yourself into sitting down and listening to your mind for an hour every day, just start with 5 minutes once a week. See what happens to your motivation. The great thing about meditation is that it’s always with you. It never goes away because it’s not like you can wake up one morning and the ability to sit in stillness is gone. The river of mediation is always flowing, you just have to be brave enough to jump in every once and a while.
I’m assuming that some of you at this point are thinking “Okay, okay, I get it JC. I need to take action to get started but where do I start? The great news is that there are so many resources that can answer that exact question and so many more!
As meditation continues to grow in western society, there’ve been many tools created to help you get started. Gone are the days where you need a meditation teacher in the same room as you in order to learn the proper sitting posture or the proper way to practice mindful meditation.
Apps such as Headspace, Breethe and Calm are wonderful resources for learning the tricks of the trade.
For me in particular, Headspace got me from a place of complete ignorance to a place where I understood the basic principles of meditation and could sit on my own for 20 minutes a day with some degree of competency. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my first mediation was only 6 minutes! At that time I had no instruction and didn’t really know what I was doing. Later, I found Headspace and that’s when my practice really took off. There was something about the way Andy (the teacher in Headspace) talked that made it easy for me to understand the basics.
I think it’s important to have some sort of guidance when you are first beginning. Without said guidance you can fall into bad habits and ultimately create a situation where you are making the practice more difficult than it needs to be.
Apps are not the only way to get started. Luckily for most of us we have access to the Internet and we can do a little research on our own. There are thousands of websites and blogs (like this one) out there to help you get the ball rolling. At some point however, you will need something more than an app or the Internet. Beyond Internet resources, you can always join groups in your community. Now, not all communities are as mindful as others but chances are you can find one. And if you can’t, there are plenty of online groups you can join for moral support.
(Shameless Plug): check out our Basic Mediation 101 classes held at the Purposeful Living Healing Center. Visit www.purposefulliving.com to see when the next class is available.
Hopefully by now, you can see that it’s not all that difficult to find help and get started with a meditation practice of your own. Whether you dive right in or just dip your toes into the water, you need to at least see how it feels for yourself. So get started today! Take the first step on your journey of mindfulness!!!
I can promise you once you start on the path of mindfulness you will want more. The more you get the further you go. So do yourself the favor and start meditating today. Even if only for a few minutes or even seconds, it’s a start!
Finally, I will leave you with this analogy: starting a meditation practice is like pushing a massive boulder down a hill. From an idle position just getting the giant rock moving is the hardest part of the process but once you do, the rock picks up its own momentum and cannot be stopped!
Thank you as always for reading! We would love to hear your story. Tell us how you got started with your meditation practice and let us know if there are any other resources you found helpful to get the process going.
Until next time, many many blessings!
PS: Below are some resources mentioned in our post today: