This is one of the questions I get most: how to start meditating?
First of all, what I describe here is based on my experience. I want to share how I started to meditate. I have no technical, religious or scientific knowledge to argue the benefits of this practice, much less dictate what technique to follow. The intention of this post is to show that you just need to take the first step and start! Because I believe that if you are looking for meditation, meditation is also looking for you.
The first time I practice meditation was in a Dance Company that I worked in São Paulo, Brazil. In it all the dancers meditated together, in a circle, before beginning the classes and rehearsals of the day. At that time meditation for me was more of a duty than a pleasure, and the feeling of physical and mental discomfort with noisy thoughts was always present.
However it was in this first contact that I had the opportunity to learn about the correct position and with the ‘obligation’ to practice daily I was able to habituate my body to the seated position, the zazen. When I left the company months later I kept practicing alone at home, It was not that often but at least 3 or 4 times a week, usually when I felt confused, anxious, lost or looking for concentration in some work. During this time I meditated for 5 or 10 minutes, counted on my cellphone alarm.
But it was only when I really decided to practice meditation, the meditation soon found me. So if you really want to meditate, DO IT. Do not expect to find the right technique, the guru or the perfect step-by-step. Just decide to start today and GO for it.
2nd CHOOSE A PLACE
As much as the picture above is in a temple, precisely at the Zen Shobogenji Temple at Capilla del Monte, Argentina, you do not need a Zen garden or a temple or even a special room to start it. The best place to do it is at home.
Pick a quiet spot where there is little or almost no flow of people. Take some pillows and place them on the floor at a comfortable height for you where your hip is slightly higher than your knees and they can comfortably and effortlessly touch the floor. Put a rug or something soft down so your ankles and knees are protected from the cold and stiffness of the ground (as in the picture).
After meditating if you felt that the place chosen was harmonious for your practice, keep it during the following days, so then you will day by day build your energetic space.
3th ABOUT THE POSTURE
There are different types of techniques, postures, positions, breaths among other information. But I believe that meditating is part of the human being and you just need to try for a while and you will feel how your body adapt to that.
First focus on finding a comfortable posture that keeps the spine vertically aligned, as a connection between heaven and earth. Position your right leg at the front, palms facing up or hands in a circle with the right below the left and the toes slightly touching. The arms and shoulders should be relaxed, as in the picture.
4th SET A DAILY TIME AND THE PRACTICE DURATION
At the beginning you will feel time passing really slowly but do not give up. A good way to persist is to define how many minutes will be in the position, so then you be ‘in control’ of your mind. Start with 5 minutes and then go day after day increasing your time.
Tip: Put the cell phone to wake up after the defined meditation time so then your mind will not sabotage the practice by sending thoughts like: ‘Has it already been 5 minutes?’
The best time to meditate is between 5am and 9am. Make the habit of meditating before leaving home and then feel the benefits of getting a balanced day.
Remember that meditation is something natural of the human being and does not need anxiety or rigidity. Just allow yourself to experience the silence and let it slowly flow in meditation.
5th WITH MUSIC OR WITHOUT MUSIC?
When I started my 5 minutes meditation, I used to practice without music and after the increase of time I chose to add it.
Today I practice sometimes with music and others without. But here is a music suggestion:
I learned with a great mentor that meditating is like brushing teeth, bathing and going to the bathroom, what means it is an organic, natural and daily practice. However in our society we are not used to it, we did not learn how to do it. So give yourself attention and discipline to practice daily and you will see that afterwards your body will ask for this daily moments of silence.
Do not give up in the early days, keep practicing and believe, everyone can meditate.
So shall we go?