Updated: Oct 19
Meditation clearly is something people will always ask you to do. With the rapid growth of the importance of self-love, it has started getting the value it long deserved. I have always known its importance and benefits but just like everyone else, I had a lot of questions. How to start? How to be consistent? What does it actually feel like? Am I doing it right? Is it about shutting down our brain? But as I have come quite far in the journey, as I have met a lot of gurus I finally have an idea of it. So for the beginners out there, here's a guide to Meditation.
When Do I Start?
It affects your lifestyle (for good) and though it might not be the biggest decision of your life, it can only show its maximum output when you make the decision yourself and not when someone drags you to the centre to practice it. So make sure you have made up your mind that you will put your heart in it and that you really want to give it a try.
Do I really need it?
Of course, you won't die if you don't do it but its benefits are so effective that you can't exactly even number or label them. It changes your lifestyle so much, you might even transform yourself into a better version without even noticing. It is a great activity to include in your lifestyle. And considering our lives in the present, we actually do need it.
What kind of meditation should I start?
There are so many kinds of meditation and none is better or worse than the other. Every person is different and so are their requirements and so this is one thing you can get to know when you try different kinds and compare the impact it had on you. Remember, none of them is bad but there is one out there that feels like it was made for you. You can have peaceful background music, or someone could guide the practice or there can be complete silence or something even else.
Who should I follow?
There are so many sources where you could get content on meditation and again it depends on you. There are podcasts, youtube videos, a guru near your building, an audio clip shared by a family member or friend and so many more. You just have to find the one that feels like it has your essence or the one that talks to your brain. It is about how you feel, your experience and so you don't necessarily need to like the one someone else swears by. It is your journey, your path and only you know what feels good so follow what your gut says.
Am I doing it right?
There is no right or wrong here. It is a self-help activity and so there is no good or bad, right or wrong but instead, it is all about you and how you feel. Also, in itself, it is neither good nor bad and only you register it as good or bad by comparing it to the expectations you had set for the practice. So never say it wasn't that good or it could have been better or that your mind wandered, but instead, always say it was good because it is always better than overthinking or self-sabotaging or negative self-talk or feeling anxious and so every practice is good. So many times even the experts are unable to meet the expectations they had but they know that it doesn't mean they don't know how to do it or that they are doing something wrong. It is about you, nothing else matters.
How to stop Mind-wandering?
People have this conception that it is about shutting our brains down or to not think anything at all and so when the first time they try it and can't shut their brains down (which is quite impossible) they think they couldn't meditate and that it is not even something they can do. I was that person too until somebody told me it's not true. A little mind-wandering isn't bad, just focus on not feeling negativity. So if you start overthinking or criticizing, acknowledge the emotion or thought but counter it with a positive statement that is true according to the situation too. For example, if you made a mistake in the recent and you are getting thoughts like you are stupid or worthless, counter it with thoughts like I made a mistake, I acknowledge it and I am grateful that I learned a lesson.
How do I become Consistent?
Consistency is something that can be easily achieved if you find it interesting. For example, if you don't like brushing then choose a paste with a strawberry or mint or any flavor you would like and now you will start enjoying it because you love the taste. So at this moment, it is not about self-discipline but instead, you added an interesting thing and now you like doing it. The same goes for meditation, you just have to add a thing that has an essence of you and it could be anything. If you like fashion, buy an outfit that you will love to wear while meditating or you can reward yourself something after every practice like creating a mandala or coloring or anything you like. Just add something so you look forward to it.
Would I suddenly feel great? Is it completely mood changing?
It is not a magical potion that you drink and suddenly your life turns upside down and you have everything you want. It might not change a lot of things or how you feel, you might start thinking about your problems again and it is okay because eventually, a point will come where you would start feeling a change in your behavior, how you perceive life, in the littlest details. When you find the sort of meditation that works for you, you wouldn't have many questions left. The pieces will start falling right back in place. When you are a beginner, a lot of expectations are not met and there is a strong urge to give up but you just need to keep doing it.
Should I do it alone or with someone?
It depends on you. If you don't like socializing much then you can start doing it on your own. If you like socializing then you can surely go to a class. If you don't like meeting people but you want to share your experience and get to know others' then you can join an online forum or group with like-minded people. You can also get a teacher for an hour to monitor or guide you (if you feel the need) personally. So again do it the way you like.
It is a practice you do for yourself so how you feel matters the most. If you feel like something is not going right or is not matching your vibe, you can always shift to something else. Remember, no reason is strong enough that you give up. You can always ask your queries online or to a mentor. Use your surroundings to help you out.