Where do I begin? How do I start a meditation practice? Where do I find the time? These are some of the questions I get when I lead a mindfulness meditation group. Without being outright snarky, the easiest answer is, just begin! Sharing from my own personal experience, here are a few guidelines to begin and sustain a meaningful mindfulness meditation practice.
Set a Time
Set a time. I find that mornings are my best time to meditate before the day gets away from me. There is something about setting a time that creates the commitment, or intention, to practice. If you are a night owl, later in the day or evening might work better. Experiment to see what time is best for you. Try to be consistent.
Make a Place
Make a place. Designate a corner of a room, or if you are fortunate to have an extra room, set up a chair or meditation cushion as your “spot”. Even if you miss a day of meditation, you will see this special place and be reminded of your intention to meditate.
Create an “Altar”
Create an “altar.” No, I’m not suggesting you set up a shrine to a deity or begin a new worship practice! A home altar can be an array of meaningful items – a picture of a loved one or a pet, a small vase of flowers, a token from a special trip, a candle – you get the idea. This deliberate tribute is a way of honoring your commitment to practice and will remind you of what is important in your life.
Download a Meditation Timer
Download a meditation timer. Meditation timer apps usually have a really nice bell sound that is quite “meditatey” (I just made up that word) and can be a useful aid in keeping track of time (or your wandering mind). Just be sure to face the timer AWAY from you or you will find yourself looking and thinking, “Are we there yet?”
Unplug. If you use a meditation timer app, be sure to put your phone or device on airplane mode to help keep distractions at a minimum.
Get buy-in. Share with your family or your friends that you are beginning a meditation practice. Ask them to honor the time and place to help keep you on track.
So – what’s stopping you? Just begin!