When I got into meditation many questions popped up along the way. Not only was I asking them to myself, but friends and family asked me as well. Though I’m only month into my mindful journey, I feel like I have learned a few answers to those Q’s.
1. How do you “turn off” your brain during meditation?
Plot twist. You don’t. Meditation isn’t about not thinking. It’s about noticing when your mind wanders off and gently returning it to the present moment. So if you find your mind wondering about what ice cream flavor you’re going to have after dinner instead of being being in the moment, don’t beat yourself up! Note it, and return the mind to the body.
2. What do you think about when you’re meditating?
For me personally, I like to focus on the breath. I switch between counting them or just noting “in” or “out” as they go by. Sometimes I concentrate on the present moment by noting the sounds and smells around me, other I just get in tune with my body and how I’m feeling that day. It’s all about what works best for you. The reason a lot of people focus on the breath and how it feels in the body is because that forces you to be present. You have to note how each breath feels as it happens. However, there are many branches on the meditation tree, and all of them have their own style of doing things. So explore!
3. What resources did you use to get started?
- 10% Happier by Dan Harris. This book was so easy to read, and really showed the process on how meditation isn’t an instant thing. He really emphasizes that the brain might not always cooperate, but that’s okay. It’s the journey and it’s getting better every day.
- My water glider cushion. Finding what position to sit in can be one of trial and error. I quickly learned that meditating in my bed often led to unitintional power naps, but I didn’t like sitting on the couch either nor did my hips enjoy sitting cross-legged. So I went to Amazon and found a meditation cushion that would prop up my hips more comfortably. You can find it here.
- Headspace the app. My first goes with meditation involved just myself and a timer. However, I really wanted to grow my practice and for that I needed a guide. I tried a few free trials, but I found Headspace really worked best for me. However, if a subscription isn’t in the mix for you Insight Timer was a great free app, and they have guided and unguided options too.
4. How long until you reap the benefits?
Like anything worthwhile, it takes time. While the sense of calm may be immediate, it takes to time actively apply mindfulness to the every day (Something I’m definitely still working on). As my high school band director always said, “slow methodical practice leads to rapid technical success.” Though he meant that in the sense of scales and difficult passages of music, I think it applies to many facets of life. You have to train your brain, and that’s going to take time. I believe in you 😄.
I hope this helps anyone who is just starting out or hasn’t taken the first step yet!
Have any other questions? Comment below!