A frequent conversation that I have with my clients is on how to reframe the idea of meditation. Many people think that they cannot meditate, which is simply untrue. We just don't know what to make of this foreign idea if we're not used to calm, quiet, and stillness.
Below is an unpublished interview that discussing the importance and fallacies of meditation.
What is the initial step/stage?
There are only three things that you need to meditate: willingness, attention and focus.
Is there something to work up to in meditation?
No, contrary to popular belief there really isn’t something to work up to in meditation. Each and every mediation is a completely unique and beautiful experience. Having expectations about what the meditation will do or look like may even hinder the meditation itself. It’s not what happens during your meditations, but what occurs in your life afterwards.
Can anybody meditate?
Yes! Anyone can learn how to meditate! All they need is the willingness to try!
Is meditation all a mental thing?
While there is absolutely a mental aspect, there are a variety of different types of meditation, including ones where you engage your physical body.
For beginners what is recommended?
Start small, and don’t have too high of expectations. Start just with setting a timer on your phone and closing your eyes. See if you can just sit and breathe, without getting distracted. It may be difficult at the beginning, but if you stick with it, it will get easier.
A good tip is to start small and work your way up, especially if you don’t think that you can meditate. Start with one minute, move to three, then five, then to up to ten. Use the timer on your phone so that you know you don’t have to keep checking the time and you can allow yourself to relax into the process.
What kind of location is desirable for meditation?
Contrary to what you may see in movies and television, there is no ideal space to meditate, in fact, meditation can be done anywhere, at any time! While you may enjoy having a set space that is dedicated for meditation, you can use your meditation skills at work, on public transit, or even your closet. Any place is a good place to meditate. While you may assume that a quiet place is the most desirable, that doesn’t help train us to zone out the distractions of everyday life that we encounter.
Is meditation a mind game?
No, there are actual physiological changes in the body that occur when doing meditation.
Please give step by step instruction on how to do meditation
There is no way to provide step by step instructions on how to meditate, as it will be different and unique for each person. I like to think of meditation like the word “sports”, as in you don’t do “sports”, sports is a generic word that encompasses a multitude of physical and mental activities. You can train your skills, you can work on your form and muscles, but one does not do “sports”.
Is there a blueprint to meditation?
While there isn’t a “blueprint” to how to meditate, or how to have a successful meditation practice, there a few things that I like to have my clients keep in mind.
The first thing is that it’s okay to have thoughts — the point of meditation is not to erase all of your thoughts completely, but to be mindful of the present moment. When thoughts come in, and they will, simply acknowledge them, and come back to the present moment, and your breath.
The second thing I remind my clients is to be kind to themselves. It can be difficult, especially at first, which is why many people don’t think that it is for them. No one is great anything the first few times, it takes practice, just like anything else.
Meditation is just that, a practice, and its important to stick with it in order to have the most consistent benefits from it.
The final thing is to release any expectations that you may have about what the mediation will look or feel like, or how you will (re)act afterwards. Many people expect to have crazy, spectacular, memorable meditations, but that is the outlier. Most meditations may prove to be incredibly boring in the moment, but that is the purpose, to allow the mind a chance to rest, without stimulation or distraction.
What are the results of meditation?
Meditation is not a magic pill and it does not instantly change anything in your life. It is a practice that will help you to connect with the present moment better.
With a regular meditation practice, you may experience:
Who will benefit the most from meditation?
While you will receive the inherent physical and psychological benefits from meditation, the ones who will actually benefit most are the people around you. Often times we don’t notice the difference in ourselves until it has been pointed out by someone, that we are more patient, that our demeanor has shifted, or that we are kinder or more thoughtful in our responses and reactions. Meditation benefits us and all of those around us!
Can meditation eliminate the use of medication for mental treatment such as anxiety or mental illness?
No, I do not recommend meditation with the goal of replacing or eliminating proper medical treatment. Meditation may not be suited for everyone, and may even have adverse effects for people who have experienced trauma or PTSD. Meditation is a complementary treatment that should be used alongside proper medical treatment.
While meditation can be a great option in stressful situations or to calm anxiety, it is not a replacement for medication.
Do you have a regular meditation practice? How has meditation affected your life? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!
Arielle is a best-selling author, holistic life coach and intuitive energy healer.