Staying woke has never been so hard.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years as people have always been concerned with elevating their minds to higher levels of awareness. Now with a hundred tabs open on your web browser, and fifty group chats heating up your phone, society is hit with a huge challenge – how do I truly relax?
Meditation is literally mentally exercising your brain to be able to calm down, think clearly, and sometimes, find enlightenment.
We typically have a stereotypical view of meditating with the monks sitting in crossed legs, arms at the sides, and a variety of slow synthesized beats playing softly in the background.
The thing is that it’s just not realistic to hide in the mountains, or go on a pilgrimage to relax your brain, and find “zen”. With the human mind facing more and more chaos everyday in light of the information and technology age, one could say we need meditation now more than ever.
We at the Omelette are still struggling with common sense let alone reaching a state of Nirvana. But we do recognize how stress and fatigue can pile up and burn people out. So for the everyday person with the world on their shoulders and no time to escape, here’s 10 Tips to Starting A Meditation Routine at Home.
We are not experts, nor are we trained. We simply have acquired a few ideas on relaxing and getting into a mental state worth meditating on.
1) Create a Space for Serenity
Your ability to control and create peace in your environment is very important to being able to get into a mental zone where you can meditate. Our daily lives are filled with the chaos and noise of traffic, work, chores, and nagging spouses. Create a space where there are no reminders of your daily stress, where you feel comfortable, relaxed, and capable of lying or sitting down. This can be done by either spending thousands on a retreat to Bali or simply cleaning up your bedroom, cutting the lights, and turning off all electronics.
2) Acquire Objects to Help You Relax
Whether we want to admit it or not, we are incredibly materialistic creatures. Any object that brings a feeling of serenity, happiness, or relaxation, can serve as a great tool to gauge your stress level and keep you grounded. From Leonardo Dicaprio spinning a metal top as a totem to escape the dream world in Inception, to your baby sister refusing to quit crying unless a stuffed animal is wedged between her arms, small objects of personal value can help reinforce feelings of control and comfort. Consider the use of prayer beads, a stress ball, perhaps a beloved rug to sit on, or simply an item that brings back pleasant nostalgia.
3) Organize Your Time
Commit a certain amount of time towards the meditation session. If you do not treat this as importantly as time allocated for a meeting, homework, exam prep, or a hot date, then it is bound to fall on your priority list. Set a hard hour for yourself even if you will only meditate for fifteen minutes. By blocking off a space of time for yourself, you can mentally commit to not touching anything else that requires your attention and could cause you stress, like a last minute essay, or an online job interview. Making a deliberate time target and commitment to meditation will help to ease your mind of worry regarding your other responsibilities and will help to keep you committed.
4) Prepare Yourself
As you may have seen by the bulk of these tips, preparation is key. You can’t simply come home from a day of work, toss your keys to the side, plop yourself down and enter the matrix. Take some time to wash up, take care of any immediate chores, dress in loose comfortable clothing, and make sure you’re well fed and hydrated. If you have a feeling of physical and mental discomfort, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to be mentally centered for valuable meditation.
5) Abandon All Stereotypes
Meditation is not about floating in the air and becoming the Buddha. If you’re looking for answers to the biggest questions of the world and to figure out how 9/11 really happened, then you may be a little bit disappointed in your first few sessions. Meditation is about looking in yourself and re-orienting values, priorities, and a connection with the body and mind. The cool stuff that Hollywood tells us about is only a small aspect of it and largely exaggerated.
6) Start Small First
To expect yourself to get into a deep state of meditation lasting a few hours tonight is a bit of a stretch. Unfair expectations do nothing but discourage and there’s no need for that shade. Start small by aiming to have 15 minutes of dedicated concentration per session and slowly work your way up. You’ll be surprised by how long it takes to transition from deep breathing into conscious self-reflection.
7) Try to Use a Guide
From deep breathing to muscle relaxation to heart rate control and deep introspection, unless you’re an expert, we all need a bit of a guide towards getting into meditation. Use an aid whether it is a real person, book, or video, to help guide and prompt you for how to relax and transition through stages of meditation. Below we’ve listed a few guides from Youtube that we use after a long day to relax and get into that zone.
8) Determine Your Purpose
There are many forms and styles of meditation that I won’t bore you with the details of (if in fact you actually got this far into this article). But primarily, focus on determining whether you’re looking to work on mindfulness meditation or concentration meditation. Concentration meditation surrounds dedicating your meditative focus on external factors in your life such as a relationship, a project, or goal. Mindfulness meditation on the other hand surrounds focusing on internal factors such as your self-esteem, feeling of belonging, connection with your unconscious, and regulation of bodily functions. Often times people commit to a combination of both. Like a work-out routine, create a set of definite goals and overall purpose driving your meditation session.
9) Reflect After Sessions
Take some time after your session to reflect and consider what worked and what didn’t. Part of the value in meditation is in re-recognizing the cleansed and relaxed version of yourself. Your ability to see this version of you will help to stay motivated to better your meditation skills. Write down important breakthroughs or feelings and set goals for what to improve on. It’s a long process but the reflection helps to highlight your progress.
10) Do it Again!
Habits don’t happen overnight. If they did, I’d definitely look a lot slimmer! Recall the feeling of bliss and tranquility after a meditation session and consider how much easier work would be with a daily break like that. The true effects of meditation will only come with routinely committed time to practicing the art and science as well as having a concerted desire to push through the avenues and canals of what’s in your brain.