Getting started with meditation

If you aren’t healthy, it’s pretty hard to stay organized. Eating good food, getting outside, going for walks, and getting enough sleep help you focus on the tasks of the day.

And a big part for me of being grounded in a healthy lifestyle is meditation. I started meditating a couple of years ago after resisting for the longest time because I thought mediation was something you had to “do right”.

What finally got me meditating was a book by Lissa Rankin called Mind Over Medicine. The book isn’t about meditation – it’s about how powerful your mind is in helping you heal.

Here’s Lissa talking about this in a TED talk.

The bottom line is that your body is really good at being healthy if you give it time. And meditation is a great way to do that. After reading the book, I figured I had 10 minutes a day I could stop and be quiet. And that’s really what meditation is: being quiet – and being comfortable with yourself being quiet.

I now meditate for longer periods of time because I really like it, but even 10 minutes once or twice a day gives your brain the break it needs to re-organize and heal.

A cool thing I’ve learned is that there’s no right way to meditate.

  • You can sit anywhere and you can sit comfortably. Sitting on the floor in a candle-filled room with your legs crossed totally doesn’t work for me. I like meditating outside while sitting on a rock. You may like sitting on a cushion or in a chair. You just need to feel grounded – feet on the floor, ground, or rock. And you want to sit up straight.
  • You need quiet. If you can’t find quiet in and around your house or apartment, try earplugs. They aren’t perfect but they at least muffle the sounds around you.
  • You can meditate at any time of the day or night, but it helps to build the habit if you can find a consistent time. Where can you go in the morning, mid-day, or evening where it’s quiet and you have a comfortable place to sit?
  • The goal of meditation is to get yourself to a quiet, non-thinking space. Many people advocate focusing on your breath as a way to give your mind something to do besides think. I love taking deep breaths because I don’t think we get enough of them – AND focusing on my breathing doesn’t work for me. Instead, I start with gratitude, being thankful for the day. I repeat “Thank you for this day” until my mind and breathing are calm. If I get distracted by thoughts as I meditate, I revert back to “Thank you for this day,” until I’m back in a quiet place.
  • You can meditate with your eyes open or closed. Mostly, I meditate with my eyes closed, but if I’m in a really beautiful spot, I love an open-eyed meditation as a way to really drink in the scenery.
  • If you close your eyes as you meditate, it’s really cool to face the sun. When your brain starts chattering, watch the sunlight through your eyelids. Just seeing that color is a great way to get back to an open, non-thinking mind.
  • Your brain likes to have something to do so after I’m in a calm, grateful place, I do a full body scan with my mind. I visit each sense – my five senses plus the sense of pressure, pain, time, and place. Then I visit and thank each organ and each part of my body. This includes skin, bones, joints, and blood. As I scan, I send energy and ask what I can do to help make that part healthy. You may need to google what’s inside your body to see what’s in there and how it works. It’s pretty fascinating!
  • When I finish my full body scan, I’m in a very calm place and am ready to listen to whatever my body and the Universe have to tell me.

I will warn you that once you get started meditation is kind of addictive. We’re all so busy and our days are filled with media and the Internet and just… stuff. Meditation is your time and that’s an incredible and healthy gift to give yourself.

Let me know if you have questions.

Sending you love and energy from the rocky coast of Maine.




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