10 Steps to Meditation by Jessica Milligan

Turning Meditation into a morning ritual has helped me become more balanced, focused and centered throughout my day. I can see the changes it has made in my life and I want it for yours. 

One of the most important things meditation has done for me is understanding my own mind. I use to always associate all of my random thought as if they were apart of me. But when you step outside of yourself in meditation and view your thoughts as a car passing by, or a leaf in the wind, you'll start to observe them rather than assume they represent who you are.  

Meditation is a practice. It's not supposed to leave you feeling enlightened after the first time. So here are 10 tips on how to start meditating:

1. Sit in a quite space: With feet criss-cross apple sauce or upright in a chair with your feet planted in the ground. Whichever position you pick, stay there. It's really important to keep the energy moving through your body. When we start to fidget it tends to let go of the powerful energy we are stirring up.

2. Set your timer: For beginners I recommend setting your timer for 10 minutes. But if you really want to dive into the feeling of a true meditation set it for 20 minutes. You can even download a Tibetian soundbowl app that will play a beautiful bell sound when your timer is up. 

3. Check in with you: As you start to settle into this new place check in with yourself and see what are you feeling. Are you emotional? Has your breath pace changed? Do your knees hurt? Are you thinking about dinner or finishing a Netflix show? These are all NORMAL feelings and thoughts. Just begin to witness them and let them float by. (Also I do recommend letting emotions flow out of you. It is extremely healthy to cry during meditation.) 

4. Wandering mind: It happens to everyone. Just let it wander and bring your mind back to where you are. With your eyes closed know where you are sitting and start to observe your breath. How deep to you inhale? Are my exhales short and sweet or deep and relaxing.

5. No wrong way: If you start to feel like you're doing it wrong, stop. That's just your silly ego paying you a visit because you're doing something he doesn't like. This would also be a great time to focus on your breath and your commitment to your 10 or 20 minutes. 

6. Stillness: It is so important to keep still. Let the itch on your eyelid pass. Let the tickle in your nose tickle. We are so accustomed to moving, walking, driving and texting that we only slow down to sleep. 

7. Clearing mind: That seems to be what people think about when meditating. It's a great goal to have but that shouldn't be your goal. Your goal is to focus our minds on the present and where we are. When the mind starts to drift into a thought we bring it back to the present. 

8. thoughts trigger emotions: I know I said let thoughts pass by, but in the occurrence of a thought with emotion behind it- let it sit. Stay with the emotions that are arising and just be there. We tend to want to avoid feelings of frustration, sadness or anxiety... but a beautiful meditation practice involves staying with those feelings and being curious about them. 

9. Smile: After you have completed the 10 or 20 minutes, smile. Be grateful that you had this time to yourself. You stuck with you commitment and you showed yourself that you are deep, open and ready to get to know yourself even more. 

10. Journal: I do recommend tracking your practice in a journal. You can write down everything that came up for you. Keep notes about what was easy, what you found difficult and remind yourself why you are meditating. Be real with yourself. 

Meditation isn’t always comfortable or easy  But it has truly amazing benefits, and you can start right now and continue for the rest of your life. :) 

By: Jessica Milligan