Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Meditation isn't rocket science. In fact, you're probably already doing it.
Alongside my work as a personal development and dating coach I also teach yoga and meditation, and recommend to all my dating clients that they get stuck into meditation too. I got into meditation the hard way (as usual) by throwing myself straight into 100 hours of silent meditation on a 10 day Vipassana course back in 2014, but while that worked for me (and it really has been an amazing journey) it's not necessary to go to such lengths to get started. In fact, if you've got a spare 5-10 mins we can start now.
Find a comfortable spot where you wont be interrupted, close your eyes and think to yourself 'I wonder what the next thought to enter my head will be'. Now wait to find out. Notice that space while you waited?
Well done. You just meditated.
Meditation is generally very misunderstood in the western world. At least once a week I come across someone who tells me they have an interest in meditating but have given up trying to learn because they struggle to silence their mind and can't stop thinking. If this sounds familiar, don't worry. It's completely normal and it doesn't mean you're failing. You don't need to do a course or buy an app to overcome the obstacle of thinking and 'learn' how to meditate properly and keep a clear mind, you just need to understand meditation a bit better.
Meditation is in fact just the practice of staying aware of the present moment instead of slipping into unconscious and repetitive thought streams. When we are aware of a thought, we have the choice to react to it or not, so as long as you remain aware of the thoughts that enter your mind you're still meditating. When a thought comes in, simply realise that you don't need to react to it - it's just a thought. Instead, simply acknowledge the thought and send it on its way, then wait in that clear space until the next thought appears.
Meditation really is that simple.
When you're new to meditation, it probably won't be long before you get caught up in a thought stream and a little bit of time passes before you realise that you've been thinking and haven't managed to remained aware during that time. This is the unconscious thinking that we're trying to avoid, but don't worry! The important thing here is not to beat yourself up and get frustrated, but instead, realise that you have now regained awareness and are already meditating again, then gently return to a clear mind and wait for the next thought to enter.
Keep doing this patiently until the 5-10 minutes is up and be kind to yourself. Clearing you mind and observing your thoughts is meditation in it's simplest form and can be practised at any time, for example on the bus or while walking, cooking or cleaning your teeth. Even a 30 second practice helps to strengthen awareness, so practice as often as you can.
Now you've got the basics down, check out my guided meditations that will help you shift your awareness into the body. More of them coming soon... (don't hold your breath, but do observe it)