How To Get Started With Meditation

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Do you do it with your eyes open or closed?

Now that I have your attention, let me introduce the concept of meditation. I have been trying to accomplish this practice for 25 years with no luck. I have taken classes, listened to audio tapes and paid for Apps to help guide me through the process. I gave up until I found a mindfulness coach who encouraged me to meditate with my eyes open. That made all the difference.
Why it is hard for some of us to meditate? If you are like me, you always have a lot on your mind and it is hard to turn it off. One App says you can start with ten minutes a day. How hard can it be to find ten minutes a day? For some of us it is very hard. It means stopping, slowing down and staying awake. I have been known to snore during meditation. So how does keeping my eyes open help me to mediate? It gives me focus.
Before my coaching, I closed my eyes and thought of all the things I had to do that day. After learning the proper way to meditate, I focused on a light bulb or a glass, allowing me to appreciate the simplicity of an inanimate object and to push my “to do” list away. Mediation calms me and prepares me to face whatever the day has in store.
I still can’t meditate for a full ten minutes, but my mindfulness coach encourages starting slowly with four to five minutes. That I can do.  Open your eyes and give it a try. It is a great way to start the day.
  1. Sit in a bright room with the shades open and lights on. This discourages the urge to nap.
  2. Turn off all technology and any device that may beep or buzz.
  3. Use a timer. Put your phone on airplane mode. The timer will work but you will not get notifications.
  4. Start small. Two minutes is a good goal.  Work up to five and ultimately ten.
  5. Sit with palms facing up. That gesture is not a normal sitting position therefore promoting focus.
  6. Be forgiving. When the “to do list” occupies your mind, tell it to go away.
  7. Praise yourself for whatever you can do. Increase by 30 seconds a day. Remember, take baby steps.
  8. Breathe! I take three deep breaths and continue to take them when my mind distracts me.
  9. Pick one “bland” object to stare at. Do not pick a frame with an exciting photo. You will then think about the photo instead of your breathing. Last week I stared at a towel hanging off the closet door. It was perfect!
  10. Meditate first thing in the morning or you will never find the time.
Lastly, appreciate the opportunity to give yourself a few moments of stillness while keeping your eyes wide open.
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