5 Day Meditation Challenge for Beginners
I’ve always struggled with making time to meditate even though it’s a habit I’d like to incorporate into my every day life. I usually feel I’m doing it wrong or somewhere in the process I feel I have so much to do that I should probably stop mediating and get something “real” done. Today I listed to a Pursuit with Purpose Podcast featuring Sharon Salzberg and something about the way she explained mediation finally clicked with me. Ah ha! There isn’t a wrong way to meditate! Tomorrow I’m putting aside those thoughts of failure and I’m challenging myself to a 5 day meditation challenge and I’m inviting you along. Everything I’ve learned points to consistency being the key to creating a new habit so I’m setting some structure to my personal challenge to help: 10 minutes of quiet by 6:30am, setting a timer, sitting position.
You can create you own structure for the challenge too (10 minutes too long? Try 8 minutes! Morning too busy? Try the evening before bed! Don’t like sitting that long? Try a walking meditation!).
Here are a few Tips for Beginners to Meditation:
1. Set your intention for the challenge and know why you want to start meditating. Knowing your why is helpful so that when you get discouraged in the process, you can return to your reason why you are sitting down in the first place. My intention is to carry more peace, be more present and have more intentional energy in my every day moments.
2. Be consistent with environment, time of day, and length of time you choose to meditate for (consistency helps form a new habit).
3. Pick one technique to begin with whether you want a guided mediation, a simple mantra, a quiet meditation, etc.
4. Expect what happens during meditation. I use to get discouraged during meditation when my mind wouldn’t stop racing from thought to thought and felt like I wasn’t doing it right. Expecting that distraction is a part of the process and that it’s not about stopping the thoughts so much as it’s about noticing them and noticing when you’re getting carried away. Then you can name the thought as “thinking,” and return to breath. I like to name my thoughts real names. For instance in today’s meditation “Penny,” popped in and started telling me how nice it would be if we got a Bean bag chair for our living room. (Penny is my series of repetitive and non useful thoughts about how i should spend money). She convinced me the bean bag would be so comfortable and she showed me where it would go and how Vera would really love playing with it and that I probably should stop meditating and go online and find the perfect one right this moment. That’s when I caught her and said, “Hello Penny, thanks for that thought, I’ll get back to you later if I need.” I returned to my breath and a few seconds later Penny came back! This time she whispered to me how the upstairs Airbnb kitchen could really use some updating! (Penny is very pesky!). This time I noticed her right away, thanked her for that suggested with a smile, and returned back to my breathe.
5. Be gentle with yourself if it doesn’t go as expected and/or your miss a day
6. Try your best 😊
A friend asked me today if she needed anything special to start and the answer is NO! Just a quiet space and a timer! If you aren’t sure what technique to start with you can just do a simple breathing mantra where you focus on your breath and notice it go in and go out. When you catch yourself wandering from your breath, simply let go of the thought (stop following it), and return to your breath. Today was day 3 of 5 for me and the letting go part was a little harder than yesterday but I’m remaining gentle with myself- it’s all a part of the process!
Would you like a few more resources on meditation to help you get started? These two pocket books are my favorite recourses and reminders for how to get started with a mediation practice:
How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh
Sit Like a Buddha by Lodro Rinzler
Want a little more in depth explanation on going beyond your thoughts? Here is one of my favorites:
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer