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Meditation introduces us to ourselves. We meet ourselves through the practice of being still. It’s through “being” that we begin to see ourselves clearly.

The first step in a mediation practice is to recognize the value in sitting still

As we sit and observe the mind without labeling or judging the constant stream of chatter, our thoughts begin to slow down and unwind. We rest in the center of our being and witness whatever is arising; yet we remain undisturbed. The mind begins to loosen its hold over us. Those things that used to bother us just don’t bother us anymore. With preparation, practice and patience, we can return to this sacred place of peace and stillness every time we meditate. It’s here that we can listen to the call of our own hearts.

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Steps to Take to Begin a Meditation Practice

For some, this process of sitting still feels counterintuitive. The world and those around us continue to call us into action. Often, we get messages like “Don’t just sit there, do something!”

The first step is to recognize the value in sitting still. It not only quiets the mind, but it nourishes and balances the nervous system. Without this balance, our health suffers. When we lack insight, our actions become empty movements. Preparations can make all the difference when we meditate. Here are just a couple that may help you organize your life around your practice.

Find a Time

Doing meditation at a regular time will help you create a habit that is lasting. When you can honor the same time each day you don’t have to re discipline yourself every time you want to sit. This way your meditation practice can be as routine as brushing your teeth. Choosing a time of day that best supports your lifestyle is also important. Here are some times that may work for you:

  • Upon waking because the natural quiet rhythm of sleep is working in your favor so the mind is more clear and open.
  • Before dinner so you can let go of the day and transition into the evening with a sense of renewed energy.
  • Before bed will allow you to sleep more soundly and peacefully.

Of course, know that anytime that works best in your own schedule will be best so you can make it a routine.

Often people ask how long should I meditate each day? Its important to realize that it may take time to build up to a longer practice, but if you start with a time that is too short, the mind will not have the chance to go deep. In the early part of meditation, the mind is just unwinding the thoughts and concerns on the surface. You may hear the latest jingle still making its way through the mind. Or you may still be working out all the interactions of the day. If we don’t give ourselves a little time for these to dissipate, we will always be on the surface of the mind. So if you can dedicate 15 to 30 minutes once or twice a day you will allow some time for the thoughts to “let go” and the natural rhythm of meditation to emerge. If you place a small clock next to you it will help you keep track of time rather then spending your meditation practice wondering how long it has been. Some people like to set a timer or chime to remind them when the time is up.

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Create a Space

Every room in our house has an energy pattern. When we walk by our kitchen, we might think, “gee I’m really hungry.” In the same way when we pass our bedroom we think “it would be great to take a nap right now.” The living room may be a place where we feel especially social and lively. What happens in a room creates an energy pattern that subtly affects our own energy field. When I am in my office, my mind is especially busy, but when I leave, my mind gets quieter. It’s true of meditation as well. If we practice in the same place, we create energy that lingers in that place. If you can carve out a place for meditation in your own home, it will call you back to the practice each time you walk by. It’s like a faint whisper that in time gets louder. Some people like to place meaningful or sacred objects in their meditation space to infuse it with a quality that calls them inward. Using pictures of loved ones, a candle, a journal, pictures of inspiring teachers, or poetry can make it feel more inviting. Others prefer a clean and simple open space that calls them into that feeling of openness. Whatever calls you to practice is best.

Allow yourself to create a habit through these preparations and let your life organize around your practices. Meditation connects us to our inner world and brings a sense of meaning and clarity to our lives. It creates the balance that lets us live in harmony.

What the first step you’re going to take to start a meditation practice?

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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