Here’s the big secret about meditation: It’s not hard.
Of course the word makes you picture a svelt yogi in a Himalayan cave denying themselves sex and food and the new Earl Sweatshirt album for months, in an attempt to cause light to shoot out of their heads, but that’s not for everyone.
Meditation is simply an exercise that strengthens your mind, concentration and focus, allowing you to run your thoughts, instead of letting your thoughts run you.
And like all exercise, just being there and trying goes a long way towards meditation’s many benefits, even if your form is imperfect. Luckily we made it easy with our Meditation Bundle. We've got the sweet pillow for your butt, a Tibetan singing bowl and an iPad full of guided mediations.
Holy lowered cortisol, Batman. Meditation may literally save your life. In addition to all that mindfulness stuff you may know about, its ability to ease stress can help regulate blood pressure, treat insomnia and anxiety, reduce memory loss and keep you from shanking that Tesla driver who just swerved into your lane.
You want as few distractions as possible. So get comfortable. This is the fun part. Set a relaxing mood in a quiet place by turning down the lights and slipping into some loose sweats. The last thing you want is tight denim pinching your thigh as you try to not think about anything. Create an environment that you enjoy and want to be in, so that you’ll return to it when seeking solace.
You’re not alone. All of our minds are a jumble of thoughts and triggers and pressing desires to check Instagram again lest we miss a sweet photo of someone’s noodles. Now you’re going to attempt to let your mind speak for itself, without your conscious thoughts or concerns getting in the way.
Now close your eyes and just breathe. Don’t worry about a mantra. Just breathe. And focus on the in and out of your breath. You can even say “In” and “Out” if it helps keep the thought demons away.
When thoughts do come up—and they will—don’t judge yourself. Acknowledge them, accept them, then try to clear them away. If they fail to disappear, don’t fret. Just keep breathing and for god’s sake, be happy. This practice is meant to improve your life, so if all you walk away with is a smile for yourself or someone else, consider the world better off.
Try this once a day at first, giving yourself a five minute minimum. In time, your ability to sit still longer and clear your nagging thoughts will improve, bringing you greater focus and emotional control.
Or don’t do that
You don’t really need to. You’ve got our Meditation 101 Bundle after all. And that’s going to walk you through everything so you’re not on your own. It comes with a meditation pillow from MNDFL –– a company The New York Times flipped out about, as well as an app that will guide you through several guided meditations, and yes, one of those cool Tibetan singing bowls. So you can cut right to the good part and skip the meditation if you just want to play with that. Like we said, this should be easy and fun.
Hopefully you’ve chilled out a little bit and can already see the point of sitting in a room silently and breathing. Now you have a basic meditation practice you can build on. Or go deeper with. You’ll find there are all kinds of styles of meditation to consider: Zen. Transcendental. Loving-Kindness. Taoist. Christian. Sufi.
The point is, meditation spans a gamut of beliefs and lifestyles. So there should be a style you connect with if you’re open to the practice.