There's an annoying amount of fluff out there about meditation.
For all the hype about meditation apps bursting out of smartphones and buzzwords like "mindfulness" sneaking their way onto breakfast TV, it's still one of those esoteric, mysterious and generally slightly weird things, that gets people's eyebrows doing that reflexive can't-help-it, slightly pitying wiggle.
If you're feeling non-judgemental, you might concede that it's ok...
For other people.
Maybe for those who are more stressed that you (because you've totally got that stress thing under control), or maybe for those who have all that extra time (because seriously, who has time to sit and do nothing for half an hour a day?)
But lI found that learning how to meditate is just about the single most powerful tool you can give yourself - and it doesn't need much from you at all.
So if you've been making those excuses and you kind-of-sort-of-want-to-but-can't - here's a thing. They're just excuses and you totally can.
And because everyone loves a good listicle, I present: Five Simple Steps to Learn to Meditate.
(I promise - they're really, really simple.)
- Step 1: Find a quiet time. You're not going to need much of it, but it's got to be quiet. No missold PPI calls. No buzzing alerts. No pets/human/machine interruptions should be around at that time. Which makes this usually around the crack of dawn, or some time in the grey part of the night. Or maybe not, and maybe lunchtime is the sweet spot for you. Whenever it is, find it.
- Step 2: Easier. Find a quiet space. Probably a good idea to find a spot where you're not going to get weird eyebrow wiggles from other people, because even with your eyes shut you can still feel them. Bedrooms, gardens, kitchens, stationary cupboards. The loo. Hey, whatever works.
- Step 3. Set a timer. The insight timer app is one of the best, and it's free. Go for a duration that is the absolute minimum of what you can actually deal with (which is why Step 1 is - Step 1). One to three minutes is perfect to start with.
- Step 4. Sit down. However you like. You can keep your eyes closed if you want. Or if you don't, just kind of stare at nothing and space out a little. Sit your butt on whatever you like. It should be relatively comfy, but don't make a huge effort to try to relax. In fact, don't try to do anything, apart from sitting down.
- Step 5. Breathe. Here's where it gets tough. Breathe some more. Check that you're breathing. Then keep breathing, and checking that you're breathing, until your timer goes off.
Bonus step. Like everything worthwhile in life, practice makes practice. That means doing it every day. Even if it's just a minute of quiet in the bog (who doesn't have a minute of quiet in the bog?) Every day.
I'm going to stop with the steps there, because that's really all there is. For now, anyway. Sit down, shut up. Breathe. Try it.