How to meditate- part 1

I’m not a meditation teacher. Like so many things related to wellbeing and self-care, I prefer to call myself a researcher and an experiencer. I like to delve deep into things, experience them for myself and then share them with others. My meditation journey began three decades ago when my friend drove me up to the blue mountains in Sydney to do a 10 day meditation course called Vipassana. No talking, no phones or anything for 10 days. At the time I was only 16 and I was silent for the whole three hour drive up there. And when we arrived I quietly announced that I couldn’t do it. My friend who had done it 8 times before, did a U-turn and drove me back again in silence. I didn’t look back into meditation for several years after that.

From that experience I realised I didn’t want to attend a long retreat with no talking cut off from the world to learn meditation. I know this works well for others but for me it wasn’t right. I simply wanted a way to calm my then CPTSD brain which, due to childhood challenges and experiences had always been in a near constant state of fight or flight. When my mind sensed even a small similarity in a present day situation of something traumatic from my past, my brain would think that the trauma was happening all over again and I would experience the same physical and mental sensations, thoughts and feelings of when the trauma happened originally. It was literally as if it was happening all over again which of course it wasn’t. But logic does not prevail when the brain is in this state. I call this being ‘triggered’. When this occurred I would be pumped full of adrenaline and cortisol and this constant cycle resulted in my baseline state of mind being hyper-vigilant; Always too aware and suspicious of my surroundings and of people and always on edge and always easily ‘triggered’.

I know that many of you have experienced and continue to experience so many challenging things, events and people. And there doesn’t seem to be a moment in life to stop what we are doing and just ‘take a moment’. This is where meditation comes in. Meditation is one of the many tools that can help towards you feel like you are thriving rather than just surviving and to make you feel like you’re winning in life a little more. I of course found other help too with professionals who over the years have helped me form new neural pathways and learn new ways of responding through talking therapy including the very powerful body mind therapy, when I get into this state. I’m not touting meditation as a cure all, and of course if you’re really struggling please do reach out and seek professional help.

Science has proven how powerful meditation can be and how it may help with things like; Lessening anxiety and depression, helping you become more focused and calmer, reducing blood pressure, even helping to slow ageing! There’s always room for more research but initial studies are encouraging. Speaking from personal experience it’s helped me so much. I feel much calmer, and happier, I’m less in fight or flight mode, I sleep better (still not a great sleeper but it’s a good deep sleep), I’m less anxious, I respond to situations rather then just reacting without thinking and I’ve a big aversion to drama and dramatic people now. As drama becomes less and less appealing and less familiar.

I’ve done all sorts of meditation types and they all have their benefits. I’ll do many more posts on meditation as I explore different ways and learn more about it. So as a start, here are 10 ways to get into your own easy meditation practice today.

1. Forget the popular thoughts on meditation which are that you are trying to stop thinking all together or that you are trying to empty your head of all thoughts. That will come in time, as a result of what you are doing. It’s not your primary focus right now at all.

2. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you would usually get up.

3. Go to the toilet if you need too so you are not thinking about how much you need to do a wee when you’re meditating 😊 and drink a little water if you feel thirsty

4. Prop yourself up in your bed. Put pillows behind you if need be so you’re really comfortable. Sit cross legged or with your legs out straight.

5. If you’re in bed with your partner who is still asleep and you think it may be distracting to you then, sit on the sofa or on the floor against the sofa with a blanket and cushions. You can also do this on a chair with a supportive back if that’s more comfortable.

6. Set the alarm on your phone to go off in 7 minutes, try to avoid reading any stuff on your phone. Double check the alarm so you know it will go off. Turn the volume down a little so it doesn’t startle you when it goes off but obviously make sure it’s loud enough so that you can hear it.

7. Read the rest of the points through and then close your eyes. With your hands resting lightly in your lap or on your knees as in the pic of me in the brown bikini above. Just make sure your arms are uncrossed so it’s nice and comfy.

8. Listen to the sounds around you outside for a moment, the ticking clock, the windows rattling in the breeze or perhaps the birds singing or the traffic outside.

9. Then bring your attention to you and identify any areas in your body where there may be tension, is your jaw clenched? Shoulders tight? Start at the top of your body and then go all the way down to your feet checking that everything is relaxed.

10. In your head (not out loud), say the word ‘peace’ or ‘calm’ gently over and over. Pick whichever one suits. Keep saying the word you have picked over and over slowly. Every time your mind starts wandering (which it will, many, many times) or thinking about your day or what to eat or ‘am I doing this right’ just bring your mind back to your word. You may need to bring your mind back 50 times or more per session in the early days and weeks of meditating. If you do have a cheeky check of your phone to see how long you have left, that’s okay, try not too but we are all human, Just get straight back to your word. And if the alarm goes off and you realise you’ve spent the whole time obsessing over how rude that person was to you on the train the other day, or even if you fell asleep, hey guess what… that’s okay too.

And congratulations… you’ve completed your first session! It’s not unusual sometimes to feel quite emotional after meditation. But it’s also not unusual to feel no different at all. Meditation has an accumulative effect, so it takes a little while for the benefits to come. Feeling moved didn’t happen to me when I first started at all but I know that for some people it does happen. If it happens to you, just put your hand on your heart for a moment or two, acclimatise yourself with your surroundings and congratulate yourself for the fabulous person you are and for what you’ve achieved today. And when you stand up, get up slowly so you don’t feel dizzy and then carry on with your day.

Try this for 7 days. First thing in the morning is normally best as the mind is already calmer, but anytime works too. Comment below and let me know how you get on with it, I would love to learn from you too! Thanks so much for reading.

<<<

Big love

Lorraine

Ps: let me know if you see any typos and I’ll correct them.

Share:

43 Comments

  1. Kate Porter
    3rd January 2018 / 7:16 am

    1st 7 minutes done! Thank you! Have been meaning to try for years and I really enjoyed it!

  2. José Ángel
    3rd January 2018 / 7:25 am

    Thanks!!! Lorraine, l’ll try to make meditation starting using your views related upper here. Many thanks!!

  3. LauraSardi
    3rd January 2018 / 8:27 am

    Thanks Loreaine, you give me Peace this morning 😊

    • 3rd January 2018 / 9:09 am

      Hi Laura! I’m so glad. Have a wonderful day today xxxxxxxx

  4. Sylvie Buttay
    3rd January 2018 / 8:54 am

    Thanks Lorraine ! I”ve just done it and this is exactly what I need right now. I will stick to it ! Take care.

    • 3rd January 2018 / 9:10 am

      Hi Sylvie, this is great! I’m so happy that you did it. Have a lovely day xxx

  5. Allana
    3rd January 2018 / 9:07 am

    I did it! Thank you for sharing! I have longed to start meditation for some time and started a few days ago using tips and guidelines online but wondered what “word to focus on?” The alarm went off but I keep going for a tad longer! Thank you for sharing 🖤

    • 3rd January 2018 / 9:09 am

      Hi Allana, thanks so much for your message. I am SO happy to read that you did it. That makes me smile. And you went longer than the alarm, awesome! Have a lovely day and keep going! Big love xxx

  6. Janette
    3rd January 2018 / 9:37 am

    I am always open to try new ways. I have dabbled in meditation and mindfulness. Having a serious illness meditation was introduced to me and have found it certainly does help. I am.looking forward to trying yours …i just got to get into doingbit a lot more regularly.

    • 3rd January 2018 / 9:39 am

      Hello, I’m
      Sorry to heat about your serious Illness and happy to hear that mediation does help. Do let me know how you get on with it. Thanks for your message xxx

  7. Colleen Morris
    3rd January 2018 / 11:58 am

    Oh Lorraine that was fantastic! I haven’t mediate in over 20 years. Oh I needed that I have a lot of work to do but just taking that bit of time on my own I honestly feel a little less stress in my body. I feel a little light headed!

    Thank you! Happy New a Year!

    • 3rd January 2018 / 12:02 pm

      Hi Colleen, thanks so much for your message. Love that you feel less stress in the body! So happy you’re meditating again after 20 years. Hopefully you will keep going! Happy New year! 🙏🏾

  8. Floriana
    3rd January 2018 / 11:58 am

    Please there is no translation. It is difficult forme to understand all you write.
    Thank you
    Flotiana

    • 3rd January 2018 / 12:03 pm

      Hello, try copy and paste into google translator 😉

  9. Sarah.bell29@btinternet.com
    3rd January 2018 / 12:39 pm

    Thank you Lorraine, beautifully put and straight to the point, I will start trying this out, I’ve tried before many times, but failed, in that I felt silly and didn’t get it but now Im learning to think outside the box since reaching my early forties. I realise I need to be calm, the need to learn to relax and try to be less stressed about life. Thank you for sharing, happy New Year lovely. Sarah

    • 3rd January 2018 / 4:01 pm

      Thank you so much for this. I hope you do give it a Try and let me know how you get on. Happy new year to you!

  10. 3rd January 2018 / 1:27 pm

    Such a useful and inspirational post Lorraine, thank you so much for sharing and helping my meditation practice x

  11. Patricia
    3rd January 2018 / 2:03 pm

    Just did the 7 minute meditation session, I really enjoyed it and will try to do it every day, thank you Lorraine

    • 3rd January 2018 / 4:08 pm

      This is such great news! I’m happy that you enjoyed it! Lorraine xxx

  12. Janey
    3rd January 2018 / 3:41 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration and sharing your experiences. (Live your daily nudge). 🌺

  13. Ayesha
    3rd January 2018 / 4:15 pm

    Great post; i’ve tried many forms of meditation over the years, currently i am doing TM, which stands for Transcendental Meditation. Its a form of silent manyra meditation, involves transcending thought itslef and experiencing a state of pure awareness. it is being taught across schools in US, coveted by many celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld, Cemeon Diaz, Katy Perry and many others. I’ve benefited from it immensely decluttering my head and surviving work related stress. Much love, Ayesha

    • 3rd January 2018 / 4:18 pm

      Hello Ayesha, thanks for your message. I have also done TM it’s one of the many great methods. They teach it in some schools and prisons which is amazing too. Wonderful that it is working out for you and that your head is becoming less cluttered. I hope you have a peaceful day. Thanks again xxxx

  14. Celine
    3rd January 2018 / 4:33 pm

    Thanks Lorraine, I will give it a try, thanks for making it sounds not so difficult!

  15. Barbara
    3rd January 2018 / 4:48 pm

    Hi Lorraine! I ma so glad to find your post about meditation, I have tried many ways and they all seemed too difficult for me. Thanks for sharing! Send you a hug from Argentina,
    Barbara

  16. Angela
    3rd January 2018 / 6:18 pm

    Fantastic post, thank you 😊. I’ve dipped in and out of meditation and mindfulness over the years and have been looking for a way to get back into it. This is so helpful.

    • 4th January 2018 / 3:21 am

      Hi Angela, wonderful. Do let me know how you get on xx

  17. Marie Clarke
    3rd January 2018 / 9:00 pm

    This is fantastic, I am going to try this thank you Lorraine this is brilliant! X x

  18. Libby
    3rd January 2018 / 11:09 pm

    So helpful. I like this method very much. As a super stressed out cranky work at home mom of 3 I need this in my life baaaaad. Will continue tomorrow. And in the afternoon. And before kids bedtime😬 Thank you!

    • 4th January 2018 / 3:21 am

      That’s perfect! Hope you reap the benefits really soon. Thanks for the message xxxx

  19. Kaarthika
    4th January 2018 / 3:01 am

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been meaning to try but always felt hesitant. Looking forward to trying it out.

  20. Samara Goeieman
    4th January 2018 / 6:50 am

    Hi Lorraine, thank you for writing such an easy to read article about meditation! I just did it this morning and it was wonderful. I am going to really try and incorporate this into my daily routine going forward. I met a beautiful elderly lady a few months back who meditates twice a day and has done so for over 50 years, she is now 77 years old and looks amazing!!! She believes a lot of it is down to meditation. I have been doing it on and off but not everyday. Your article is very easy to follow and super inspiring. I find that meditation really helps with my state of mind and keeping me calm. Thank you once again and if you have any more tips, I would be so grateful. Lots of love, Samara xxx

  21. Asheley Bryson
    4th January 2018 / 6:11 pm

    Hi Lorraine,
    I love this article, but the title is a bit misleading… it reads “How to mediate” (which is also an important skill, but doesn’t really capture the topic of your article). I work in a library, and just created a whole display around meditation for the new year. Thanks for sharing your experience, too.
    Cheers,
    Asheley

  22. Charles Burbridge
    6th January 2018 / 12:34 am

    Sorry for the trauma early in your life but you seem to have it overcome very well. Will try meditation again, tried it years ago and didnt take was in too much turmoil. Thank you beautiful lady.

  23. Lynsey N
    8th January 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Thank you for posting this, I have just started meditating hoping to find a calm and peacefulness which has been missing from my life for a while. I’m on my tenth day now and some days have been more successful than others so it was reassuring to read your post. I particularly like the idea of repeating a word to bring your focus back, I had been focusing on my breathing which for me isn’t always successful, I’ll try the word thing tomorrow – thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *