As the grandfather of The Mindfulness Movement, Jon Kabat-Zinn says that “becoming a little bit more present and a little less judgmental is the hardest thing to do. It requires discipline and it’s a lifetime commitment.” And so, I won’t fool you into thinking there are any magical or mystical shortcuts, but recommend that you start by easing yourself in.
● Start by setting a strong motivation to meditate. Maybe you wish to reduce stress, increase kindness or simply be more present. The simple act of setting an intention is a meditation in itself, as you are creating or reinforcing a mental habit.
● Commit to a realistic period of time to meditate for. Less can often be more. Three minutes is the minimum amount to start with, and you can gradually increase to 5, 10, 15 or 20.
● Choose your meditation spot – a place you know you won’t be disturbed and every time you look at it, you’re reminded that it’s time to meditate.
● Find a comfortable position. We don’t meditate with our legs, we meditate with our minds, and we need a still body to have a still mind.
● Last, and most importantly, be kind to yourself and have an open mind. Try different techniques and see what type of mind training most suits you, then stick to it.
I started meditation using the app Headspace and ended up spending time in Nepal, living with monks in the Himalayas, so don’t underestimate the value of digital content. Calm and Insight Timer also offer a great variety of teachers and styles of practice.
I also recommend trying meditation studios, Buddhist centres and retreats when you need the support of a teacher and community.