I’ve been meditating on and off for about 3 years now and I’ve read my fair share of articles offering a ‘guide to meditation’. Sometimes I’ll be all in and do it religiously, sometimes I’ll make the excuse to myself that I’m too busy and couldn’t possibly fit a meditation in.
I’ve known some people to exclaim that they tried meditation once, couldn’t quieten their mind and so banished it from their lives forever. If you’re new to meditation or have always struggled to get into the groove, then I’m here to tell you there is a way around it!
This mix and match guide to meditation aims to help you find your own special way to meditate. A way for you to get the benefits of meditation, but without having to follow all the normal rules and regulations.
Meditation is Not as Strict as You First Think
I remember when I was first told to look into meditation, I went home and googled my arse off, only to find the same sort of information over and over again. There seemed to only be one way of meditating, sit with your eyes closed listening to meditation music and banishing all thoughts from your mind.
Fast forward a couple of years and a few meditation experiments later, and I’ve come to realise that I’m not bound to any meditation laws or set ways of doing things. Mindfulness has been introduced into the mix to really shake things up.
Where once we were told to sit and clear our minds, now we’re being told to face our busy thoughts and find a way of acknowledging them, without letting them completely consume us.
What is a Mix and Match Guide to Meditation?
The mix and match concept allows you to pick and choose different meditation techniques and goals, to help you gain the benefits of meditation, without feeling the pressure of meditating ‘the right way’.
Ultimately, your goal should be to reduce stress and give your brain a break for 10 minutes a day. How you reach this end is not as important. Finding your preferred way of meditating will take some trial and error. Practicing a number of different techniques will help give you a better idea of the tools that are on offer for your practices. Here’s a few you might want to use in your mix and match journey:
- Focusing on sounds
- Focusing on breathing
- Practicing a breathing technique
- Mindfulness practice
- Body scanning
Even if you are only sitting down for a quick 10-minute meditation session, you can mix any of these techniques together to create a complete and effective practice. I’d suggest picking two, starting with a breathing exercise or body scan to ground you in the here and now, then moving on to a mindfulness practice.
Meditation is Made by the People, For the People
Meditation isn’t something you have to go to university to study or that you need to go on a course for, although there are meditation teaching courses out there if you wanted to become an ultimate zen master.
Meditation’s aim is to help you take care of yourself, to be flexible around you and how you’re feeling that day and in that particular moment. What might work for you one day, might not deliver the same effect the next.
Using myself as an example, I suffer from extreme mood swings. One day I may be calm, cool and collected, making mindfulness practice a doddle and body scans feel like a breeze. However, there’ll be days where I’m all over the place like there’s a tiny cricket in my brain jumping around in a frenzy. On these days, there’s not a chance in hell I’ll be able to concentrate on doing a body scan.
By being more mindful and judging how you feel and being realistic about your current attention levels, you’ll be better equipped to pick out a technique from your little meditation book that will work in tandem with your current state.
Building Your Meditation Toolbox
This simple and easy guide to meditation proves that all you need to do is create your own toolbox of techniques, in order to create a practice that works for you. Ignore those that tell you there’s a wrong way to meditate, there isn’t.
Meditation is a personal journey, only you’ll know what effect it has on how you feel and what your end goal is. It is a time where you can truly be with yourself, check in and evaluate how you feel, so make sure you are putting yourself first and doing what’s right for you!