Meditation: A Very Basic Guide

I used to think meditation was stupid. Spoiler Alert: I was wrong.

Defined as the act of engaging in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness (Merriam-Webster, mf), meditation has become a very popular subject as modern Western society shifts into a collective mindset where self-care is made a priority. I could provide some type of scientific insight on how meditation affects the hypothalamus and enhances your overall sexual responsiveness but really, who could care?
Regular meditation has influenced my life in so many ways. It has:
  1. Allowed me to focus on the present moment rather than let my anxiety push me toward worrying about the “what hasn’t even happened yet and may never happen.”
  2. Given me permission to clear my mind in the morning to create positive thoughts for the upcoming day and clear my mind in the evening to relax for bed. As someone that used to have trouble falling asleep at night, putting my phone aside to take three minutes and focus on my controlled breathing has changed the game.
  3. Caused me to sit and chill before losing my shit on those who try my precious patience. We’ve all been tried before (sometimes repeatedly) and it’s so easy to make a snap decision to let them have the first piece of your mind. However, meditation has allowed me to develop a heavily curated clapback that the other party so graciously deserves.
When I bring up meditation to any of my friends the first response that they give is usually, “I don’t know how to meditate.”
Girl, name a human that came out of the womb already in the Lotus position and began “OHMMM”-ing to clear their baby consciousness?!

You must learn the meditation technique that works for you and practice it regularly.

This is the technique I used when I first began meditating:

  1. I only meditated for a short period of time. 2-4 minutes (or even less) is perfect if you’re just starting out.
  2. I sat on the floor of my bedroom with my legs crossed (or directly in front of me), positioned my back comfortably against the bed, and placed my palms face down on my knees. I could lie and tell you I sat completely straight but my posture is awful so I’m not going to do that. Me and My God are working on this S-back, don’t you damn worry about it!
  3. I set a timer in my phone for 3 minutes. Sometimes I turn on some calming music without words (look up “meditation music” on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) and sometimes I sit in complete silence. Both are effective. I close my eyes and begin.
  4. Immediately, I establish an intention for the meditation to remain focused throughout. Usually, my intention is to “clear my mind and begin/end my day with discernment.”
  5. I inhale through my nose for 4 counts (a completely straight back makes this easier). Usually, I try to imagine that I’m literally inhaling positive energy; like it’s a physical property that can be seen (picture it as a blue smoke if you’re extra like me).
  6. I hold in that energy for about 7 seconds, allowing the positive energy to metaphorically fill my body.
  7. I then exhale any negative energy (picturing it as a red smoke) and allow it time to exit my body. I audibly exhale from my mouth to expel the negativity. I relax every muscle in my body: from my shoulders to my neck, stomach, legs, and down to my toes.
  8. I repeat until the timer goes off. I always make sure that the alarm tone is something soothing because if it was that damn iPhone alarm sound, I’d lose my shit.
Remember:
  • I’m no expert on any of this. This is just my experience with this topic and my way of sharing it. That’s what this website is about. If you want expertise, catch it somewhere else, girl.
  • iOS apps like Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think offer guided meditations that work well for beginners. I preferred the latter over the former for no discernible reason but, presently, I don’t use apps at all. I’ll probably delve more into guided meditation later but she’s a long one already.
  • It’s OK if outside thoughts pop into your mind during your session. I’m sure the most seasoned meditator would tell you that outside thoughts continue to invade their sessions. When it happens, DO NOT chastise yourself: this doesn’t help you to improve your skills or create positive thinking. Gently remind yourself of your intention and refocus on your breathing.
  • Meditation is a practice. If you practice regularly, you will get better. Let go of your perfectionism and allow yourself peace.

I once felt skeptical about meditation. Hell, I thought it was hippy bullshit for most of my life. However, I love meditation now. I had to go through some really terrible situationships to recognize that I needed something to clear my mind of all of the thoughts that don’t serve or enhance me.

Also, I recognize that this post is VERY long.

Happy meditating!

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Author: Sincerely, Sydney Nicole

A careful Black girl trying to figure this life shit out.

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