5 Key Steps to Get Started with Meditation
To outline any specific instructions for meditation would be unfair to the essence of it. Meditation is an effortless daily practice and its purpose is to rejuvenate your senses and quiet your mind. There are hundreds of meditation techniques, but it is always beneficial to just stick to a technique that suits you the best. The techniques are really just a blueprint to get you started. Once you are on the journey of daily meditation, your consciousness evolves itself to unfold the steps necessary for your growth. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a small, single step. Therefore, you must start meditation at the earliest and build the practice gradually, day by day. If I had to narrow down a few factors that would be helpful to get started in meditation, I would easily count the following as the key requirements:
1. Have Discipline
No matter if its meditation, yoga or any other practice of excellence; one must possess the discipline and passion to pursue with their practice with all of their heart and soul. In the beginning, everyone is excited to start something new, but after the ‘honeymoon period’ is over, we start to feel that we are just sitting idle with our eyes closed. Suddenly, we start to think countless thoughts and comprise extensive to-do lists in our mind. The challenge is to transcend these thoughts of boredom and continue with the meditation practice. We are constantly in a state of doing. Life is very busy! So when we finally try to sit and do ‘nothing’, it becomes increasingly difficult to do. It is necessary to shift gears, though, and discover your silence. This will be your first step toward becoming a ‘human being’ instead of a ‘human-doing’
2. Have Faith
As they say; faith has the power to move mountains. Faith can work tremendously in raising your meditation experience. You must have faith that you have started your spiritual journey purposely and meaningfully. If you are forced by someone to attend meditation classes, then there, most likely, won’t be any seeds of transformation. True faith comes from within and cannot be forced. Ask yourself the reasons why you decided to start meditation. Was it influenced by someone or is it rooted in true inspiration? In the end, faith and an open mind will turn everything around for you on your meditation journey. Faith doesn’t mean accepting everything blindly. It means to stay focused with an intention that our soul has a divine plan and it is always conspiring for our greater good.
In our New York meditation center, I want to hang a sign in the entry way that reads; “Leave your shoes and ego here.” On the way out, take your shoes but you can still leave your ego there. As we attain more “knowledge”, we build huge walls made of ego around us. The “I am the best” self-image keeps us away from the ocean of love and wisdom around us. There needs to be an emptiness inside us for true beauty to flourish. Socrates said,”I am the wisest because I know that I don’t know”. Remaining a student throughout life is the key to self-realization. Make it a practice to leave your ego behind and accept yourself and others with an open mind and heart.
4. Be Ready for Your Guru
Guru is a Sanskrit word that literally means; as the one who takes away darkness and shows light. A Guru becomes very important in learning meditation. A Guru nurtures and nourishes your soul with the right guidance. The Guru knows your capabilities and therefore will never feed you more than your capacity. The true Guru is never self-proclaimed. He will appear when you are ready to surrender. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Here’s a quick formula to find your Guru: If a sleeping person says “I am sleeping”, that means that person is lying. The same holds for a Guru. If somebody tells you “I am the Guru” you’ll need to move on!
‘Sat’ means truth and ‘sang’ means company. Satsang is an ancient Indian practice where people gather to discuss the truths of life. On your meditation journey, make sure to associate often with people who share the same passion as you. If the Satsang happens in presence of a master, it is ideal. Otherwise, schedule Satsangs every month to discuss and share the experiences of your meditation journey with other spiritual seekers. I hold various Satsangs in NY and LA and the experience has inspired many people to embark on the wonderful journey of meditation. Interaction with spiritually minded people and staying away from toxic,negative people can shine a lot of light on your path.
What has helped you to quiet your mind? Comment below!