So you’ve chosen to start meditating. Or maybe you’ve just started and you’re feeling a bit lost or overwhelmed. Perhaps you even read my article “Five Benefits of Meditation” and you’re just dying to know more.
With all of the resources out there, it’s often hard to figure out how to just get started. Do you sit on the floor or in a chair? Do you chant a mantra or not? Do you focus on the breath or visualize something in your mind? There isn’t one objectively superior technique, so don’t get caught up in the particular labels like “Zen meditation” or “mindfulness meditation”. If you have the time, try different techniques. Hell, combine different techniques. This is your practice.
But chances are if you’re here, you’re thinking, Look, man. Just tell me how to do the damn thing. So before we dive right in, I’ll quickly note that my meditation practice is largely based on the techniques of the Headspace app and the book The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa, Matthew Immergut, and Jeremy Graves.
You may consider using a meditation app to take you through a guided meditation, provide some ambience, or time your session. If you’re new to meditating, I’d highly recommend trying a guided meditation app like Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer. Once you’ve gotten more comfortable with the practice, you can start trying unguided sessions on your own.
Objects and Accessories
Apart from a place to sit, you don’t really need anything to meditate. I’ll list some things that may enhance your practice, though.
- A meditation cushion, yoga mat, or chair that allows you to sit straight — this ensures you are comfortable and have the best possible posture for your session
- An incense burner or oil diffuser — this is definitely an optional item, but beginners often find the scent helps them focus on the breath
- Headphones — if you’re using a meditation app or listening to ambience/music, headphones will help tune out any unwanted noise
- A timer — meditation apps often have timers built in, but if you’re doing an unguided session, consider using a timer to stay on track
- A notebook — it often helps to have a notebook…