Mediation is kinda trendy, right? In the small town where I live everyone talks about meditating. But how many people do you know who actually, really, faithfully, do it? When I get real with people I often hear they don’t really know how to meditate. They want to learn. But they haven’t managed to master meditation and create a healthy habit.
My brain goes a mile a minute
My brain goes a mile a minute. Does yours? At any given time, I’m juggling book deadlines, work for my editing clients, my kids’ wants and needs, and a billion other things. I play community soccer on Thursday nights, spend time painting and drawing as often as possible, and read a ton of science. I also help organize health conferences. And I’m distracted with supporting loved ones who are struggling with difficult health problems.
To make matters worse, I tend towards high anxiety. Worry seems coded in my DNA. So suddenly hitting a cosmic PAUSE button and then having it all be still is really, I mean really, hard for me. So this article is as much for me as for anyone else reading it. I want to learn how to meditate.
Benefits of meditation supported by science
There are good scientific reasons to learn to meditate that go far beyond FOMO or trends. While some benefits to meditating may be over-stated because of studies with small sample sizes, Harvard researchers found evidence that meditation has significant benefits, especially in treating depression, anxiety, and pain.
There are a handful of key areas—including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety—in which well-designed, well-run studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects similar to other existing treatments.” ~The Harvard Gazette
So I asked a friend and colleague who meditates every day to help me learn how to meditate.
Her name is Robyn Charron. She’s a mom of two, a lawyer, and one of the smartest and busiest people you’ll ever meet.
If anyone can teach me (I mean us) how to meditate, it’s Robyn.
Ready to banish your monkey mind?
Here’s what you need to do.
How to Meditate: 9 Easy Steps
by Robyn Charron
1. Find a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted, can’t hear any noise. Lock the door.
2. Sit on a pillow on the floor. Your spine should be perfectly straight. Sit Indian style.
3. If you have a slumber mask, put it on. Otherwise, make sure you’re not facing the sun in a window. Turn off the lights.
4. Spend 5 minutes slowing your breathing. Inhale for a count of 6. Hold for 6. Exhale for a count of 6. Inhale-hold-exhale-inhale-hold-exhale. Don’t keep your lungs empty. Inhale again right away. Your focus here is on the tip of your nose, on the cold sensation of air entering the nostrils.
Imagine your life force
5. Now, switch to imagining the life force energy of your body following your breath. Breathe normally, no longer controlled. On the inhale, the energy follows your breath up the left side of the spine. On the exhale, the energy follows the breath down the right side of the spine.
6. On the inhale, mentally think “hong” and on the exhale think “sau.” This is your mantra. “Hong” is the sound our bodies make when we inhale. And “sau” is the sound of our exhale. When outside thoughts creep in, let them go. Only think of the mantra. Do this for 10 minutes.
7. Raise your eyes, with closed lids, to the point between the eyebrows. This changes everything.
8. Shift your focus again to the feeling of life-breath entering your nostrils, and that energy flowing to the point between the brows, and back out again as a cycle with each breath. By now you are 15 minutes in and it should be easier to have a clear mind.
9. Keep your eyes raised under the lids. This is the point I start to feel connected. I ask for help, for healing. Give thanks, ask for guidance. I have heard things, seen images, have had thoughts arrive as a knowing. Try to do this part for a half hour.
Making to doable
After reading this was your first thought, “Yeah, right, sounds great! But I could never do this.”? Or were you thinking, “I’m too busy. No way!”?
If the settle-in time plus half an hour feels overwhelming, get started with something you’ll actually do. Baby steps count.
Steps 1 through 3 just take a little planning. Find a good spot and a time without interruption. A slumber mask will help rest your wandering eyes. Get settled. This is a quick routine. Do it every time you meditate to build a habit.
Step 4-8 calls for about 5-12 minutes. Don’t force yourself to sit for that long if it doesn’t feel manageable. Instead, start with 2-4 minutes. Set a timer. That way you won’t be checking the clock every 30 seconds.
Step 9 is the time of being fully present. Eventually, the time you spend meditating will grow. While you’re sitting there quietly imagine that time: the habit of meditation replaces the nagging feeling that you should be meditating. Imagine negative self-talk is all gone; the pause button works.
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About Robyn Charron: Prior to attending law school, Robyn Charron earned a bachelor of science in biology and worked for two years in laboratories researching genetic disease. When her firstborn suffered a vaccine injury at two months old, her conventional parenting went out the window. She ushered in a world of organic food, immune-boosting supplements, Traditional Chinese Medicine, healing oils, and non-toxic living.
A nationally known advocate for allergy awareness and parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children without government intervention, Robyn Charron has written extensively about the dangers of food allergies.
Published: February 27, 2020
Updated: May 7, 2021