The key to meditation is to maintain your compassionate curiosity through your distractions. Self-judgment can come in the form of worrying that you are not “good” at quieting your mind when stray thoughts come in. Meditation isn’t about forcing your mind to be quiet, it’s about developing the muscle of attention by witnessing those thoughts as part of the way you naturally operate, and then letting the thoughts pass through or float away.
Many meditation practices focus on the breath as a way to practice that muscle of bringing your attention back once you notice that it has wandered. There are other kinds of meditations, such as walking or chanting, that bring attention to other activities.
I recommend starting with a meditation app that helps you build a daily practice. As with any habit, doing it regularly is key to getting used to it. AND, remember if you skip a day not to judge yourself for that either. Just get back into the next time you can.
- Getting Started
Headspace is a well-regarded app that has a simple daily practice that builds progressively (10-day beginner’s course). It’s well-designed and easy to use.
- Bringing meditation to everyday life
Buddhify has a unique approach that provides meditations based on the context for everyday life. Guided meditations are provided by different people for variety and the interface is a unique wheel design. There is also a “Solo timer” if you feel that you are ready to sit with yourself without the guided voice.
- Advanced meditations from a variety of teachers, including my mindfulness mentor, Chris Johnson
Mindfulness also offers a five-day getting started tutorial, but the real gem here is the incredible depth of meditations presented as a library organized by life categories and goals, as well as a way to save favorite meditations for easy access
Here’s a good round-up of five apps, which includes all three listed above:
Finally, remember that being mindful is about more than meditating for a few minutes each day. Meditation is a tool to build attention and resilience. The practice of mindfulness is about being aware in each moment without judgment.