First - let’s get one thing straight. When people are meditating, they’re not floating to a higher place or experiencing supernatural powers (well - not normally anyway). Meditation is - simply put - about presence. What do I mean by presence? It’s about how present we are in the activity we are doing at the time. For some this may be sitting quietly, cross legged in a quiet room noticing the breath. For others they could be practicing Surya Namaskara whilst for someone else it could be climbing a mountain… Whatever the activity is that you’re doing - meditation comes when you are completely present in each moment of that activity. This means noticing how you feel, your surroundings, the sounds - and not being disturbed by them - just simply aware of them.
People often come to me and say they don’t know how to meditate because they can’t keep focused, or they can’t sit still for longer than five minutes etc. Sound familiar? Firstly, to remain focused on any task is a huge challenge, especially in a world full of SOOOO much stimulus - computers, phones, radio… To meditate therefore means learning to bring your awareness back to what you’re trying to focus on e.g. the breath. This may need to happen many times during the 5,10,15 minutes you’re sitting or walking for, but this is where the control of the mind comes in. This is meditation.
For those who want to sit and meditate (recommended as this way you’re trying to eliminate distractions giving you a good head start with your practice), practice sitting quietly for 5 minutes, then 7 minutes, 9, minutes, 15 minutes and so on. This is how you learn to gradually build up your practice without forcing yourself to sit uncomfortably for a long stint up front. If you do this (the long stint sitting), then it’s likely you won’t try again. If, however, you’re gentler on yourself and start gradually, with an acceptance that it will take time to build up a sitting tolerance, then your outlook on meditation will fundamentally transform. It will become a practice you will grow to love, look forward to and become more and more present in.
To kick start your meditation journey - find a space you love (or an activity), a time of day you can commit to and then be sure to use this time for your meditation (again, this could also be a beautiful walk outdoors etc). If one day whilst meditating you realise you were off with the fairies for most of it - don’t beat yourself up. We all do it! Just notice this and try and look a little deeper at what is going on in your life. There must be a disturbance in the force (had to throw that in there) if this is happening - which is called life right!. The opposite is also true - if you realise at the end of your practice you were completely present and absorbed, then again take time to notice and understand why this may be so? What have you changed, done, experienced recently which is helping you to be completely present? This is all knowledge at the end of the day - knowledge about ourselves that we can use to be the best, most beautiful self we can be.
So remember - start slow, be kind to yourself and just notice what’s going on. This is true meditation.