Emma's Guide to Getting into Meditation

Updated: Sep 9


This blog talks about:

- Setup

- App and Guided Meditation Recommendations

- Breathing Trick

- Grounding Methods

- Newsletter and Local Group Recommendations

- How to Meditate



Lately it seems I’ve been talking to more people about how to get started meditating. Hopefully this advice can help you, too, if you want to get into meditation but haven’t known where to begin.


A little background on my journey: I began meditating about 5 years ago. Before then, I had friends who meditated, and I was interested to learn more, but I was much too scared to “be alone with my thoughts” in the quiet. Those ideas kept me living in fear, and I didn’t take any steps to learn what meditating even meant.

In the fall of 2017, my first spiritual teacher stepped into my life. She was a neighbor in my apartment complex and also a reiki practitioner. We started talking one day and I asked her if she would teach me how to meditate.

She sat with me for about 1.5 hours and taught me a simple daily meditation that I could do by myself, answered questions, and gave me the foundations to get me started. After she walked me through my first meditation, I could not believe how different I felt.

I had been dealing with severe anxiety most of my life. I never realized what that really FELT like until that moment when suddenly I didn't feel it anymore. All the butterflies, panic, swirling emotions in my chest and stomach….they all felt like they were pushed down. They were suddenly subdued. I thought, “if this is how it feels to meditate, I’m never going another day without this.” This peaceful feeling lasted until halfway through the next day, when I felt the anxiety start creeping in again.

I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve spent countless hours researching, listening, reading, and exploring meditation practices, energy work, etc. I also am certified in Reiki I & II, which is an incredible healing modality, and you can reach out to me if you are interested in learning more about that. At this point in my life, my practice borders along the lines of self-healing, spirituality, helping others, and general interest.

Many close friends know that the topic of meditation is one of my passions, and I’ve been so fortunate to help others dip their toe into it throughout these years. I’m by no means an expert, but I can at least pass along some resources for you to get started.


Here is my guide to get started in meditating.


Setup:

Find a space that makes you feel peaceful. I recommend sitting upright, with your feet on the floor or crossed. Have a blanket on if you get cold easily. You’ll want to use headphones, because if you’re like me, you might get distracted with noise. My cat loves to jump on me just as I’m getting settled into meditation (it never fails), so I recommend keeping pets out of the room, too.


Time of Day

You can meditate during the day or at night. I prefer morning to get my day started off. Even if you do just a 5 – 10 minute meditation, it should be enough. Some people like to meditate before they go to bed because it helps them calm the mind and fall asleep easier.


Posture

Sit however you want! You don't have to cross your legs or put your hands up in some position if it isn't comfortable for you. It's recommended to keep your feet on the floor but it isn't required. Sometimes I will meditate sitting upright with my knees bent and my feet on the floor. It's weird, but that's comfortable for me. You can also lay down, but know that you might fall asleep! Don't worry about doing anything perfect and just see what you like.


App and Guided Meditations:

I'm not going to tell you how to breathe or talk you through a mediation. My recommendation is to try out some different guided meditations and then as you get more comfortable, you can start meditating without someone talking in your ear. I like to do both music or guided, depending on my mood.


The app I recommend to everyone is called Insight Timer. They have a free version and also you can pay for extras (I use the free version). There are lots of guided meditations on this app, as well as calming music, binaural beats, and talks.


My preference is to do meditations that have you visualize colors, energy, rooting into the ground, or being transported to a place. The meditations below have a small amount of visualizing, but they are easy enough for any beginner. These are all on Insight Timer.


Meditation & Music Recommendations


Beginner Meditations:

- “Quieting the Mind” – DavidJi (I love his voice. It is so calming)

- “Morning Ritual” – Jason McGrice

- “Mountain meditation” – Andy Hobson

- “Accepting and Letting Go” – Andy Hobson

- “Releasing what no longer serves you” – Avianna Castro

- “Vipassana (Basic) meditation” Tara Brach

- “The RAIN of Compassion” – Tara Brach this is good for when you are having a strong emotion (anger, sadness, etc) and want to let it go. She walks you through exploring it and the root cause.


More advanced visualizing meditations:

- “Forest Shaman – A guided meditation adventure” - Sonic Peace

- “Rise of the Phoenix” - Dakota Earth Cloud Walker

- “Remove Stuck Energy” – Yogi Bryan


Music:

- “Throat Chakra Singing Bowl” - Sonic Yogi

- “Butterflies” - Zac Ablett

- “Calming Anxiety – music for highly sensitive” Simone Vitale

- “Theta Dreams” - Guenther Goerg (this is for sleeping)


Guided/Talks:

- Sarah Blondin – listening to her tracks got me through some really hard times in 2019. These are usually a kind of a poem in the form of a guided meditation. My favorite one is “Remembering your Worth” (you can find this on Insight Timer).

- Tara Brach’s podcast (you can find this on Spotify, Apple podcasts, etc)


Breathing Trick:

Here's a trick I found that works for my breathing. It helps me actually FOCUS on the breath, getting me into the right state of meditation.

Picture your breath inside your body like a figure 8. As you breathe in, pull the breath down through the lungs, around a loop, back up through and around your heart, and back out the nose. Repeat over and over again.


What does grounding mean?

When first starting out, I asked a few teachers what the heck grounding meant. It was often talked about, but never explained.

Essentially, grounding means you are getting more connected to your breath or into the earth. You feel stable and calm before you get into your meditation. Some people use breathing slowly as the way to ground. I prefer the method below, which is a combination of many things I’ve picked up over time.


My grounding method

- With your feet on the floor, picture vines (or tree roots) coming out of your feet and pushing into the earth. Let them push down further and further and spread out.

- Then picture a large tube, hose, or pipe coming out of your root chakra (at the base of your spine), and growing into the ground, getting longer and longer. Let it keep pushing further until it gets to the center of the earth, which flows with bright red lava. Bring that lava back up into the pipe, letting it rise up until it comes through your root chakra and into your body. Let it move through your body, removing the stale energies in your limbs, head, torso, and legs, until it reaches your feet. The lava then leaves your body through your feet.

You should feel more steady and calm after this to get into your meditation practice.


You are doing it right!

Every one meditates differently. Some people only see darkness and some people see colors or visions. The goal is to try to calm down and hopefully quiet the mind.

Pretty much from the start, I have gotten strong visions when I meditate. If I concentrate on breathing, sometimes I can keep my mind blank, but I prefer the visions because they show me truths about myself. One of my friends told me he only has a blank mind when he meditates, and said “I wish I knew what it was like to see what you see.”

We are all different and find what works for us.

If your mind is racing, see your thoughts as clouds just floating by. They are there and then gone. Try to focus back on the breath. As a teacher once said during a class - "come back to that old friend, your breath." You can always come back to it, even if your attention slips.


Daily Om Newsletter

The person who taught me to meditate also told me about this newsletter. It’s called Daily Om. It happens so often that I’m going through something, and that same week I’ll get the email from them that speaks to my heart about the situation. I still have one from 5 years ago pinned up on my wall about trusting that things will work out if you take the risk. That gave me a lot of courage to move to Colorado without a job or knowing anyone.


Meditation Groups

If you want to check out a meditation group in Colorado Springs, I can recommend Bodhi Mind Center and Rocky Mountain Insight. If nothing else, Bodhi Mind Center has a fantastic email every week that talks about meditation and Buddhism.


Reach out if you have any questions! I’m happy to chat or refer you to someone who knows more than me.


Photo by Ravi Pinisetti on Unsplash