How to Meditate: A Guide for People Who Absolutely Can’t Sit Still

How to Meditate

So, you’ve decided that meditation is the thing that’s going to cure all your ailments — your stress, your lack of focus, your tendency to mistake your cellphone for a bar of soap. Well, you’ve come to the right place, my Zen-seeking friend. Brace yourself for enlightenment, or at least an article that will hopefully make you chuckle while you’re trying to find your “inner peace” or whatever it is people look for these days.

Step 1: Selecting Your Sacred Space

First things first, you’re going to need a place to meditate. Now, when I say “place,” I don’t mean your bed, five minutes before you’re about to drift into a Netflix-induced coma. I mean a dedicated space where you can channel your inner Zen master. And by dedicated, I mean just pick a corner that doesn’t have dirty laundry or pizza boxes in it. If you live in a shoebox-sized apartment, good luck. You may have to meditate on your toilet. It’s called being adaptable; look it up.

Step 2: Adopt a “Comfortable” Position

The word “comfortable” is subjective here. If you listen to meditation gurus, they will go on about crossing your legs into a pretzel and sitting as if you have a string pulling your head towards the sky. This, my friend, is a position only a seasoned yoga instructor or a professional contortionist can hold for more than 10 seconds without losing feeling in their legs.

You’ll be told to rest your hands on your knees, palms up, like you’re a human Wi-Fi router trying to get the best signal. Remember, you’re not aiming to perform at the next Cirque du Soleil show. Just find a position that won’t make you wish for a chiropractor in the next 10 minutes.

Step 3: Master the Art of Breathing

You’ve been breathing since the day you were born, but forget everything you know about it. In meditation, breathing is not just inhaling oxygen so you don’t die; it’s a mystical, magical technique passed down from generations of monks who had nothing better to do. Get it wrong, and you’ll probably just continue living your life as you are. Get it right, and you’ll still continue living your life as you are, but you’ll feel like you’re “one with the universe” or something.

To breathe “correctly,” take a deep breath through your nose, like you’re smelling fresh cookies. Now, exhale through your mouth as if blowing said cookies away because you’re gluten intolerant. Repeat until you feel lighter or pass out — whichever comes first.

Step 4: Close Your Eyes and Embrace Nothingness

Closing your eyes during meditation is not just to prevent you from awkward eye contact with your pet who is judging you for sitting still and doing nothing. It’s a gateway to the cosmos! Or so they say.

When you close your eyes, you’ll find yourself standing on the precipice of existential questions like, “Why am I here?” and “Did I forget to turn off the stove?” Ignore them. You are diving into the nothingness, or as I like to call it, the ’empty room where your discipline and willpower used to be.’

Step 5: How to Ignore Your Itches

Ah, yes, the inevitable itch — a true test of mental fortitude. Just as you start to feel the transcendent joy of absolutely nothing, your nose, ear, or that spot in the middle of your back that you can never quite reach decides to wage war on your tranquility.

Don’t scratch it!

See, an itch is like that one friend who always insists on telling you their entire life story when you’re running late for a meeting. It craves attention. Ignore it, and it’ll probably sulk and go away. Or it’ll multiply and spread all over your body, making you question all your life choices up until this point. Either way, you’re getting a lesson in tolerance and maybe even a funny story to tell later. So, in a way, it’s a win-win. Unless you itch so badly that you break the sound barrier scratching. In that case, maybe consider bug spray next time.

Step 6: What to Think About When You’re Not Supposed to Think About Anything

Ah, the paradox of meditation! You’re supposed to empty your mind but not fall asleep, be conscious but not aware, exist but not exist — makes perfect sense, right? This is the point where most people start their mental grocery lists or reruns of embarrassing moments from high school. Don’t!

If you find it impossible to think about nothing, try focusing on a ‘mantra,’ which is a fancy word for ‘something you repeat so you don’t think about other stuff.’ You could go classic with a “Om” or get creative with something like “Don’t think of tacos.” What? I said creative, not necessarily logical.

Step 7: What to Do When You’ve Accidentally Reached Nirvana

If, by some miracle, you actually achieve a state of profound inner peace, congratulations! You’ve reached what some call Nirvana, Enlightenment, or “Oh wow, I didn’t know my mind could actually shut up for five seconds.” Don’t get too comfortable, though, because now you’ve got to come back to reality and act like you didn’t just unlock the secrets of the universe while sitting in your pajamas.

Step 8: How to Act Like a Regular Person Afterward

Emerging from meditation can feel like waking up from a nap: disorienting and slightly annoying because the world is still as chaotic as you left it. You might feel like floating through the rest of the day, spouting wisdom like a budget fortune cookie. Resist the urge. Your roommates/family/coworkers probably won’t appreciate it when you tell them that the key to true happiness is to breathe and ignore itches.

Instead, take your newfound peace and use it to fuel the less enlightening parts of your day, like arguing with Karen from accounting or pretending to laugh at your boss’s jokes.

And there you have it, a guide to meditation that’s as useful as a screen door on a submarine — or maybe, just maybe, a little bit enlightening. So go ahead, sit down, close your eyes, breathe, and remember: inner peace is just a thought (or lack thereof) away.

Happy meditating, future Zen masters! May your minds be as empty as your Netflix “continue watching” lists.

Pro Tips for Overachievers

  • The Art of Not Checking the Time

It’s tempting to peek at the clock every two minutes to see if you’ve achieved enlightenment yet. But constantly checking the time during meditation is like repeatedly asking a cake if it’s baked yet by opening the oven. You’re just going to let all the Zen out. Set a gentle, non-jarring alarm if you must, but otherwise, let time be a construct of the outer world.

  • Embrace the Weirdness

Sometimes meditation can feel weird. You might experience strange sensations, like tingling, or feel like you’re floating. You might even get emotional. This is all part of the mind and body unwinding. Think of it as mental yoga; it might feel odd at first, but it’s doing something good. Embrace the weirdness, and remember, nobody has to know that you cried because you felt at one with your coffee mug.

  • The Post-Meditation Snack

This is crucial. After spending what feels like an eternity wrestling with your thoughts and itches, you deserve a treat. Choose something that brings you joy but doesn’t undo all that inner peace you just cultivated. A piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, or maybe a cookie (gluten, beware). It’s like giving your body a high-five for sitting still for so long.

  • Write It Down

Sometimes, post-meditation, you might feel like you’ve just discovered the meaning of life, or maybe you just remembered where you left your keys. Whatever it is, write it down. Keeping a meditation journal can be a great way to track your progress, your insights, or just the random stuff that pops into your head. Plus, it’s always fun to look back and see how far you’ve come, from “What am I doing?” to “I am one with the universe… and I know where my keys are.”

  • Be Kind to Yourself

This is perhaps the most important tip. Be kind to yourself. Meditation is a practice, not a perfection. Some days you’ll feel like a Zen master; other days, you’ll feel like a Zen disaster. That’s okay. The key is to keep showing up for yourself. Remember, every meditation session is like a deposit in your bank of inner peace. You’re investing in future you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Meditation

1. Do I need to buy special meditation clothes?

Absolutely not. The only requirement is comfort. If that means meditating in your superhero pajamas, so be it. The universe doesn’t care what you’re wearing.

2. Can I meditate with my eyes open?

Sure, if you can resist the urge to make faces at yourself in the mirror. The key is to minimize distractions, so if closed eyes make you fall asleep, by all means, keep them open.

3. How long should I meditate?

Start with what feels manageable. Five minutes is a great start. Remember, it’s not a marathon (unless you’re planning to meditate during a marathon, which is impressive and slightly confusing).

4. What if I can’t stop my thoughts?

Join the club. The goal isn’t to stop thoughts, but to let them pass by without selling them a ticket to the show that is your attention. It’s like being at a busy café and ignoring the other customers’ chatter.

5. Is it normal to fall asleep while meditating?

Yep, it’s the body’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m relaxed!” Just try not to drool – it ruins the Zen vibe.

6. Should I meditate in the morning or evening?

That depends on your schedule and when you feel most at peace. Try different times and see what clicks. Just maybe not during a work meeting.

7. Do I need to chant or use a mantra?

Only if it helps you. You can chant, hum, or even silently repeat your grocery list. It’s all about what helps you focus.

8. How do I deal with physical discomfort during meditation?

Adjust your position. Meditation isn’t a test of endurance. If your leg is cramping, feel free to move. The Buddha probably wiggled his toes too.

9. Can I meditate if I have a noisy house?

Yes, it might actually help you focus better. Or invest in some earplugs – they’re cheaper than soundproofing.

10. Will meditation make me a calmer person?

It’s possible, but don’t expect to turn into a Zen monk overnight. It’s more about learning to handle chaos with a bit more grace, and maybe not yelling at the TV remote as much.