The Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

Tiny Buddha statue on a mossy rock

It’s becoming pretty obvious that our ridiculous full voicemail, texting, Netflix-watching, desk job, blue light, to-do-list-filled lives are screwing with us. We’re all anxious and depressed and overwhelmed and floaty-feeling because the last time we weren’t plugged into some kind of device, Bill Clinton was in office.

So, of course, the ones with all the obnoxious wisdom have spoken. It’s time to forest bathe, do yoga, and most importantly: meditate.

You know, sit in a quiet place, focus on your breath, practice mindfulness…pull your fingernails out one by one and try to boil yourself to death in a half inch of water. ‘Cause really, what’s the difference?

I hate meditating. God, it’s hard for me. My mind is a tireless athlete whose running inner monologue is essentially:

“Hustle, hustle, hustle, don’t end up like your mother, hustle hustle hustle, ooh, that’s a good idea, write that down, hustle hustle hustle.”

My “distracted ambition” (patent pending) is kindling for panic attacks.

So I visit the Pinterest boards filled with perky chicks wearing tank tops that say “Namastay Grateful.” I try so hard to read these posts, which are all soothing and helpful, and I can almost make it through one before the heat of irritation bubbles up into my soul and I go, “Ahhhhhhhh, I can’t even read about meditating, let alone meditate.”

So what do you do when you feel disconnected? Like you are a passenger in your own life? When you feel anxious? When you get that feeling that time is either going at a crawl or speeding by like lightning…or both?

Unfortunately, you fucking meditate.

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Here’s a guide for my lovelies who want to want to mediate:

If you like 7 minutes in heaven, you’ll love 15 minutes in hell

They say to sit with your back against a chair and focus on your breath. This is some master-level shit. You wouldn’t start a toddler off with the triple Salchow in their first ice skating lesson, don’t attempt to sit quietly and breathe on your first try; you could hurt yourself.

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Instead, set a timer for 15 minutes. Roll out a yoga mat (I prefer a pilates mat because they are much softer and thicker) in a clean, quiet area. The only rule is you can’t have any stimulation. No phones, no music, no TV, no vibrator.

That’s it. You can move around on the mat. I usually end up weeping in child’s pose out of boredom and exasperation until the little timer sets me free from this hell dimension. Do this everyday until you come to accept that the time will pass whether or not you turn into Linda Blair, and you will slowly train your mind into accepting the quiet time.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meditation™!

For those of you who like to ease yourself into the pool of enlightenment, I highly suggest Meditation Lite. It has half the pretentiousness of meditation but retains that full meditation flavor. (It also spreads nicely onto bread.)

There are activities that are intensely meditative. Let’s be straight, what you are really trying to encourage is the production of theta waves. That’s all meditation is and there is more than one way to skin a cat. (Such a horrible expression, where does it come from, why do we use it? Why? Who’s skinning cats?)

  • Watch a fire burn. This will be entertaining and hypnotic to even the most jaded of us. Double meditation points if you set fire to ex’s clothes, hair, or mother.
  • Take a bubble bath. Actually, just a bath, bubbles are for philistines.  
  • Hatha yoga. Or just basic stretching. Sit on your mat, criss-cross your apple sauce, and just start reaching for shit.
  • Any sort of repetitious craft. Crocheting, knitting, summoning the dark lord, etc.

Meditation boot camp

For those of you who like to dive head first into the pool of unnerving stillness, book yourself a float session.

Floating or (floatation therapy) is where they chuck you into a pod filled with perfectly temperate salt water and deprive you of all your senses so the only thing you have is your thoughts. Contrary to the nightmare this seems like, the waking dream that results can be a wonderful place for spontaneous creative inspiration.

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People have written songs, books, or math equations while floating. People use floating as an exercise in memory, pleasantly recounting past experiences or tackling negative ones. Others use floating as a tool towards learning and meditation, taking advantage of the total lack of distractions to achieve deep focus and awareness.

Regardless of where you’re afraid your brain might take you, this is a blissful experience, almost everyone steps out of the tank feeling optimistic and balanced.

See, now don’t you feel better?

The thing is, mediation is worth doing. We need to give ourselves the fifteen minutes a day to do what might seem like nothing so that we can be present in this life.

What are your experiences with meditation? What do you do to unplug? Let all your friends here at Damn, Girl know and be sure to follow along on Twitter for my occasional thoughts on adulting, peeing on my house, and er… lipstick.

171 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

  1. I love this article, so true. I’ve actually been meditating for 20 years and I still find it difficult but it really helped in labour 😂😂😂. In my CBT I was encouraged to do mindfullness but instead of the typical breathing on a chair she told me to do a task and do it as if for the first time, noticing everything about it and letting thoughts pass like a train. It really helps me to refocus. Great post

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Literally the funniest thing I’ve ever read on meditation. And it’s all so true. I’ve been trying really, really hard to meditate lately. Every day I try. I think I’ve got about 3 minutes total (collectively) and that’s progress in my books.

    I can vouch for the float session. It’s a really great experience and forces to to meditate without you even realizing it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve only ever done the full 90 minutes! At first I thought it would be a little much, but it gave me lots of time to play around and get bored of the novelty. Then I really started to relax.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. My blog are my views about the four most important things: food, movies, exercise and what ever is on my brain. I test different things like food, but I’m not a cook so there may be kitchen fires in my future…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh, I have trouble meditating, too. It’s probably “cheating”, but I try to get the same benefits from just focusing on a creative or relaxing task, like doing a jigsaw puzzle, or knitting, or painting on a project. I rationalize that since my mind isn’t wandering all over the place, but I’m super focused, it’s kind of the same thing as meditating. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My meditative practices include watching a fire burn, as I summon the dark lord, whilst sipping bubbles and reaching for the apocalypse.
    It’s very relaxing.

    P.S. I am sure there were multiple variations of the above already posted, but shhhh, our little secret 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Heyya! Thanks for liking my recent post, and now I’m surfing through your blog! Yay! This particular post is 100% accurate and hilarious at the same time. I get anxious sometimes so I usually cope through meditation, but uhhhh – I always end up sleeping though. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry…I can’t have a vibrator while I’m meditating?? Wtf, ha! I personally find guided meditations easier to follow so I can focus on the words, or I’ve tried meditating to calming sounds like running water. I really need to get back into it as I’ve not been practicing enough :/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank ypu for sharing your views. Meditation is knowing oneself through the experience of bliss of oneness. The systematic steps of Yoga withdraw the mind from the external senses and make it concentrate inward. This internal focus harmonizes the mind with cosmic consciousness. Any activity where personal identity is lost as it merges into nothingness is an example of meditation.. if you want to know more about yoga and meditation then visit our website hope it will helpfull and informative for you

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my GOD!!! I need to do this floating thing! I can’t even! My favorite kind of “meditation” is the rare moment I get float in my pool WITHOUT one of my kids jumping on top of me and almost drowning me. It’s happened like twice. And it feels so amazing to just FLOAT. I would NEVER be able to do this in the ocean. I mean fucking sharks and anxiety and being taken away by a current or drowned by a wave yea no. Not relaxing. But nothing will eat me in a pool. I love all of this. Ive been needing to find a meditative route for some time now (like my entire fucking life…) and I think people overthink it and complicate it. Like- just BE. Just sit there for once, and EXIST. Ugh. So beautiful and so impossible. Thank you for these tips Friend! I’m googling this floating business ASAP!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I tried to read all of this post, really I did and I got all the ways down to the instructions on actually meditating and I thought fuck it, I ain’t never going to do that…
    I got down to this sentence…..“Ahhhhhhhh, I can’t even read about meditating, let alone meditate.”
    And that gave me the out that I did not have to read anymore, I did read just a little bit more because you make me giggle but then I zoned out at “set a timer for 15 minutes. Roll out a yoga mat”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for being so unapologetically honest in this post! As a wellness blogger, I also feel pressure to give the impression that I’m a master meditator, but sometimes, I can’t even make it those 3 minutes you’ve gotten to! I didn’t even think about how other meditative activities (watching a fire, etc.) can have the same positive effects. This makes me feel a lot better about my difficulties! I’d add playing an instrument and petting animals to the list – these activities have a similar effect for me.
    Also, I’m now genuinely considering flotation therapy! Sounds scary but potentially life-altering! Thanks for bringing it onto my radar.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LOL! I had a tough time when I started to meditate. Having ADD doesn’t make it any easier but it was necessary. I started with 5 mins & slowly worked my way up, I can honestly say after a few months, it’s the best thing I could do for myself. I can concentrate better & can train my mind to focus on the present moment. Which is what matters anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. First of all, I love your writing! So honest and so perfectly comedic. I recently started to attempt to meditate and DAMN is it hard. I’ve been trying with the app Headspace every morning, and I like it so far. Do you meditate at the same time each day to help create a habit?

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have not tried meditation, but keep thinking I should. I was looking for pointers, and found this post. You had me rolling. =) Maybe I can roll into a floating meditative state… I’ll try that. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good one . I too would like to share my article on meditation as there are certain things that you write not for acknowledgement but to reach out to maximum people.Here it goes :

    #AnsweringTheUnanswered #Meditation

    While I am certainly not a spiritual Guru and definitely not an enlightened being , but I have every reason to be grateful to the nature or to the divine for helping me to be continuously on this auspicious path of seeking thyself for quiet sometime now.

    The very purpose of writing this blog is to answer, based on my own experiences , based on what exactly I have actually felt and subsequently understood so far , some of the very basic questions/doubts which usually bother the beginners as I sincerely wish that whosoever flag starts his/her spiritual journey ,finds absolutely no reason to quit this path.

    Hope you too will find this write up worth reading and worth sharing so that it reaches the right seekers !

    Liked by 2 people

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