When speaking with people about meditation, I tend to get a lot of the same response. The person roles their eyes, and says one of two things:

1) “Who has time to meditate???!!” or,
2) “I tried meditating, and it didn’t work.”

There are many misconceptions about what meditation actually is. There are a lot of people out there who believe that if they can’t meditate to the point of Nirvana on their first try, then it just isn’t working for them.

Many people assume that because they cannot keep their minds clear for a certain amount of time, that they just can’t do it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What most people fail to realize, is that the simple act of trying to meditate, IS meditating. The clear mind, and even Nirvana, come with time and practice.

The idea behind meditation is simply to calm your mind. Allowing all those pesky thoughts to come in is fine, as long as you allow them to go right back out again as well. Again, this can take practice for someone with a truly hectic lifestyle.

If, on your first try, thoughts seem to overtake you, then allow them to. Accept them for what they are. Our brains have been programmed to constantly be turned on. It takes some time to train your brain to do something else. So don’t get frustrated. Just sitting there and relaxing your body will have a wonderful effect on you.

So to get you started, here are some guidelines for the beginner.

1) You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor. Find a comfortable chair, cushion or stool to sit on. The more comfortable your body is, the easier it will be to relax. Sitting cross-legged can come later, if you really feel it adds something to your meditation routine.

2) Turn off the phone, the computer, the cell phone, the blackberry, the fax machine and anything else that keeps you plugged into the chaos of your life. Take the kids to grandmas, hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door, whatever it takes to give you some quiet.

3) Wear something comfortable. Sweats and a T-shirt are fine, or whatever works for you in the moment.

4) Take a few deep breaths. Focus on relaxing every muscle of your body, part by part. In other words, focus on relaxing your scalp, eyes, nose, jaw, ears, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, tummy, hips, thighs, calves, ankles, feet and toes. Go from top to bottom. If you feel something tightening up again, calmly return your focus to that area and relax it with your mind.

5) Then, focus on letting all your thoughts float out of your mind like little balloons. Some people like to imagine putting all their problems in a box and handing that box to their higher power. Whatever works for you.

When a thought comes back into your mind, don’t get frustrated. Simply treat it with respect (it is, after all, a part of yourself, your everyday life) and allow it to move on.

6) Once you feel as though you have done this long enough, slowly start to wiggle your toes and fingers. Roll your head to stretch your neck, and breath.

7) That’s it! You just meditated!

Not as involved or complicated as some may think. The key is to not get frustrated and throw in the towel. You’ll find that with regular practice, you get closer and closer to keeping your mind calm during your sessions.

How long do you have to sit there? For however long is comfortable for you. If it’s one minute, fine! If it’s 1 hour, great! Keep in mind that time is not the issue here. Don’t focus on the clock. There is no right amount of time to meditate. Just do what you can. The trick is to do it regularly. Training your brain takes time and patience. Even if you can only carve five minutes out of your day, make sure you get those five minutes regularly. It can seem like a challenge at first, but if you treat it like you would any other appointment you have to get to, you’ll be surprised at how regularly you can do it.

So give it a try. You’ll be amazed at the benefits!

Author's Bio: 

Personal Alchemy was set into motion March of 2006 by Tiffany McCauley.

Always a spa enthusiast, Tiffany was a massage therapist for over 10 years prior to fulfilling her dream to start her own company. She always longed for a career that would grant her freedom and creativity. An advocate of meditation, self-healing, and great skincare products, McCauley chose to personally share her passion, and so production began.

"I take immense pride in knowing that each bottle a person buys was made by my hands," said McCauley. Although, as soon as her goal is met of making Personal Alchemy a household name, that may not be possible, for now she is more than content.

In order to maintain a youthful mind and body, "enough sleep, good nutrition, stress management and good skin care products" are vital. "If all of these are in balance, you can't help but
look your best," assured McCauley.

Born and raised in the East Bay section of California, McCauley lives in the same house that she grew up in, and is planning on raising her son, born this past September, there as well.