Meditation is a vital tool in your Jedi toolkit, but it’s so easy to ignore. There are so many demands on your time, convenient and inconvenient distractions and tasks to pay attention to, and a million reasons why you don’t really have to do it right now, right?
As California Jedi Quenton said, “Meditation is your personal appointment with the Force. It’s is a time to absolutely clear yourself of distractions, fear, emotions and uncertainty. Through meditation do we connect ourselves with the Force in a way that strengthens our relationship and understanding of its presence.”
So how do you meditate? Jedi from around the country chime in with their best meditation tips. Special thanks to Corey, Brandon, Quenton, Lumentis, Kristin for their contributions to this post!
1. Get Comfy
California Jedi Corey starts us off with the basics: “Make sure you are comfortable, like, REALLY comfortable. I usually meditate directly after a long shower, and after a long day of work and exercise, either mental, physical, or both. Basically, when you’re ready to get into “chill-mode”.
Make sure you have a spot set up where you won’t be disturbed. And, if that’s not entirely possible where you are, ear-buds and a boosted volume works wonders for me. I live in a small house with two other people and two barky dogs, so peace, quiet, and solitude aren’t always possible. Also, don’t be afraid to let your roommates know that you DO meditate, and you don’t want to be disturbed while you’re doing so. It’s not an unreasonable request, so feel free to make it.”
2. Start Small
“Start out small,” recommends Lumentis, “about 2,3, or 5 minutes at a time, and work your way up from there. Attempting to clear your mind in our instantaneous gratification society is no easy task. Slow we must go…”
“As a beginner, don’t focus on small details like how you are sitting, posture, how and where to hold your hands,” says Corey. “Mostly just focus on calmly breathing in and out, and focus on relaxing and stilling your mind, as well as every part of your body. That’s the most important part about meditation, being calm and truly relaxed. Mantras help to keep your mind from wandering, as well as lulling you into bodily relaxation. When you focus on a mantra for long enough, you tend to forget the rest of your body exists for a short while. The rest will come with experience and furthering your knowledge of the subject, there are endless amounts of books on it.”
3. Focus on Your Breath
Katie’s been teaching meditation in the Jedi community since 2008, and her first advice is to follow your breath.
“Your breath is your most powerful tool for altering your mind. It can slow or speed your heart rate, calm your nerves, even change your oxygen ratio to give you a different perception of consciousness. Anytime you’re distracted, disheartened, or stressed, bring it back to the breath. Even if you don’t have time to meditate, anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed, close your eyes for a few seconds and focus on your breathing. That sense of calm descending is what the force feels like.”
Lumentis agrees: “I try to stick to the basics and a few things I’ve been taught over the years. Breathe… focus and for some, focus and place yourself in your ‘perfect place of peace,’ another is when you’re trying to clear your mind, when something invades it, wipe it away from your mind and continue this process.”
4. Be Gentle with Yourself
As a Jedi with a distractable brain, Katie believes being gentle with your progress is key to success. “Don’t stress about the result,” she advises. “If you struggle with clearing your mind, try moving meditation, or forgive yourself for being distracted and try again. If you fall asleep, no worries: you clearly needed the sleep! Meditation should be helping you process your thoughts and stress and needs, not adding to that pile, so don’t worry if your progress doesn’t look like you think it should. Just keep at it.
Brandon also struggled with distraction and “monkey mind.” He says, “I used to find myself frustrated after some meditations. Sometimes I couldn’t shut my brain off. Other times I was fidgety. I’d look at the clock. Ultimately I found that one of two things will help me get through in these situations:
One, just accept what’s coming. If your brain won’t shut up, don’t try to fight it. The more you try to fight it, the louder it’s going to be. If you let go of trying to make it quiet, eventually it’ll quiet down on its own.
Two, if you’re fidgety, find a focus. Set a breath goal, with the notion that after, say, 30 breaths you can stop if you still want to. Most times that will take longer than you expect it will and your meditation will be over by the time you hit it, or your focus will distract you from your impatience and by the time you hit your goal you’ll decide you’re okay to finish.”
5. Keep Practicing
Kristin from Utah phrases the final and most important step beautifully: “Consistency is the most important thing. Do a little every day no matter how long or how loud your mind is. Just make time for it; the rest will fall into place.”
Quenton agrees: “If you meditate daily, you will find it far more easy to do for longer periods of time.”
Still worried about getting started? “If you don’t think you can meditate, you just haven’t found the right method for you yet!” says Katie. “There are so many ways to meditate, and not all of them look like sitting still and breathing deeply! Test drive anything that makes you more aware of yourself, your thoughts, or the world around you, because that can be your meditation, from going on a walk and paying attention to the color of the leaves and sky, to talking to a trusted friend or therapist about what’s on your mind.
Good luck Jedi! Explore our meditation section for more resources on your path to mindfulness!