No doubt, the benefits of meditation are endless – reduce stress, control anxiety, positive emotional health, love and appreciation, alleviate blood pressure/pain/disease – I could go on!
What I have learned recently is that understanding what meditation is, what it means to you and what personal impact it will have on your life, is a critical starting point. Having just entered my own journey into meditation and mindfulness, I can tell you that it’s still unfolding and unwinding (just as it’s intended to!). However, I found getting started a bit intimidating and honestly, confusing (the opposite of what it’s supposed to be). I now know why -- because this entire concept of being “present” was completely foreign to me. I used to live in a fast-paced, cortisol-filled state of mind that left “no time” for sitting still or being alone with my thoughts. Now the lightbulb has gone off – I’ve had my ah-ha moment about meditation. This is very personal to share but I do hope it helps inspire or encourage others to give it a try.
Here’s what I find works for me to Meditate: Nourish the Soul
- Set an alarm, reminder, whatever you need to carve out the time – okay! Probably too rigid for some but hear me out. I see it as setting intent and scheduling time every day for this important piece of my daily life. If it’s scheduled, its protected time, blocked without interruption and it’s physically showing my own self that I have time preserved for it.
- Create a unique space – ideally a space dedicated just for this purpose (whether it’s a yoga mat, a spot on the floor, bed, etc). The point is that your present mind and body start to associate this space with meditation, therefore activating all the feel-goods before the meditation has even started.
- Get comfortable & cozy – some schools of thought say stay seated; some say lay down – I say do what works best. Heck, there is even walking meditation so try a few things out and get comfortable! That’s the point. Do what works for you.
- Background music optional – personally I find it a necessity to trigger my current body that I’m entering into a meditative, out of body state. I need the calming music to block out the dogs barking or the washing machine rumbling, and to help me stay focused on the current present moment without distraction.
- Tame the racing mind – this was a big one for me at first. My run away thoughts when I was supposed to be meditating. UGH! But I learned how to bring it back fast to present state. Step one – recognize you’re drifting and working on your to-do list, and what’s for dinner and pull it back to deep breath and present moment.
- Don’t set a timer! You can’t rush this. Sometimes you’ll find your moment faster than others, but what isn’t ideal is time-boxing your meditation. Let it have its space and trust that you’ll know how much time is needed each session to allow your mind to set it’s best intent.
- Guided meditations are helpful (at least for now) – for some they are a distraction. For me, especially as I’m a beginner and exploring options, I like to be instructed and follow along to help guide my thoughts, then wander on my own right now. I know as I get better this will change. But I do this without shame or judgement because there is no right way to meditate as I’ve learned.
- Focus on feelings too, not always thoughts – the conscious mind will want to take over, while the subconscious runs on auto pilot. That’s how the physical body has been groomed our whole life. But feelings you can’t create, you feel! So conditioning your body outside of thoughts alone, and including feelings (of exhilaration, freedom, fullness, abundance). This is where the magic happens.
- As always, I’m open to your own learnings and reflections from your personal practices. Please do comment and share.
- Also, any good online meditations, books, podcasts or practioners to recommend? Please share with the group. Open to any and all!
Have a peace filled day! Can't wait to hear from you.