It's Easier Than You Think
Have you ever tried to meditate? Then gave up after the first few seconds because you felt, well, silly and didn't quite know what to do?
If you’ve taken even one of our workshops, you know how much we emphasize the importance of meditating. The benefits are immeasurable, but to name a few, it reduces anxiety, increases immune response, helps the brain actually rebuild gray matter, helps the heart stay healthy, increases happiness, increases patience…the list goes on! So why don’t more of us meditate, especially when so many of us know how beneficial it can be?
We frequently hear from many people that they don’t meditate because they either don’t have time, don’t understand what they are supposed to do, or feel intimidated by it. We’ve all seen the numerous images of what meditation “looks like” but in reality, meditation is a very personal experience and can be different for everyone. It doesn’t have to be you sitting on a forest floor with sprinkles of sunlight on your face, or on the edge of a cliff seated calmly with incredible vistas in the distance. It can definitely be you in a bathrobe with a towel on your head taking a few moments of peace before the chaos of the day. Regardless of what it looks like in your real life, the main purpose of it is to become aware of the present moment and to simply be within that moment.
One common misunderstanding about meditation is that many believe they must have an absence of thoughts. It is nearly impossible to have no thoughts, and I am pretty sure you’d no longer be with us on this earth if you had no thoughts. The goal of meditation is to allow your thoughts to pass without judgment or attachment, where you can observe them and not allow them to affect you. I like to think of the thoughts like a dandelion that has just been blown off its stalk. The petals are floating through the air, some fall, some move around, and some float away. When you meditate, you can imagine your thoughts are just things...floating around and moving along. The problem is that our egos tend to latch onto our thoughts and send us down a spiral of tangents, never really allowing a rest period. We are constantly analyzing thoughts, judging ourselves for having that thought, thinking thoughts of the past, the present, the future, coming up with 20 different scenarios, causing even MORE thinking! It’s exhausting!
Meditation is that rest period, where our minds can relax - even with the random thoughts. By just noticing the thought - and allowing it to move on - you can give your mind a break, and move into a meditative state.
There are many methods to get to that space, but I am going to guide you through a very simple meditation. You don’t need any tools or equipment, all you need is a quiet and comfortable space. This is a brief meditation, but the more you practice it, you can increase the time you dedicate to your well being. The longer periods of meditation can have profound positive effects on the brain. If you feel awkward and aren’t sure what to do with your body, just allow yourself to be comfortable. You don’t have to do anything with your hands, and you don’t have to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. You can just rest your hands on your knees or in your lap. You can do this sitting on a bed, a couch, the floor, a chair - literally anywhere that you feel comfortable. Try not to lie down, as you don’t want to fall asleep. A more active posture is preferred, but if that is not comfortable, you can sit with your back against something for support. It is generally recommended to have your eyes closed during meditation, but we understand that isn’t comfortable for everyone. If you’d like your eyes open, gently rest your gaze on the floor. If you feel like you are ready to give it a try, let’s begin.
Please click on the video below to listen and follow along with the meditation.
You can come back to this meditation as frequently as you like. Regardless of how the meditation went for you, be proud of yourself for trying! You took the first step toward meditation and the awkward part is over!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and feel a little lighter after this pause in your day.
~ Stay mindful