For most people the act of sitting down and doing nothing may seem strange or bizarre. We live in a world where it is the norm to be constantly busy. Taking a break can be daunting when there seems to be a list a mile long of to-do’s. With so many distractions and events constantly happening around us, we begin to lose focus on the present moment. Meditation is the act of calming the mind and pulling our focus away from all the outside distractions and instead moving it inward. Most meditations are built on coming back to the breath and honing into its flow throughout the body.
Before you Jump In
Maybe at this point your thinking meditation must be super easy. Sitting in silence? I don’t know how that would be hard.
You may be surprised to hear that meditation in fact can actually be more difficult than most people think. We live our lives constantly thinking, only turning our mind off when it's time to sleep. Settling into a space where you need to acknowledge and let go of your thoughts can be a struggle.
Some days will be easier and letting go will seemingly come naturally but other days may feel hard and as if your mind is a roller coaster twisting and turning from one thought to the next. Don’t let yourself label your practice as good or bad, instead use each one as a learning experience. Don’t overthink meditation(sometimes this is easier said than done).
Now onto the fun part!
The most important part of meditation is the practice of it. By setting aside a specific time and place for it, it becomes more of a habit or expectation. There are no rules to when or where you should meditate; choose what works best for you. It can be helpful to use meditation to start the day fresh and without worry by practicing in the morning. It can also however be useful in aiding in sleep by doing it before bed. It is not necessary to practice at either time, just whatever works best for you.
Along with scheduling a time for meditation, it can also be helpful to create a space for the practice. Maybe a fun colored meditation cushion can help to motivate you to practice. You are in control when it comes to your practice so make sure that you are comfortable and happy with your set up. Where ever you decide to make your designated spot, make sure it is free from distractions and decently quiet.
Time to Meditate
Once you have everything set up to start your practice it's time to find the best or most interesting technique to you. There are many different kinds to choose from but today we will be picking one of the simplest. Mindfulness. This method doesn’t require any bells or whistles. You don’t need anything fancy but a timer and your focus.
When you’re just getting started you don’t need to become a monk and meditate for hours. Start with a simple 10 minute session. You can add more time if you feel as though that that’s in your practice.
Set your timer and sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Feel your muscles relax and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, feeling each one fill your lungs, and settle in.
Relax your breath to a normal rhythm and notice where you feel it most strongly. It could be in your stomach, chest, or maybe even the cool air drawing in at your nostrils. Where ever you feel it most strongly keep your focus there. Your mind will wander but the key piece to meditation is in the repeated act of returning to your breath no matter what or how many times you get pulled away. If you need an extra piece to help hold your focus you can count “one” on the in breath and “two” on the out breath, feeling each breath from start to finish.
Each time you catch your mind wandering acknowledge it, let it go, and flow back into the breath. Keep returning to the breath until the timer buzzes. When the time is up slowly come back to your body by wiggling your fingers and toes, giving your body a stretch and opening your eyes.
Take a moment to note how you feel. Did this practice bring stillness? Do you feel relaxed? Or at peace?
Meditation is a practice and not something that anyone can do perfectly. What to some might be seen as doing nothing, meditation can bring more calmness and focus to everyday life. By implementing a regular time for meditation real change and effects can be observed. Many people report being happier, having more concentration, and overall feeling calmer with a meditation practice.
Have you ever tried meditation? What’s your experience like? What tools do you use to keep yourself motivated to meditate? Tell me below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!