I have had big plans for 2015! It was exciting getting everything all planned out. I decided I was going to love the grind! The goal was to fall in love with the work that it took to make my goals happen!
And then I was driving down the road, and I heard a voice in my head that laughed so hard! It thought I was crazy for even ATTEMPTING the things I wanted to accomplish. It said it was impossible! I wasn’t dedicated enough and the grind was too crappy. Nobody would want to stick with that!
How DO you shut that voice off! It got louder on certain days, and 2015 hadn’t even started yet! I have a very loud brain anyway, and shutting it off (even toning it down!) seems near impossible. But I knew it was so important for me to reach my goals so I started researching and what I found has changed my life!
I’d heard about meditation in college. I even went to a zen meditation group one night on campus and thought I was going to die! It was 60 minutes and I had no idea what I was doing! I could NOT sit still that long and wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be thinking about. Now, 25 years later, I understand.
Mediation does tons of awesome stuff for you:
- It relaxes you.
- It lowers your stress levels.
- Helps you combat anxiety.
- It can help you reach you goals (it’s true, I’ll explain)
- It helps us even after we’ve finished doing it.
- It can lower your blood pressure, help your immune system and help you handle pain.
- It helps shut off that stupid voice of doubt in your head! Or at least help it to pipe down!
The greatest thing I found about my meditation is that it is impossible to worry when you are in meditation. Mindfulness and meditation is ‘the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment’. If you are in the present moment, you are so focused on RIGHT that minute, that there is no cause for worry or stress. Stress, I found, is the anticipation that something bad or unpleasant will happen. Look at me sitting there in meditation – looks sorta peaceful, doesn’t it! If I am truly IN that moment, nothing could bother me.
I’m going to get into the nuts and bolts, hoping it will help you too!
The whole idea is really to just get settled. Sit with yourself and focus on your breathing. You don’t need anything fancy, no real ‘tools’ other than your breath. I started out just sitting for 5 minutes. That’s it. Five minutes of sitting and focusing on my breathing, in and out. Big deep breaths and pushing the air out. This is called Mindful Meditation and here is what I found:
- Most articles I read said to meditate in the morning. And that’s great if that works for you but it did NOT work for me. I have too many things on my ‘to do’ list for the day and THAT is all I could think about. Now I meditate in the afternoon. That’s what works for me. Find what works for you.
- I found at first it was really hard to ‘not think’. I kept thinking… “I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THINKING!” and that was so dang loud! What I realize now is that it is A-OK to have thoughts come into your mind. Just let them come and go, don’t follow them down the road to wherever they are going! Your mind will start to quiet itself but it won’t happen right away, be patient.
- I meditate in my home office, I open up the blinds and let the light come in on my face. After a few weeks, I decided to buy myself a little cushion for my bum and that helped me not think about my legs getting uncomfortable. Find a position that makes you feel comfortable.
- Imagine a Golden light coming down from the sky, through the top of my head, down through my bottom and back up again. This gave my brain something to think about. I make this light down and back up match my breath and then I feel all zen like!
- If I need something to think about, when my brain is unusually busy, I like to listen to a mantra. A mantra is just a word or a sound that is said during meditation to help you concentrate. I found one, that I think sounds really beautiful, on YouTube of Tibetan Monks. I like it because it is simply the sound of the monks, no other sounds to distract you. It is the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and you can hear it here.
- Start with 5 minutes and keep adding on! No pressure, just do what feels comfortable to you and makes you feel all sparkly inside!
The cool thing about meditation is that I can follow along with Self Guided meditations when I need some help or when I have something specific I am looking to overcome. If I’m feeling impatient, there are meditations for that! Looking to forgive some folks? There are meditations for that too! Anything you can think of, even getting to sleep, there are meditations out there that will help you! A few places to search:
- Podcasts! Open up you podcast app on your iphone and search ‘Meditation’. There you will find a wide range of options, from sparking creativity to being in the moment.
- There are a few apps I have downloaded on my iphone that I really love. One was referred to me from a friend last summer, and although I really liked it, it wasn’t until I started sitting quietly by myself that I started to love meditation. So check out these apps, but try sitting alone too and see what works for you. One is ‘Simple Being’. Another is ‘Breathe’. They are both great and I believe Breathe is free so check that out as a place to start.
Since I started my daily meditation practice I feel so much more ‘awake’. My heart is open to people and I find I don’t get nearly as distracted by that voice in my head. It’s taken me outside of myself, and allowed me to focus on others in a way that I haven’t ever been able to before. The days that I miss my daily practice feel different to me. Doubt creeps in and I don’t see as clearly how I can effect positive change for those around me. It sounds sort of ‘wackadoodle’, even to me as I write this, but I promise you, daily meditation can be life changing and I hope you give it a shot!
UPDATE: Since increasing my proficiency at meditation, I found those two apps got a bit stale. Someone introduced me to the Omvama app. I really love this one and it seems it can grow with you. You are able to mix background music of your choice with the meditation of your choice. You can buy new meditations but so far I’ve found the free ones provided are awesome (and there are a ton to choose to download that are free!).