OK, when I say meditation I’m guessing one of the following images pops into mind; A Buddhist monk sat cross legged chanting for hours at a time or a bunch of hippies dancing around incense holding flowers and giving everyone the peace sign! Now that’s OK if this was your first thoughts on meditation, it was for me too.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against Buddhists, I think they are amongst the most peaceful people on the planet and I don’t dislike hippies. I love the planet too! I’m a vegetarian/vegan and promote peace but I could not see myself meditating in these ways. It’s just not for me.
In the beginning I was extremely reluctant to meditate. I had read about it time and time again but kept finding excuses not to try it. I read a lot of self help and self development books and I began to notice that they all had chapters on Meditation and I also read how it has helped many people who suffer from mental health issues!
So what do I have to lose?
I have given it a go and despite a few small blips, I haven’t looked back!
However, saying that makes it sound very easy but it really wasn’t! Even when I decided to commit to doing meditation I found it EXTREMELY difficult! I just couldn’t switch off! My mind is always running – no sprinting – at 1000 miles and hour so to be asked to sit in silence and clear your mind was almost impossible! It was very frustrating at first. I just couldn’t ‘get it’!
Now don’t feel disheartened if this is you too. In fact if you’re finding it as difficult as I did then meditation will benefit you even more! Trust me, we are the people that need it!
Meditation can be guided by a teacher in a class or on an app or You Tube. Or you can do it alone in silence or with some soft music.
I use a guided meditation. If I don’t then my mind is free to roller coaster out of control! My favourite so far is Headspace. I think its amazing and I love Andy Puddicombe!
It starts with 10 minutes of meditation over 10 days. Then you are free to subscribe to further sessions if you wish. He guides you in such a gentle way and gives you little reminders throughout if you mind – like mine – starts to wander. It focuses on doing body scans and counting with you breath which again suits me much better than trying to sit in silence with a blank mind.
There are so many other options out there though so please keep searching, there will be one that suits you. The benefits of meditation are so amazing.
Something that I’ve learnt through this journey is that as humans we are meant to be happy and at peace! It’s the modern outside world that causes the stress, worry and anxiety. But by being in the present moment you are putting all of that negativity to one side and focusing purely on the here and now. Which in itself is so empowering!
It’s important to set yourself up for success when you are starting out. Choose a nice quite place and make sure you are comfortable. You can sit cross legged, upright on a chair or even laying down. I will usually do my mediation practice after my yoga in the mornings. so I will usually sit crossed legged on my yoga mat. But try them all and choose what works best for you. I also light candles, again you don’t have too if this isn’t your thing. Another tip would be to keep a blanket handy. Your body temperature tends to drop when sitting still like this and if your like me and always cold then wrap yourself in one before you start.
Oh and one more thing, pretty obvious I know but remember to switch off your phones. If youre using an app on your phone then just make sure you switch your notifications off. There is nothing worse than being halfway through a practice and hearing that ‘ping’ and knowing you have a message or tweet;
“I wonder who that is?”
Clear your mind
“I hope it’s a positive comment on my post”
Focus on your breath
“What if it’s something important?”
Inhale and exhale
“Maybe I’ll have a quick check…”
And there you have it, practice aborted! And if you are someone than finds it difficult to squeeze in the mediation in the first place, this will be the difference of practising or not.
In the beginning I also thought meditation was a bit of a waste of time to be honest. I have housework, work, my son to look after! How can I possibly justify 15 minutes of sitting on my bum doing nothing when there are all these jobs to do!
Oh how wrong I was! Of course at first it’s going to be difficult fitting your meditation practice into your already jam packed routine but it is honestly SO worth it! And honestly 10/15 minutes is all it needs to be and the results will have you hooked!
Peace and love to you all.