The benefits of meditating are profound and life altering but one of the most common things clients and friends tell me is that they don’t know how.
I didn’t understand the concept of meditation when I started either. I thought that I was supposed to sit quietly, with my eyes closed and just empty my mind. Of course, the more you try to force something on your mind/thoughts, the more focused and insistent it becomes. I you imagine a light bulb for example and then try to force that image out of your mind and NOT think about the light bulb the more solid the image becomes and the more your mind refuses to think of anything else. Try it!
Here are my suggestions for those who want/need to meditate:
– Sit or lay in a comfortable position with no interruptions for at least 5 minutes. I started with 10 min increments at the beginning.
– I used guided meditations in the beginning to help with visualization and I still prefer to have quiet music on in the background.
– Close your eyes and take a large inhale, hold your breathe for a second or two, and release the breathe slowly. I prefer to do 3 of these to help ‘de-stress’ or ‘dis-connect’. I also love to release the first couple breathes with a audible sighing sounds – it’s like a trigger for my body to truly relax.
– One of the biggest misconceptions I had when I start to participate in meditation was that there would eventually be no thoughts but that’s not the point. Understand that you are not your thoughts and just observe them as they come into your consciousness – remember what I said above, if you try to force the thought out of your mind, it’ll grip even harder. You can visualize yourself sitting beside a river and the thoughts float by on the water as you watch in contentment or you can imagine that your thoughts are clouds and you’re laying in a big field just watching them float by.
– One you can comfortably sit in meditation for 10 minutes add 5 min until you reach a satisfactory goal for your meditation (30 min, 1 hr or longer)
As with everything in life, it takes consistent practice in order to achieve the results you’re looking for. You are going to have days that it’s a struggle and some days are going to overflowed with activities and you just don’t get to it. Don’t beat yourself up over it, you get to do it again tomorrow. Create a very high priority to meditate and consider scheduling your meditation practice for the same time every day. Be realistic – if you’re dog tired by the end of the day you’re probably going to fall asleep every time; maybe first thing in the morning before your coffee is a better time; or a mid-afternoon session is going to help you get through everything you have planned. Play with times and locations and styles until you find something that empowers you.
Join us over on the Village Sisters forum and share with us your meditation do’s and don’ts or ideas!!