I woke up this morning, got out of bed, and walked over to the comfortable chair in the corner of my room. I sit down, close my eyes and let my thoughts swirl around.
It only takes a couple of minutes before my mind settles and the urge to go back to sleep or turn on the TV turns into a wave of quiet energy. I sit there for fifteen minutes and when I open my eyes I am left with nothing.
No obligations, no sense of urgency, no racing thoughts. Just appreciation and a fresh point of view where anything is possible, It feels amazing! I have been doing this for just over one year now and today I found myself wondering how I came across this wonderful habit.
It wasn’t too long ago when a normal morning for me was rushing out of bed after hitting the snooze button (three or four times), checking my messages, and turning on the TV. For years the first thoughts that came to mind as I began my day were usually urgent, rushed, and scared. No time to think and worried about what was to come; I was fine with this. Considering that there was even any other way of moving through the day hadn’t even occurred to me. But I wasn’t in control – I was being pulled along.
I was in need of a place to go when things got hectic, but I didn’t have one.
As the days turned into months and so on, I began to ask myself: “When is it time to stop and look around?” Instead of reminiscing about the past or planning for the future, what would it be like to stop and do nothing? A fun thought, but I knew that this was an important question.
One day I was brushing my teeth and realized something: we spend time each day taking care of our bodies and external lives. I brush my teeth and shower every day because if I didn’t I would smell funny and feel gross; but what would happen if I didn’t take care of my mind and emotions each day? Well, the answer was obvious: I would feel stressed and anxious like I was already feeling the majority of the time.
That same day I was getting ready to go out as I heard some interesting words coming from the television. It was a mindful meditation guru talking about creating spaces between our thoughts and listening to the silent voice. It was weird but it got my attention and I wanted to learn more.
I thought that I was going to need a bunch of exotic incense candles and learn how to sit in the lotus position; but that was not necessary (although candles are a nice touch!).
This small experience would go on to completely alter my way of life in a very positive way.
We all face difficult emotions and it gets hard to understand how to deal with this. What ends up happening is that we lose track of what we have right in front of us and we miss out on the beautiful things that are most important. If I have learned anything from incorporating meditation into my life it is that the present moment is highly underrated!
There are many benefits of meditation. Meditation is not about eliminating or controlling our thoughts; but it provides a place for us to go where we can step back to observe quietly and calmly in order to experience life differently – from a fresh perspective.
Here are some simple meditation techniques that have helped me develop this amazing practice:
Sit or lay down in a comfortable position
- Whatever feels right at the moment
- Use soft music or silence.
Always use the same spot
- This will become your meditation spot where you go to detach and relax.
- This area should be comfortable, quiet and free of distraction.
Let your mind settle
- Close your eyes
- Start with 5 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Don’t resist any thoughts, allow them to come and allow them to pass through. You can acknowledge them but you have the choice not to follow them and eventually you will notice that they will completely fade away until there is nothing left. This is the process of your mind cleaning out the clutter.
Observe and feel
- Observe your inner dialogue.
- Feel your body and notice the feeling in your hands, arms and chest.
- Allow yourself to sink.
- Accept the moment and let go.
- If your mind starts to drift just refocus with 5 breaths and feel of your body.
- Eventually – with practice – you should feel pure focus. Hold this focus for as long as feels appropriate (start with 2 minutes and work your way up)
- Say “thanks for this moment” either mentally in your head or verbally out loud. This is a great habit that will reinforce this personal time as a positive ritual.
- When you are done you can open your eyes and become aware of your surroundings.
- Continue sitting in the meditative spot and reflect upon some thoughts and feelings you might be having.
- A 2-minute meditation twice per day is a good way to start. This will grow into a strong natural habit and you will begin to feel
Calmer, at peace and more focused!