Im still new to this, but I want to share with you what I’ve learnt. By doing this post I am also much more likely to put into practice what I have learnt.
Meditation (my understanding anyway) is about training yourself- using different techniques that focus on posture, breathing and the senses- in order to develop relaxation and to train the mind to focus. It has been used and helped many with stress, depression, anxiety and other emotional issues.
In today’s society, we are overworked, over scheduled and overwhelmed. We need to have those blank page moments. Everyday. What I mean by that is to have that time where you haven’t planned to do anything. And when you get to that point in your day, choose how to spend it. That might include meditating but it could also be jumping around to some music, heck why don’t you write a list of all the things that you love, so that they are on the forefront of your mind. Then when those blank page opportunities arise, you’ll know exactly what to do with them! How long are you going to allow yourself? What’s your reward? You go to work right!? You deserve some down time. So after work, sleep and feeding the kids (necessary) – **housework optional** then how are you spending your time? How much time is left? That’s your life! Are you happy with that!? Is it good enough? Do you spend that time wisely? Or are you too tired to enjoy it? Do you need some more of that time in your life? What changes are you going to make to get it? (Sorry, off on a tangent then)
Technology. Ditch it.
A definite distraction on the mind. Unless it’s some music you find useful, or maybe an app that is helping you to meditate, then I’d lock it away and give yourself that focus time. Your attention is valuable.
R. Gunatillake explains that over 90% of the information that exists on the planet right now was created in the last two years. You should read his book by the way! ‘This is Happening’.
Concentrate. Be aware of distractions.
Distraction is the minds way of saying ‘I don’t want to’ and so it will look for something else to do instead. The question is, why are you distracted (why don’t you want to do it?). Is it something you have no interest in? Does the word ‘fear’ crop up? Sometimes, if we are fearful, of the process or the outcome, self doubt creeps in. We focus on the negative outcomes then tell ourselves it’s not worth it, and think of all the things we can be doing instead (more enjoyable).
You might be better off avoiding those feelings of discomfort if they are going to cause you too much stress, but decide. Some of your fears must be conquered in order for you to make the progress you want, and subsequently some of the changes you might need. If there is genuine INTEREST in the subject, you will find a way to understand distractions as they begin to creep in, and you can put a plan into action.
* Play a game. Think of a word. Recognise when you are distracted and say the chosen word to yourself. This way you will quickly learn when and where you become distracted most easily. You can then begin to think about why.
Time. Find some. Make some.
Once the skills have been practiced, you will realise that meditating is something that can be done everywhere, not just when sitting (in a more formal sort of practice). You could start by giving yourself 5 or 10 minutes to practice. As you develop the skills, you can do this when you are getting on with ‘everyday life’ in a more ‘mobile’ sort of practice. Practice helps us to practice, so when the times come where we NEED meditation, we have the skills we need.
When starting out, pay attention to your breathing. If you get distracted, which I can almost guarantee you will as the mind likes to wonder, then just bring your mind back and concentrate on your breathing. Take some deep breathes, long and deep. Do it now. Practice. Count 1 as you inhale. Count 2 as you exhale. See how high you can count before distractions ‘happen’.
Allow yourself to recognise how you feel. WHAT can you feel? How does your skin feel? It is hot, cold? Can you feel aches and pains? Is there any stress or tension in your muscles? Does your body feel tight or heavy? Is there a part of your body that hurts? Can you relax that part of your body?
Relax. Body and mind.
Are you relaxed? If our body is relaxed, we are less likely to feel stressed. Think about this concept next time you feel stressed. Pay attention to the body. Is your jaw clenched? Are your shoulders raised? Palms sweaty? Neck sore? Relax your jaw. Relax the eyes, relax the lips. The body and mind are linked in more ways than one. If you can focus on relaxing the body, you can achieve a sense of relief. Enjoy a nice bubble bath, indulge. Look outside. Take the picture in as a whole. Don’t focus on just one thing.
Stress. Understand that it’s necessary, but learn how to deal with it.
I read a book years back that suggested if you didn’t have any stress at all, your probably wouldn’t get a great deal done. Some stress is important and stress keeps us alert and out of danger. If you are totally overwhelmed with stress then I’d suggest you make some lifestyle changes. Believe me, I’ve been there. If you can learn to deal with stress and learn to relax (and maybe this is by being able to meditate) then wouldn’t you agree you are going to be happier and perhaps more successful? Really focus on how you feel when you are stressed. That way you will recognise the signals when they first appear, and you will feel much more equip to deal with them. Take deep breathes, clear your mind and let the calm wash over you.
Rest. Take breaks.
Not just for meditation. But in life. And this can be so difficult with a huge ‘to do’ list. Rest your mind. This is important. Just relax and be aware of your body. Things will get done.
Build. From the inside out.
Are you happy with what you have? Do you have a really good job? A nice car? Designer clothes? If you have, and your happy on the inside too, then that’s great! I’m really happy for you ? but if you aren’t happy on the inside, then you need to build on that, learn some self love. Equally, this might be the same if you don’t have those things you desire, and equally this could be making you unhappy. Again, be kind to yourself, appreciate what you have and maybe learn to live without a ‘status’. If your not happy with what you have, then will getting MORE stuff really make you happy? Having more can sometimes make you more stressed as well. Don’t forget, you need to maintain what you have. More expense! And while less stuff might not necessarily make you less stressed, if you can learn to go without or maybe declutter, I definitely think it could help to clear your mind. My, I feel so philosophical right now. I’m in my ‘flow’ as well but my phone battery is about to go. That’s right. Technology. I’m using it as a time saver.
** just got back. Still a little phone battery left. Just had a break- because that’s what I felt like doing. Went to dip my feet in the pool and sit on the side…
Practicing meditation. Such a feeling of satisfaction. Being on holiday and having the sunshine certainly helps, sure! I’m not denying that. But wow, what a feeling. Sitting on the pool side, feeling totally at one. If I became any more relaxed, I’d simply fall in!
Thoughts. Be aware of them.
Ask yourself what is happening and how you are responding to it. Do you know why you are responding that way? Are you thinking too much into things? Don’t let negative thoughts race through your mind. Recognise them as ‘thoughts’, acknowledge them, and get on with your day. Thoughts are thoughts and facts are facts. You could even ‘name’ your thoughts if it helps you to recognise them.
Positive. Think it- especially first thing in the morning.
We have a choice to be positive. That’s worth remembering. Do it when you get up first thing in the morning, instead of reaching for your phone, spend the next few minutes doing some positive affirmations. Your day will be awesome. What people will you cross paths with? Who will you help? What will you do today? What will you do to make the kids smile today? Make sure that you do 3 things that you love, big or small. Whatever happens in your day, don’t take things personally. Be kind to yourself. Don’t loose sleep over things you can’t change. If you have no control over a situation, don’t get angry. Don’t let it get you down. Because what you DO have control over is how you handle situations. Remember, it will pass. Tell yourself ‘this will pass’. I’m not a master of this, by any account. But I’m now mindful of it.
We face challenges when we address all the negative thinking that happens. Ditch the negative self talk! Don’t let it dictate your life! Make a game. Yeah, make a game! Attach an elastic band or a bobble to your wrist. When you recognise that you are thinking, pull back the band and let it snap. Sure, I’ll probably hurt. Heck- it might even leave a mark. But you will soon (and I hope this to be the case) get out of the habits of negative thinking. You’ll certainly recognise patterns in your thinking, and be able to address them (again, hopefully) with a more positive mind set. Again, remember! Thoughts are thoughts and facts are facts.
Posture. Be aware of it.
By standing or sitting upright (with your shoulders back and chest open) you become more alert, and a more confident version of you, even if your not. This might feel strange at first if you tend to slouch a lot. A little game I like to play is, every time I walk through a door frame, recognise my posture. Amend accordingly. Can you tell I like games?
Present. Be present- be in the moment.
Enjoy. Do what you love. Love being present. When your out and about, pay particular attention to your surroundings, almost as though you have never seen any of it before (and perhaps you haven’t). Notice the buildings, recognise the people.
I doubt the moments you have felt most alive have had anything to do with technology. So when your with friends, put your phone away. When your at work, be present in what you are doing. When your doing homework with the kids, give them your undivided attention, as much as possible. Learn to love what you do. Being present is a real skill. Practice this skill. Rate yourself out of 5 the next time your in conversation with a colleague, talking to the shop assistant, on the phone to a friend, ordering you meal from the waiter or waitress. Allow mind and body to come together in the ‘here and now’. Notice how your relationships improve.
Eat. Enjoy your food.
Eating should be a pleasurable experience. Pay more attention to your food. Allow yourself time, eat more slowly and digest your food properly. Try not to rush or multitask during meal times.
What helps you to meditate?
Would love to hear from you ?