Meditation is a practice. It is a practice of mindfulness. It is a practice of connecting to Self.
You want to relieve stress? Meditate
You want to calm your mind and the mental chatter? Meditate
You want to reduce fear, anxiety, and other negative emotions? Meditate
Like anything else, meditation takes practice. Hence, it being called a practice.
Many people feel like, “How helpful can this really be, I am just sitting here.” Still others think, “I don’t have time to waste just sitting still for 5 minutes.” I hear these concerns time and time again. And I was very much one of those people. I could not sit still to save my life. I had so many thoughts swirling through my head and I believed that I always had to be acting on them.
Then the light bulb: The stage for meditation was set. I knew the benefits of meditation. I heard the transformational stories. But, then I read a book by a pastor in Pasadena, CA, and he spoke of the importance of Stillness. He spoke of how he practiced it every day and the benefits. My wheels were spinning. I had to figure out this Stillness thing. And just as the Universe does so eloquently, I was directed to a 21 day guided meditation challenge. I took the challenge and I found that I absolutely loved bouncing out of bed each morning to listen to my new guided meditation. I found that my mind started to calm, that my days had more space where there was previously no time to spare, that my stress was diminished, that I was opening up and loving more. My world was changing; or how I saw the world changed.
So, how can you fit meditation into your life easily and effortlessly?
- Take some time first thing in the morning. Before your day really gets started, roll out of bed, sit somewhere quiet, and focus on your breath. Remember this is a practice. Start small (ie: 5 mins) and grow your practice as you grow. Keep in mind that we always suck at something new until we don’t. So, just keep practicing. The mental chatter is normal and to have it is expected. When you notice your mind wandering, bring it back to the breath. And when this happens, know that you have not failed, but rather you just did the practice of meditation itself. You go, girl!
- A short break at work. Something I do very often when my morning is jam packed, I’m running late or I just want to layer more meditation time on my day is a 5-10 minute breathing meditation. During lunch or when I have a moment of overwhelm with my workload, I will step outside, sit somewhere quiet, close my eyes, and observe my breath. I look inward, relax and feel the life of the breath entering into my body. I sometimes do this with my eyes open and often looking at any tree or plant. Observing that slight movement of life while I take in the same life force that touches these living plants.
- 1-2 minutes: Breathing through the work. Between work assignments, you can find me taking a minute to center myself by closing my eyes at my desk and feeling my body as it is in this present moment. I acknowledge any feelings I may have – good or bad – and become present with myself without judgment.
- Transition from work to play. For a long time I meditated when I came home from a long day at work (check this out). When I meditate during this time I find that my evenings become open, calmer and quite peaceful. The hustle and bustle of working in our fast paced technology driven world can wreak havoc on us (sometimes without us even being aware).
- Walking Meditation. I like to do a short walking meditation on my way to lunch. This is a great way to become present to now. As you walk, you consciously place your feet and bring your full mindful awareness to your current experience. This is meditation in action.
- Before your head hits the pillow. Some like to wind down their day by doing an evening meditation. When I do this, I like to run a hot bath for myself, maybe light some scented candles (this time of year they are fragranced with cinnamon or vanilla). I then submerge myself, take 5-10 minutes to close my eyes and decompress from the day. I focus on my breath, turn inward and notice my present body. I notice the moment that my body touches the water and the water touches my body. I notice the moment that the scents touch my nose and my nose touches the scents. I notice the connections.
Take Away: Meditation can be done anywhere, at any time and in many ways. So, choose a place to begin and make it your own.
How to start: Here are some tools and resources you can start with:
- Insight LA – Meditation Timer App + some guided meditations (Free)
- The Chopra Center – Great 21 day Guided Meditation CDs and Downloads
Note: I am currently running a giveaway on my site that includes winning a free 21 day guided meditation CD by Deepak Chopra (Value: $50) – among other things. So, come on over (www.brandymiddleton.com) and enter to win.