I have had this love/hate relationship with meditating.
1. I would LOVE to be great at meditating.
2. I hate sitting still.
I know the importance of meditation. I want to be great at it. I want to sit guru style on a mountain top and tune out everything in order to center my soul with the universe all the while nature sings. I have not been this person…yet. I tried meditation podcasts with Kerri Verna (which I loved) but did not stick with beyond a few days. I have read incredible stories about people like news anchor Dan Harris, who had panic attacks and used meditation to help. After an almost all out fight, in which I lost, to meditation, I decided to give it another go. This time, I had some science (logic) that helped me align my spiritual, through the book, The Intention Experiment.
These past few days, I have spent 10 minutes in meditation. I decided to apply ALL of the years of listening to yoga instructors telling me, yes, your thoughts will wander, yes that is okay, but just come back to the present. Yesterday, with an amazing yoga class and meditation, I felt a shift. I felt like I can do this.
Here are my current ‘tricks’ that have been working for me:
- I cannot sit upright and meditate. Because my posture is something I am continually working on (growing up taller than everyone, you tend to slouch), it is not comfortable for me to sit upright for long periods of time, especially when the goal is to concentrate on a mantra/thought/prayer. I lie down. Kerri Varna actually suggested this in one of her meditation podcasts, she mentioned that for anxiety or stress, just lie down. It works! I lie on my back, with legs crossed, one hand over my heart and one on my stomach. The reason I keep my legs crossed is that it is comfortable for me and keeps me out of a too-relaxed savasana pose! I also place on hand on my heart to remind me to focus on the intention that I am making with the meditation-whatever I am attempting to align my mind with, my hand over my heart reminds me to keep it honest and positive and healing. The hand on my belly reminds me to scan my body for any ache, pain or discomfort. Just this morning, I realized in the middle of the meditation that my gut is not right. I have been on a heavy antibiotic, and I attribute this to the unsettled feeling in my gut. This scanning of the body is so important, as we tend to go so fast that we ignore the small signs that our body is trying to give us, unless we are still, focused and quiet.
- My mind wanders. Yesterday, I decided to focus on ‘health’ and ‘healing’ and let those words spread over my body during this time. It was exhilarating to literally feel that restoration. It was almost as if my cells were doing a dance and kicking out the sickness in my body (I was diagnosed with pneumonia a week and 1/2 ago). I truly sat up from this time of focused intention and felt better. I felt so much better, I attended my first yoga class in weeks! However, mid-thought, mid-practice, boom, there is my to-do list creeping in, or my work load, or a conversation I had with someone. I just remember what I have heard so many times, bring your thoughts back. Do not get discouraged, it happens to all of us in our busy-multitasking world of today. Just come back to the thought/prayer/meditation/mantra. And give yourself a break about the wandering thoughts. 🙂 I had to do just that, and it helped ease my way into this process.
- The prayer/meditation connect. The reason I wrote prayer/meditation connect, is because I believe there is one. I honestly feel that meditation is prayer and that prayer can be meditation. I am not super religious, but I do believe in the Divine. I love God. I feel that prayer and meditation are both a way of aligning your intention, desires to what is truth and divine itself. God wants us healed and happy. I do not believe God wants us to suffer. Therefore, meditation and prayer are a way to align OUR thoughts with those good things that we know to be true. I am a firm believe in this, and after reading and studying the power of the mind, I know without a doubt that we are often and continuously the thing that keeps us from achieving that next step, that freedom.
Again, I am no pro, I have not meditated for a long time nor written a book on the matter, this post is more about some tips that I have found that truly work for me in my journey towards meditation.
I will leave you with this excerpt from Dan Harris, the ABC news anchor:
“We may not be aware that this is going on, but when you’re unaware that the voice — the inner narrator that is the central feature of your life, that is your sense of self — when you’re unaware of it, it yanks you around and meditation is a great way to de-fang that… It’s allowed me to navigate an extremely competitive environment without being yanked around by my emotions. I’m also much better at focusing on what I have to do at any given moment in an age of multi-tasking. I caught myself walking down the hallway the other day with a glass of water hanging out my mouth, simultaneously typing on my blackberry, I’m not a monk, but I’m much better at being able to stay on task, and also when I’m stressed out at work I don’t let it get into my mind stream in an unconscious way and then go home and take it out on my wife.”
I would love to hear if you have any tips/help/books/articles!!