It’s no secret the world is a crazy place. Our lives a whirlwind. Our minds racing to keep up.
Suddenly you find yourself lying awake at night, unable to stop the to-do list racing through your mind. At your desk, unable to focus on the task at hand, do to the onslaught of messages your feeble mind is throwing at you. Or nothing at all. You are filled with anxiety, your head is spinning but nothing sticks long enough to make any sense. Your brain hurts. You can’t seem to find your breath. You want nothing more than to crawl under the warm soft covers and shut out the world.
But you know it won’t help. In fact, it will only produce even more problems, more reason for anxiety, more troubles to bombard your mind. So you continue as you are. Troubled. Frustrated. A puppet in someone else’s world, controlled not by your own will. And then some bubbly trainer says “just meditate”. And you want to take that dumbbell and bash her over her little blonde head! Meditate. How in the bloody hell is that supposed to make my life easier? My to-do list shorter? Meditate.
But wait. Hear me out.
Our brains run at 100 miles per hour all day long. Day after day. You can’t drive your car day after day after day without having to stop to let it cool down, fuel up. You need to allow your brain to cool down and recharge too.
I touched on this a bit in Good Morning – Finding focus, stillness, and the effects it has on your life. When we quiet our minds we allow for increased concentration, we become present in the moment and become more relaxed. The ability to control your thoughts is the ability to change your life.
By taking time out to simply quiet your mind you are able to see more clearly, think more rationally and handle your troubles more thoroughly. You can change the way you respond. You can find true happiness.
What is happiness?
A state of mind, is it not? Therefore, when we control our mind we control our happiness.
Imagine being able to stop the noise, take back your unruly mind.
So how do you meditate?
I hear it over and over. But how? I try, but can never get beyond a moment or two. I get bored. My thoughts race even more than before. I get more anxious. I can’t stop the noise.
That’s ok! Really. Let the thoughts come into your mind and then consciously agree to address them later, believe that the answer, the solution will present itself. Then move on. Focus only on your breathing.
Ok, let’s start from the beginning.
Find a quiet spot where you will not be interrupted. Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Many try this in the cross-legged position and it works wonderfully, but let’s start here. Place your hands in your lap. Don’t worry about which finger touches which or just where they should be facing. Just sit. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose. Exhale through your mouth, leaving it just slightly open so there is no movement between breaths. If you have trouble breathing through your nose this position should work just fine. Now just breath. In. Out. Long, deep, slow breathes. When thoughts enter, respect, address and refocus on your breath. Slowly become aware of your body and relax each area.
That’s it. There is no alternate state you are looking for. Not right away anyway. Just a quiet mind. A quiet body. Many get this impression proper meditation requires some spiritual awakening, deeply altered state of mind. No wonder they have such a hard time. Yes, over time you will get better and perhaps you will find yourself somewhere very different from where you are now, but that takes practice.
But how does it work?
Meditation works by simply allowing yourself a moment’s peace! Allowing yourself to cool down.
Picture yourself in a fight with someone you love. You know you love this person, yet you keep fighting. The more they say the more you fight. The harder they yell, the louder you yell back. The angrier they get, the angrier you get. It just goes round and round. But when you consciously stop, walk away and have time to cool down you are able to come back and be rational. You are able to see things differently. In your daily life, YOU are the other person. The problems, the intrusions, the troubles, they are not the real issue. You are. How you respond to a situation dictates everything. You control your feelings. You may not be able to control the things that happen in life, but you absolutely can control how you let them effect you.
Try just 5 minutes of meditation daily and work your way up to 20. There are many guided meditations that can help make things easier as a beginner and take your practice deeper as you become more advanced, as well as very soothing music that can help you relax. Here are a couple –
Later we will delve further into deeper practice and discuss different types of meditation. And please keep in mind, this not of a particular religious teaching. Nearly all forms of religion have meditation practices of their own, however you need not be of any particular belief to meditate, nor should you be betraying your particular belief by doing so.
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