The idea of meditation feels esoteric, something that those weird hippie yoga people do. It also sounds hard and time consuming. How can I stop my mind from thinking? I don’t have time for that. I can’t do it. Nowadays, with as much stimuli and the amount of information we are exposed to, it makes it even harder to slow down our minds. It feels impossible. I’m here to help ease the anxiety and fear behind the resistance to try something like mediation. Mediation does not have to be that guy sitting on top of a mountain, shirtless, with his legs crossed impossibly in a full lotus. Meditation does not even have to happen in any special place, position or timeframe. It can happen in any moment, wherever you are, with no time requirements.
Mediation is a simple act where we practice shifting from our stream of thought back to our body and breath. Our minds are continuously working, all of us experience this. Even the greatest meditators who are sitting in the mountains for years have moments of stream of consciousness. It is a completely normal human experience. The goal is to build the muscle memory to gently shift back to your breath and body with ease. When we shift our focus to our body, it brings us out of our heads and into the present moment.
When we are in a stream of consciousness, we are either thinking of the past or the future. Figuring out what we are going to say, what we should have done differently, what we are going to do the next day…it goes on and on. The continuous stream of thought can build anxiety and stress, caused by building anticipation of the future. It also is a source of depression. Living in the past, regretting, replaying moments and feeling sorry for ourselves. When we shift our focus from our thoughts to our body, it takes us back to the present moment, relieving the anxiety and depression that we all suffer from.
Meditation for Beginners:
- Take a moment. Wherever you are, take a moment. Stop what you are doing, if you are waiting in line, working, watching tv…whatever you are doing, take a moment. It can be just one minute or even one moment, but make the time. It is great to be in a meditative sitting position, if it is available. Sitting with your legs crossed nice and tall with your hands resting on your thighs. This helps to calm the mind, but is not necessary. It is just as important to practice meditation in any moment wherever and whatever you might be doing.
- Be still. Stop what you are doing. Close your eyes.
- Focus on your breath. Gently shift your focus towards your breath. Thoughts will filter in, this is normal. Gently shift back towards your breath. Sometimes you will want to resist letting go of a thought, this is a practice and happens all the time. If it is something of importance, write it down, come back to your breath. Eventually you will let go of it.
- Refrain from judgement. It might feel frustrating at times, noticing the amount of times we drift back into our minds. It happens quite often, possibly back and forth every moment. Don’t feel bad, this is normal. Continue to practice gentle shifts back to your breath.
- Practice. Keep practicing. We have all meditated in our lives. Even if you are unaware of it, a simple extended inhale and sigh of relief is a form of meditation. We naturally do it when we are feeling stressed. What most of us don’t do is make time for it. We only think we need it when we are at our breaking point and forget that it is available for us to use at any moment. We all hear people say, “live in the moment,” but how many of us actually do? We can relieve so much unnecessary anxiety and depression by practicing meditation, ultimately living more happily in the present moment. The more you practice, the more naturally and consistently you will actually live in the present moment.