09 Nov Meditate Everyday
With the craziness of the elections and the post-election fatigue, I wanted to share with you something that is near and dear to my heart: meditation. Meditation has helped me significantly throughout my life; I am in constant awe of what sitting quietly can do for my mind and body.
The New York Times recently published an article on meditation exercises. I find this a great place to start if you’re looking for new ways to find peace and relaxation in your life. To start, make time each and every day for meditation. It doesn’t have to be hours on end, you really only need a few minutes a day to meditate. Who doesn’t have a few minutes a day for peace and quiet?
When you sit down for your daily quiet time, focus on the ‘now’. This is commonly referred to as ‘Mindfulness Meditation’. Allowing yourself to focus on the now is really a beautiful thing: appreciating your presence in real-time, allowing thoughts (especially sad, angry, anxious thoughts) to pass by through a consistent re-focus on the present moment.
When your mind wants to wander, remind yourself that it’s OK. It’s how we react to our mind’s constant activity that makes all the difference. Practice letting go of what’s in your mind, in each moment. A meditation mentor of mine once described letting go of thoughts through a cloud analogy: imagine each thought, good or bad, passing by your face in the form of clouds, always moving, never stagnant. Some people find this imagery helpful when learning how to detach themselves from a very busy mind.
You can always start your meditation journey with 1-minute intervals, then increase the session duration week by week. Many people find the ‘body scan’ meditation technique to be very useful. By bringing attention to each body part, starting from either end of the body, you can focus your attention and calm your mind instantly. For example, in a comfortable position laying on the floor, concentrate on your toes, ask yourself what sensations you feel in your toes, stay there for ten seconds. Move to your ankles, your calves, your knees, and so on and so forth. Stay with the movement of shifting attention. Don’t think about the activity of shifting your attention, but rather the attention of each body part with complete focus.
Choosing a time each day to meditate might help you keep up the habit. If you’re like me, I like having a dedicated place to mediate each day. It became easier for me having a place I knew I could come to for quiet time and self-realization. If you prefer a more ‘active’ form of meditation, you might want to look into ‘walking mediation’ and ‘mindful eating’. As with anything in life, starting something is easy, continuing something is the challenge.