“A pint size glass will never hold a gallon of water.“
—- Cory Muscara
Beginning a meditation process can seem overwhelming for someone who has never even tried. First of all, there’s 1000 different definitions for meditation, each one unique to the person defining it.
I would ask you, what’s your definition?
Running a meditation group this week, someone told me that she could not meditate because there was no way that she would ever be able to get all of her thoughts to stop. We stopped right there and had a discussion about how it makes complete sense that her practice would seem impossible and overwhelming since we can’t simply stop our brain from thinking. Try it. Is it working? No, right? We just don’t work that way.
If someone believes, however, that they need to stop all of their thoughts in order to be “truly meditating“ than if they experience a thought, it is easy for someone to label themselves a failure at meditating. This is just what happened with my student this week.
So, what is meditating?? Well, for me, it has meant different things at different times. Sometimes it is when I am allowing myself to focus, giving attention to one thing and one task. Other times it’s when I allow myself to sit in quiet contemplation and deliberation. And yet at other times it is when I sit and concentrate on my breath and try to find a place of relaxation within my body.
Do I always achieve well I want to? Nah! There are times I find myself shifting in my seat after only 30 seconds thinking to myself, “How long do I have to sit here?“ There are other times that 30 minutes will fly by.
Our brains are on overload today in Waze but they never were in the past. We have computers, media, access to all types of technology, social media, global news, and the like. All of these things increase our knowledge but also increase brain activity, stress levels and anxiety levels. It has become ever more important to make a conscious effort to slow ourselves down when we can.
Give it a try…
I can hear you.
How. Do. I. Slow. Down???
1. Turn the phone off! Try it for an hour. And afternoon. A day. A whole weekend. Whatever you think you can realistically manage. Just give it a go. A technological detox will allow you to detach from all of the information coming in not only from phone calls, but from social media, the news, and everything else.
2. Say no more often. My daughter and I were just talking about how often we say yes and we really mean it now. People may ask for favors, may ask for your time, and instantaneously, we may say “sure, of course I can…“ Make sure that you respect your time. Allow there to be downtime in your schedule and remember that this is not a luxury but a need.
3. Find some time to breathe. Ok, now you may be thinking….umm….I always breathe. Yes. I know you breathe. But I mean pay attention. Take some time two focus on your breathing. Really focus on the rise and fall of your chest, The sound of the air as it enters and leaves your body. Notice how the temperature of the air is different when it enters your body and when it leaves the body. This mindful breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system and signal the body to begin to rest.
4. Try a guided meditation. For some, doing a meditation in silence seems overwhelming. There are many guided meditations on line that you can search for that can guide you through simple breathing or progressive muscle relaxation or deeper ponderings.
5. Try a restorative yoga class by zoom or in person. Restorative yoga is a great way to help the body recharge and heal. It also has an amazing way of bringing your attention to where you are holding tension in the body and helping you to release it. It is yoga magic.
Please let me know how you gifted yourself some time this week. Maybe you can take someone with you as you give it a try!