Meditation. The word alone used to make me think of paint drying or watching golf on t.v. But, wow, how wrong I was. I recommend it because even ten minutes of deep focus in meditation can bring you hours of peace.
I’m reeeeally new to it, but I’m already noticing the soothing stillness that can come from it when I am able to dive in. Like anything worth doing and becoming good at, it requires patience and practice. I can see why so many people use meditation as a way of centering themselves every day and cannot function properly without that time.
In the past, when I’d attempt meditating, I’d start to doze off. I would get so relaxed, I would want to lie down and nap. That’s too relaxed. But you also don’t want to be so consciously aware that you are buzzing from one thought to the next. That’s just thinking. Solid meditation happens when you’re in this state between active thinking and sliding into sleep. We Americans don’t exist in that mental plane very often. Our culture is very task-oriented. Thoughts, words and actions are a means to an end and there is no time to waste! Even our constitution tells us we should be in “pursuit of happiness.” But happiness is right here and right now. We just need to learn how to tap into it.
It is very counterintuitive for us to allow ourselves to live in a few minutes of simply existing. That’s really all basic meditation aims to do. Your focus in the beginning is your breathing, that air flowing in and out of your body that keeps you alive. So I want to share with you a quick tutorial on what works for me getting into that state of calm.
The best meditation I’ve done is in a comfortable seated position. I like cross-legged on the floor or ground outside. I sit up straight so I am rooted to the ground and imagine my spine is taking root in it like a plug in an electrical outlet. I am pulling energy from the earth around me, solid and constant.
Next I close my eyes and begin to deepen my breathing. Deep, purposeful breaths that flow completely in and out. I attach my thoughts to that air. I won’t think of anything else while I’m in this state. I focus on how grateful I am for my breath. Then I begin to send it to each area of my body.
I aim my breath at my base of my spine, thankful for my existence.
Then I move up a little and aim my breath at my low belly, sending thoughts of gratitude for emotions and feelings.
Next, I send breath to my mid-belly and set intentions of thankfulness of purpose and wisdom I’ve learned and have yet to acquire.
From there, I push my breath toward my heart-center, gratitude for my ability to heal, show kindness, and to love.
These next few breaths are from my chest toward my throat, I even let these ones escape from my lips. I am expelling any negativity from my throat and inviting good energy in. I ask God to give me words to be used for good, to strengthen my voice to empower.
The next breaths are aimed at the space between my eyes, my intuition, my imagination. I am grateful for creativity and the ability to be alive and aware.
Last, I send breath to the top of my head, my brain and here I become grateful for understanding and enlightenment, for my ability to recognize divinity in my life, that God is present with me and I exist as a spiritual being.
You might think this next thing sounds crazy, but sometimes I hum or chant as I breathe. If I hold one steady note for each breath, it helps me to focus on the breathing and keeps me just awake enough to continue and not slide into too relaxed of a state. It drowns out the thoughts I have and I can focus better. It’s actually really cool because soon you don’t even hear your own voice. It’s just a disembodied sound from somewhere far away in your consciousness. You don’t even recognize it after a minute or two. My best meditations have actually included chants. And now is a great time to try it since the kids are heading back to school soon. They won’t be around to poke their head into your room and give you weird judgy looks. Or better yet, you could even try it with them!
And it’s better than coffee in the morning! I promise, once you learn to lean into it, you will open your eyes afterward and feel refreshed and peaceful. You will head into your day with a positive mindset and it will take great effort to rattle you.
So there you go, a crash course in meditation. It’s so powerful if you can make time for it for even ten minutes a day. I’d love to hear what you think if you are able to try it or if you’ve been doing it for a while, how it has helped you.