Meditation is a common topic now’a’days, more so than it was 10 years ago, even 5 years ago.
Even so, I hear it all the time ” I don’t know how to meditate ” or even worse ” I can’t “.
And trust me, until a few years ago, I was that person and always thought I couldn’t.
That’s when I started to discover mindful breathing and the idea of taking the time to breath on purpose. Check out my post about the hamsters which will teach you how I breath deliberately.
( We’ll call the Hamsters post a preface to this one! )
Here’s what I figured out (so far) in my meditation practice. It’s all about breathing.
And yes, I call it a practice, as that’s what it is. You cannot really “perfect” meditation. It is a “practice” as there’s always more to learn about your inner-self, and your breath, as you constantly change.
Originally, when I started, I simply practiced taming my hamsters.
Then one day, I decided I was ready and started taking 5 minutes a day where I would sit quietly and “tame my hamsters” with my eyes closed, sitting in the meditation corner I had created at home.
Five whole minutes where I would sit, eyes closed, and just breath. I would count my breaths, focus on how my body felt. The counting itself is really peaceful and feels like it’s hypnotizing a lot of the time.
Of course, you will have other thoughts. It happens to everyone. You count your breaths, and then suddenly “oh crap, I need milk” pops into your head. It’s okay. That’s completely normal.
Don’t think you “can’t do it” because of that.
Just accept the distractions that come, and let them go away naturally, going right back to counting your breaths. Don’t be hard on yourself about the interruptions – it’s all in how to deal with them. My friend once told me to look at the interrupting thoughts like a wave, on the shore at the beach: “it comes up on the shore, you acknowledge it, and then you let it go back out into the sea”. And that made sense to me. Just acknowledge it, “Oh Hi Distraction, Bye Now”, and then simply keep breathing.
Start with 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, etc… learn to know your breath, learn to know your inner comfort. You will start to feel more calm, and more connected to yourself than you ever did.
If you don’t want to meditate with your eyes closed or sitting, try laying down, or even having a quiet walk in the woods. As long as the focus is you and your breath – being present in that moment.
And don’t forget, there are great guided meditations on Youtube that can also help. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a voice guide you through it. But the key, even with a guided practice, is the breath.
Eventually, you will crave it.
Sometimes, I can’t wait to go home and meditate, or to have a break at work and I go sit in the car for a quiet moment. I crave the feeling of being quiet and with myself.
It’s something I never thought I’d feel.
My hamsters get quiet, like a group of tiny Buddhas, with a mere whisper at times of ” don’t worry, everything is okay ” which is a much different experience than a panic attack, I’ll tell you. Much.
Had I know I could achieve THIS feeling, I would have tried this years ago. No money in the world can buy you the feeling of inner calm. Try it out, you’ll see. And remember to be patient with yourself.
And remember; beyond the fuzzy clouds, there’s always clear skies.