I’ve always been one of those ‘in the mind’ people- always reading, always thinking, always overthinking and generally believing that if I think and/or worry about something, I’ll reduce the risk of it happening and/or be incredibly prepared when it does. Did this ever really work? What do you think?!
My overactive mind is one of the things I really needed to tame when I was recovering from M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), as I knew that I’d be right back where I started if I didn’t change my worry-wart, monkey brain. I was incredibly wary about starting though. For something so simple, the amount of different styles, theories and philosophies is absolutely baffling, in a similar way to yoga. It’s easy to feel intimidated- which one should you go with and what should it really look like?
My Meditation Practice
The truth is meditation doesn’t necessarily need to look a certain way- let that go. You don’t need to sit cross-legged every morning chanting next to the ocean to reap the benefits. My meditation practice is 20 minutes in the morning and the evening, but it doesn’t always look exactly the same. Sometimes I’m quite happy to sit with my own thoughts, sometimes I’m in the mood for a little background music. Sometimes I want to sit upright, sometimes I’m ok to lounge. Do I slip sometimes? Of course, but the important thing is that I notice the effects when I don’t do it and I just get back into it again.
How to Start a Meditation Practice
Here are few tips if you’re just starting out:
- Don’t necessarily think that clearing your brain of absolutely all thoughts is what we’re supposed to strive for in meditation (and we can drop the striving for a start). We’re human, and we have a mind and thoughts. It will grumble at you while you meditate, but don’t get frustrated with yourself when it does. Just come back to your breath- the more you do, the time you’ll spend ‘in’ meditation as opposed to being ‘out’ of it.
- Drop the guilt for taking time out for yourself- don’t let this gorgeous, beautiful practice be filled with guilt and stress because you feel like you should be doing something else. Everything else after that will flow beautifully and magically (this also applies to yoga).
- If you experience any uncomfortable or unusual thoughts during meditation, write them down afterwards from a place of non-judgment and child-like curiosity. You might just have uncovered something you’d forgotten about yourself.
- Know that meditation can take many forms- walking is one of my favourite types of meditation. I just look at the clouds, the birds and think about how lucky I am. Yoga is a form of moving meditation, as is dancing and taking a shower. Even doing the dishes can be therapeutic for some people (hi Dad!) Let go of the need to make it look a certain way- you might have already started meditating and not even know it.
Whatever meditation looks and feels like for you, let go of the need to compare it with what others experience. All you have to do is take a deep breath…
Love and serenity,