I'm going to start with a bit of my story because it is very similar to many of the people I meet. You see, I saw mediating as a New Age practice that "woo-woo" people did. It made me uncomfortable just thinking about it! Although I was curious about people found these practices so helpful, I felt they were not for me. My world had taught me two things people who do that sort of thing are judged harshly and that in my religion we pray.
My thirties were a blur with balancing work, a family and babies but as I look back at it, this is when meditation began to creep into my life. (I'll tell you about that in a bit)
Then I attended a class where I was expected to close my eyes and meditate.
Honestly, I was that person who smirked, giggled and could not keep their eyes closed. I thought this was ridiculous, but everyone else was so serious I played along!
I got better with each class I took, but my brain was a hot mess. (Again, this was not for me)
Allowing yourself to view situations with a fresh perspective brings a reality check.
You see, I always saw meditation from the eyes of other people and what worked for them. I needed to do some research to understand the purpose for myself. I Googled every combination of words and read countless books.
HERE ARE THE BASICS AS I LEARNED THEM
Meditation is not spiritual, ALTHOUGH you can make it that way.
- Catholic, Yes
- Islamic, Yes
- Jewish, Yes
- New Age, Yes
- Buddhist, Yes
- Christian, Yes
Plus countless more
To meditate means to take your attention Away From, and Focus on Another, meaning:
- You name it!
It does not need a special place. It can be done during one breath, a jog/ walk, staring into space or yes a purposeful moment of meditation in the traditional sense.
IT IS ABOUT CREATING A MOMENT IN TIME WHERE YOU DIVERT THE ALL THE CHATTER IN YOUR HEAD TO GIVE YOURSELF A MOMENT OF PEACE.
A moment of peace - Ahh exactly what I was looking for
For me, the first time I experienced this was holding my sleeping baby in my arms, inhaling and feeling the stress leave my body as I exhaled. Both my babies were cryers, and I had so much stress built up in me, this simple act of release was something I began to look forward to.
Did this fit under the traditional definition of meditating? No.
Does it fit under the actual definition of meditation? YES.
Why all the talk about mediation?
I'll leave that up to the experts! Here is Giovanni with a great article + infographic explaining 76 Scientific Benefits! of Meditating
He boils down the 3,000 scientific studies which show how meditation benefits our emotional well-being, our brains, and bodies.
Our Focus - Increases
Our Immunity - Strengthens
Our Overall Sense of Well-being - Increase
The question remains, why are so many of us resistant to it?
We would rather tolerate our hectic, stressful lives than to stop and be quiet and live in silence for just a few moments. What does that say about us?
For me, it was clear I had no idea how to take care of my mental health.
WOW, THAT WAS ENLIGHTENING!
Let me take it a step further. If I didn't know about my mental health how did I expect those around me to know what I needed?
This is where MINDFULNESS came into play.
If I couldn't figure out how to meditate or what I needed to feel comfortable in silence, then at least I could start paying attention to what I was thinking and feeling.
Something amazing began to occur, I began to shorten the amount of negative chatter in my head. This may not seem like a big deal, but listen to yourself for a day, and you'll hear it!
What did I do?
Every moment I would catch myself going on and on about something, I'd asked myself:
Why does this bother me so much? (answer A)
But why does _(A)___ bother me so much? (answer B)
And why does ___(B)___ bother me so much? (answer C)
I did this until I could get no further. And then I would decide what to do about it.
A strange way to begin mindfulness, right! But it was perfect because it met me where I was at not trying to jump to an expert.
In doing this exercise not only did I discover what was "really" going on, but I also became mindful of my thoughts and feelings and why I acted the way I did!
I learned why I was getting ticked off, why I was hurt when XYZ happened. I discovered what boundaries needed to be shared.
Gradually this process becomes second nature.
Mindfulness simply means to Pay Attention.
When our minds and brains are working at lightning speed, this is not possible to hit the emergency break. Makes complete sense why we have so much trouble even attempting to meditate, right!
Here are suggestions to start the process:
- Begin with the mindful exercise I described above. As you go about your life pay attention to your thoughts and feelings and actions
- Begin meditating by focusing on one thing. (Below is link with resources)
- When you hear chatter in your head, let it go until you are done OR write the thought down, so you don't have to try to remember it.
- Set the alarm on your phone, so it's one last thing to keep track of.
These are just some suggestions. Today, I challenge you to find your meditation path. You can start small as I did, but start! With even a few moments of clarity, you will find a clear head can give you fresh perspective.
Send me a note, I'd love to hear about them: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, Focused Direction starts when you stop to Breathe. Think. and Create. the world you want to live in!