How are you all? I hope you are all feeling zen and ready to read about meditation… kidding.
Quite often I am feeling far from zen. In fact so far from zen that the word zen and meditation kind of even irritate me at times. Ironic huh? It’s just that sometimes these ideas get presented to us (or me) by someone who is a master in their field and is so good at what they do that I feel as if I could never reach those heights so why bother. As a real person their ideals sound wonderful, but unachievable. Mature of me I know, but I am being honest!
Meditation is one of those things that has always seemed out of reach. My life often feels chaotic, I am permanently behind on the laundry, my house is often messy and someone is usually wanting or needing something ten minutes ago. So how on earth am I supposed to achieve inner peace through meditation. Who has time for that?
Well the answer is that probably people exactly like me really NEED to make time for meditation. I have sort of negotiated a compromise with myself, because I still always have at least 4 more loads of laundry to wash and 3 to hang out, and who knows how many to sort… you get my drift. I haven’t fully embraced the meditation thing wholeheartedly, however, I have made a start! Baby steps though right?
So I present to you my ideas to help you achieve an abridged version of zen in your life, tips for people who don’t have time, but probably really need to make time. It is for those people who the one time they tried to meditate they spent the time thinking what on earth am I supposed to be thinking about? It really has made a positive impact in my life and maybe you are looking to make positive changes in your life.
1. The best time to give it a try, and I say this in all seriousness, is when you are feeling the most overwhelmed and out of control. When you are at that point where you have your to do list in your hand and are freaking out about where on earth to begin. Well try to take a minute (probably more like ten seconds, but it will feel like a minute the first time), close your eyes and breathe. Realise nothing has changed. Realise if you take a few seconds from the chaos in your mind and in your life, you don’t immediately tear into your to do list and don’t send yourself into a disordered manic anxious mess, nothing will change. The world is still turning you are still breathing. Sure your to do list is still 1000 items long, but you have now mentally prepared yourself to get through it better anyway as your mind is a little calmer and clearer.
2. Start with once a day and add in extra little meditation moments. I find the best times for me are when I wake up just before I get out of bed, in the morning before I start charging into my tasks and as I lay down in bed at night.
3. Once you are comfortable with your few seconds of quiet, increase the duration, little by little.
4. Try not to worry about “clearing your head” or “calming your mind” or what to think about or not think about. Just pat yourself on the back for giving yourself a mental break. Count, let thoughts race around or focus on one thought, it really doesn’t matter at this stage in the game.
5. When you are feeling more confident with your mental breaks and start to enjoy them or look forward to them then start to carve out a time, even once a week for a longer, deeper break.
6. Choose preferably somewhere you can lay down and completely relax, before bed or just after you wake up is extremely convenient for this!
7. Get really comfortable, lay down, close your eyes and relax.
8. Tense every muscle one at a time and release them. Even do this with the muscles on your face. You will probably realise you weren’t actually properly relaxed and were holding tension somewhere.
9. Once you are feeling really calm and settled focus on your breathing, keeping it slow and methodical.
10. Visualise one thing you hope to achieve in during your meditation session, or for the rest of your day. Picture that word physically, picture what it feels like, think about what it means to you etc.
11. When you are ready slowly bring yourself back into the room, slowly move your muscles and ultimately open your eyes.
12. You are now a beginning meditating maestro. If you are ready for more and ready to make time for more then go for it! Keep adding in sessions, increasing the duration and look into different ways and exercises to do.
Honestly, adding a few moments of calm into my week has helped improve all of my relationships and helped me be a better Mum. It helps you even when chaos strikes and you have to act immediately. Your actions will be more grounded and level headed and less emotionally reactive. It helps you realise most situations that we respond to with urgency are not emergencies.
What are your thoughts on meditation? Have you ever tried it? Are you already a zen warrior?