I had a strong reaction when my first yoga teacher told me I should meditate, and it went something like this: “No thank you.”
I chuckle at my resistance to meditation now, because I have a steady practice that’s literally changed my life for the better.
Back then, I struggled with sitting even for short periods of time. I tried meditation apps and meditation challenges with friends, complete with (short-lived) commitments to text each other every day after we’d each meditated. I tried using a time, even pretending by telling myself I was meditating when really I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep.
Nothing worked back then, but that’s all changed—and I’m about to fill you in on how.
“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak” say spiritual teachers who suggest that through peace, we find true answers. Sounds amazing but how can I achieve that, you wonder?
Meditation is defined as a practice of focusing the mind on a particular object or activity to achieve a calm state of mind. There are many techniques to achieve a meditative state, and the beauty of meditation is anyone can do it, anywhere.
Below are several easy techniques that I practice daily.
1. Choose an object that is soothing and doesn’t move too much, like a candle, crystal, or a plant. If you like the nature, you may choose to focus on a stream, waterfall, or a tree. Either option is very relaxing. A calming essence is found in watching nature’s organic movement and a comfortable seat helps to stay for as long as you want.
2. Silently repeat a word, or phrase such as peace or love; an example of a phrase could be “I am enough.” You can also dedicate the phrase to someone else by reciting, “I wish so-and-so the healing they need.” It really doesn’t matter what word or phrase you use, but I do recommend choosing one that resonates with you at the time of your meditation.
To practice this technique, find a comfortable place to sit and repeat your chosen word or phrase with your breath’s natural rhythm of inhalations and exhalations. Keep the momentums going for as long as you would like by silently repeating the mantra.
3. Doing something while meditating may sound counterintuitive, but try using mala beads to pray, to count breaths, or thoughts of gratitude.
If you would like to practice using a mala, find a comfortable seated position and put the mala in one hand then place your thumb on top of one bead. Inhale and exhale fully moving your thumb to the next bead closest to your heart. Continue doing this repetition as your fingers and breathe glide along with the mala.
How long should I meditate? I often ask myself and the response is always: please remove the word “should” from life!
One minute of meditation is a good start. There really is no right or wrong way to meditate, but there are guidelines. So, if you choose one minute, 10 minutes, or 100 minutes, meditation it is always going to benefit your day. I just recommend you take the time to get quiet.
Statements like “I don’t have time to meditate” are often made by the ones who need it the most.