I can’t do that.
I can’t sit for that long.
It just doesn’t work for me.
That’s just for hippies.
I don’t have time.
I’m too busy.
These are just a few of the hundreds of responses I am told when I ask if someone has a mediation practice. How does one get past the preconceptions that to meditate we have to sit quietly in a lotus pose and focus and do nothing for long periods of time? How does one shift their thinking into a “knowing” that one CAN meditate and de-stress ...at will?
Remember, you are the most powerful manifestor in the world. You can do anything you want to do. One of the many gifts you’ve been given as you came into this world as a human being is the gift of “choice”. You have the ability to choose anything you do in this lifetime. Sometimes those choices are very hard and feel like someone else is choosing for you, and sometimes they are so simple and effortless. YOU get to choose. Sometimes the outcomes don’t meet our expectations of what you had hoped the choice might lead to, but they truly are leading you in the direction you are ultimately meant to go.
So too is the ability to choose to meditate, to slow down, to take in a moment just for the moment, to be in the pause. You can also choose NOT to meditate and NOT to slow down and NOT to take in the moment. But what if, just for a second, you pondered the WHAT IF you chose to take a moment out of each day to practice that moment of pause and notice what it might be able to do for you. ?
This is something that only you can choose, now one else can. Even if someone tied you up and blindfolded you and forced your to empty your mind, to meditate and focus... you still have choice not to. When you choose to do something you initiate the manifesting process, even when you choose you can’t do something, you are manifesting that too. ...powerfully!
So here you go, now that you know you have the power to choose. If you have chosen to practice, begin simply, begin with an open heart and open mind and a willingness that you might experience nothing, or you might experience a something completely different. Key words: simply - willingness - open heart - open mind.
Location/time: To train the mind, it’s easier to start with what you know. Find a location (just out of bed in the morning - set your alarm a few minutes earlier, a park bench, an art gallery, church or temple, coffee shop, or even subway) that you can sit comfortably. It only has to be for 5 minutes to start. No more and no less, but gift yourself that 5 minutes to be yours and your time to practice.
Lessen distractions: Turn off phone, television, computer monitor, radio, etc. Let this time be as electronically-distraction free as possible. Let this time simply be about you and only you. If you are in a space with other’s and their devices, let them have their own time with whatever distraction they are focusing on be theirs.
Soften: Close your eyes (if you’re driving, pull over in a safe location), or focus your eyes on one in front of you. Un-clench your jaw, offer a little space between your teeth. Find a balance of your head on your neck and let your shoulders relax down and away from your shoulders. Rest your hands on your lap or knees, palms up or down. Seated in a chair, on a couch or leaning up against a tree... no need for the lotus position.
Go inward: Knowing that there is lots going on around you in the outside world, let it all happen. Begin bringing your awareness to notice your breath, the rhythm of your inhale (...slowly...) and your exhale (...slow and long...), repeat, repeat, repeat. Let your breath begin to guide you into a single-minded focus of thought of only your breath. If / when you think of something else, come back to your rhythm of breath. It is constant and, while you’re living... is always there to be your guide.
Notice: By the time you do all of these things and maybe 21 breaths, your moment of pause is complete. Notice how you feel? Notice what your body is sensing (physically, sounds, sights) Notice how you sense the world around you. Choose to notice if you can see and sense without judgement or criticism of your experience or whether you succeeded or failed in relaxing. Be in the noticing and observing.
Repeat: Same time and same place the next day. Setting a schedule or special carving out of a sacred time for your practice starts to let it settle into your body and psyche. That when you sit here, do this-this-this and this... you’ll start to form your practice. Then, after a time, take it to different locations or times, ... and notice what you notice in those places and moments. And you don’t have to do it just once a day, but start there. Set your practice, solidify it in your body and then start to change it up and expand it.
Meditation isn’t about achieving nirvana, enlightenment or getting your “high” on (although these might be sensations you might feel), it is about BEING in the moment to experience that moment of life, fully present to the “what is”. To be more in the welcoming and surprise of your manifesting rather than the anticipation and expectation.
Would you rather be invited to the party, or forced to attend? Meditation and mindfulness is an act of invitation, even when life feels hard, or stress and lack of time feel overwhelming... offer yourself the invitation. Be still, soften and let - for a few minutes - the outside world take care of itself while you take care of yourself.
... rinse and repeat.