Another week brings a chance for us to interact. I hope you’ve been well and got some time to go through our previous posts. Today I’ll be guiding you as you create a personalized meditation habit. I mentioned before that there’s no way to completely shut out your mind; have no thoughts running through your mind. Though I’ve been watching some comedy videos and turns out men can do this 😀 .. I’ll do some consultation and maybe, I’ll share the hack. The point of meditation though, is to slow down the thoughts and get a chance to basically analyze them to know what’s going on in there.
Meditation is a very robust practice and there are many types for meditation. Mindfulness is one of the biggest ones where you focus on being intensely aware of what is going on around and within you. There are more progressive types of meditation where the focus is on improving one self. Use of mantras or focusing on a particular element such as rest or discipline. Sometimes the focus could be on spiritual nourishment which would be similar to prayer. Contrary to common belief, meditation does not have to from a stationary point. Movement meditation just means you are present as you carry out different activities in your day; could be walking, gardening, yoga… Loving and kindness can also be amplified by meditation, this type of meditation can be used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness and acceptance towards ourselves and others.
Now bringing it down to creating your own meditation habit. I’d like to start by saying the types of meditation I have mentioned are extremely fluid; you don’t have to pick one and stick with it, borrowing from each idea will help you come up with a beautiful hybrid that serves you just right. And just like everything else, this is a continuous process, so you’ll definitely be improving it as you go by. So for meditation to be success, you have to set your ambiance right. This includes looking for a quite place with as few distractions as possible. Because you are already trying to silence a rowdy place, it is important to ensure there’s nothing else to add to the mess. You basically pick a happy place which shouldn’t be anything that brings up negative energy in you. It could be a garden or maybe a forest, a nature trail or a certain room you like to relax in. Doesn’t really matter where it is, you know you best and I’m sure there’s a place that has come to mind. One of my happy places is my room, I really enjoy being here. I love nature walks too. And sometimes it’s the silence of a dark curfew night or the sound of the morning and glimpses of a new day.
Silence is usually preferred for meditation though for some of us, silence is really loud and trying to focus in silence is impossible. In that case, a sound track for your thoughts would be really nice. For songs, instrumentals are preferred because if you are anything like me, you’d be lost in the lyrics trying to apply them in your own circumstances. There are a wide variety of soothing and calming instrumentals on YouTube. They are also really helpful with timing your meditation because doing it for too long could get you drifting. Podcasts are also a beautiful sound tracks to your thought especially when practicing progressive meditation. Find podcasts that are encouraging in whatever area you are working on. The whole point of this is for you to feel comfortable enough to allow your thoughts to flow.
Up next I’ll talk about your meditation position. When I think of meditation, the first image that comes to mind is of someone with crossed legs and hands laid out, with a palm forming an O. This is the most common meditation position but I feel like in a way it makes meditation feel like it’s made for fit people or just a specific kind of people. As you select your position, you need to make sure it’s comfortable and relaxing. You also need to be alert in this position so slouching positions are highly discouraged. Sitting in an upright position usually keeps you alert, you could always stretch out your legs or fold them as you like. You could also lie down but be very careful with this because a calm mind can very easily fall asleep. For movement meditation, it is preferred that the activity is not too intensive, that’s why yoga is preferred to a workout for meditation. Walking or jogging rather than running and simple pruning rather than ploughing.
Another part of meditation is how you slow down your mind and bring it to a calm state. I usually do this by breathing and counting. Another reason being upright is important is because you get to comfortably take deep breathes and calm down. Deep breathes have been known to reduce heartbeat, lower blood pressure and stress levels. This is the state that you would like your body to be in as you start your meditation session. I have done this many times and I know its true. The counting helps you center your thoughts and focus on one at a time. This may not come easily the first few times but you’ll definitely get a hang of it with time. I would also advice, for any form of meditation where you are stationary, that you close your eyes, helps with avoiding distractions especially if you are in an open space. It’s just naturally hard to let yourself go how meditation requires you to. Sometimes it feels scary to be left alone with your thoughts. It gets fun though!
Last but definitely not the least, I’d like to talk about the thoughts. I like to think of meditation as someone going to see a shrink. Yeah I know it’s funny and I hope this doesn’t change your perspective on the whole practice. I’ll explain the similarities I see. With meditation, as you sit there in silence, picking out your thoughts one at a time, you have a little thought that you expound on and the further you go, you may find it’s source and effect it has on you. Just like you’d carry an object to the shrink and they would see things they would then draw a conclusion of your future from. So for the thoughts in your mind during meditation, think them through, try and find their origin and effect on your life. A personal example is how for a long time, I didn’t like being tall. I just always felt like God dealt me the wrong cards on this one. I was just getting through puberty and as if that wasn’t bad enough, I was taller than almost everyone I knew. I came to find out, this is embarrassing but I’ll say it anyway, I only hated being tall because almost of the cute guys I knew weren’t tall. From all the Disney movies I’d watched, I needed someone I could look up to. This really affected my self esteem and other little choices I made. Thank God I figured it out though, coz I actually really like being tall. 😉
Meditation is such an interesting practice. I really love it. I have really personalized my habit and I have gained a lot from this. I love getting glimpses of my mind when its not just a hot mess drifting in the wind. Meditation gives me this and much more. If you haven’t found a reason to meditate and haven’t read the Why Meditate? post, I have so many reasons brought up there. I’m so glad to share more about meditation because I believe it’s an excellent practice that shines a light reminding us who we are and allowing us to see through the clutter of our daily lives and emotions. Our minds are very beautiful spaces and it’s a shame that it’s easier to choose escape rather than resolve.
I hope you find this helpful and you know I’m down to hear all about your meditation habits. I hope you at least try to tap into this ‘promised land’ that I keep telling you about and I really hope it helps with your mindfulness and journey towards self awareness. Catch me right here next week as I continue to share from my overflowing cup of gold.