The first time I sat down to meditate a few years ago went something like this:
“Okay mind time to be quiet”
Mind keeps racing
“No seriously we have to be quiet”
Mind continues to fill with thoughts
“Well this is useless, I can’t do this”
After that proclamation, I never tried it again until I had to for grad school. That’s right, one of my classes was about meditation. We read books about meditation and tried different types, keeping a log about our progress. Based on my prior experience I was a little nervous because I really didn’t want to fail a class for not meditating properly. However as I began to read the materials for class I soon developed a better understanding of meditation and how it works.
We all have thoughts that race around our minds every day so it’s silly to just one day decide to stop them. In meditation the thoughts will come up but we have to learn to not react to them. We can’t stop them but we can control our reactions. I slowly learned how to develop more mindfulness by focusing on my breath and trying to stay in the present moment. There were times my foot would fall asleep or my back would hurt or I would just plain be frustrated I couldn’t sit still. I had to learn how to be okay with my thoughts and not give them all my attention. This was not an easy task I tell you, but I found that focusing on the movement of my breath gave me something to stay with and come back to when my mind wandered, as it often did. Some days were better than others but I tried not to judge myself.
I’m not able to sit in meditation for a full hour. Now I know this is the goal and many people do it, I’m not one of them though. I am able to sit for 20 minutes most days. I have found this time frame works for me and makes me feel content. I also have to switch up the time of day for meditation based on my schedule. I do the best I can with what works for me. I sit cross-legged on a pillow and close my eyes. I say my own mantra for a couple minutes, then the rest of the time I focus on my breath going in and my breath going out.
Those 20 minutes are a life changer for me. It’s the only time I’m not running around and I’m calm. Do I make it work everyday? Absolutely NOT!! But that’s not the point. The point is I’m trying. I’m trying to change my life and continue to walk my wellness path.
So this week, I encourage you to find a quiet spot, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Even if you can only make 5 minutes, you will have tried something different for yourself and you might even notice a difference in how you react to some situations. As always remember-this is all about you.