I recommend meditation to my patients as frequently as I recommend drinking water. This is how important it is to your health and well-being. It is a requirement. If you want to improve your life and your health you must meditate. Of course there are ways to make improvements without meditating, but why make it extra hard on yourself? Establishing a daily meditation practice will reduce stress, improve your well-being, and “raise your vibration”. This is a life changer that only takes 10 minutes a day.
People say to me all the time, “But I’ve tried, I can’t do it, I can’t shut my mind off, and I get frustrated.” You can’t? I promise you can. You’re actually off to a great start! The fact is you tried it, and in the process you learned a little bit about your conscious mind and how it works. Constant chatter. Distractions, thoughts of the day. So how do you shut that off? …You stop trying.
We think that meditation is the act of sitting down to shut off your mind, to sit in silence, nothingness. And that is true, because that is the place where you eventually arrive. It is a side effect, so to speak. I can’t say for sure, I’ve never spoken to him, but I would be willing to bet that even the Buddha himself did not sit down for the very first time, and immediately shut his mind of and go into silence. He eventually learned through hours and hours of practice. Just like you cannot expect to lift weights one time and have huge muscles, you cannot expect to sit down and immediately shut off your mind.
Trying to shut it off will only lead to frustration. Instead, you use it. Use your mind to focus your conscious attention. And use it to imagine. In this way, you occupy your mind with something to do. Over time, you will notice the inevitable side effect of silence. This requires patience, and perseverance. Little by little each day, you will grow in your practice. Just like building muscles by lifting weights.
Another common response is, “I don’t have time”. Now, if you don’t have time…this is a whole other situation. “ I don’t have time” is just another way of saying I don’t make enough time for myself. If you cannot set aside 10 minutes for your own well-being everyday, then you really need to make it 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure I borrowed that concept from the Dalai Lama, I’m not sure where exactly it came from, but it is so true. Making time for you is a huge step toward taking better care of yourself. If you start this practice and set aside a small amount of time everyday, you will be amazed at how much it will benefit you.
So, where do you start? At the beginning, it can be helpful to follow a guided meditation. There are many, many out there. A simple internet search will turn up lots to choose from. I suggest finding one that feels good to you, and try a few. Or you may want to just listen to sounds, or tones, without the words guiding you.
Here are a few helpful tips on guiding yourself…
1. Find a quiet comfortable place to sit with your feet on the ground and your palms up.
2. Breathe deeply, following each breath down to your belly.
3. In your mind’s eye, see yourself sitting in the most peaceful place you can imagine.
4. Occupy your mind with loving, positive thoughts. Do this with intention, using the willpower of your mind. Focus on love, forgiveness, gratitude, peace, and allow those energies to run through your body with every breath. Mantras are very helpful. A great one is Ho’Onoponopono: I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. Focus each sentence on yourself, your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, everyone who pissed you off yesterday, and the entire world. And then, go back and do again for those who pissed you off.
5. You may want to focus your attention to your chakras. Again, using your mind, and focusing your will, on balancing and centering each with the thoughts and energies of love and gratitude.
6. Ask for help! This is a great time to ask your guides, angels, and higher self to help you and guide you. They are always there ready and waiting, all you need to do is ask.
7. Seal your practice with an ohm or the simple act of giving thanks.
Do this daily and repeat as necessary.