After recently being advised from a few people who I respect and admire, I have started incorporating meditation into my routine.
It makes a lot of sense, if I’m honest, and I don’t know why I didn’t start it sooner. I dedicate at least one hour every day to caring for my body: lifting weights, doing yoga, stretching, doing cardio, so why have I not been doing the same for my mind?
I know that there is a bit of confusion and scepticism about meditation, so I want to share with you in this post what it is and why I do it, for anyone who is perhaps looking to start doing some meditation too.
What is meditation?
The word meditation spans quite a large area of ambiguity, and there isn’t really one correct way to describe it, so shoutout to free.meditation.com for helping me out with this.
Some regard meditation as mental concentration on something, some see it as imagining or focussing on something that gives us peace or satisfaction. Some regard it as just a moment to sit quietly or to ponder, others claim it is a state of deep, profound peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent, yet completely alert. That it is the beginning of a transformation which takes us to a higher level of awareness and allows us to fulfil our true human potential.
Yet regardless of how we define it, or what it means to us, there is one thing that all of these methods share: that the goal of meditation is to sit down, shut up and shut off. To ease the incessant activity of our minds and achieve a state of thoughtless awareness.
Ok great, but what does that mean?
Having practised it for a month now, the best thing I can compare meditation to is that feeling when your eyes go out of focus. You know when you’re staring at something and it starts to blur? You’re aware of what’s around you, you know there’s cars going by, people are coming and going, you can hear music and noises but you don’t focus on anything. Everything you see, hear, smell just becomes humdrum background noise, like there’s an invisible blanket over your head which just muffles everything ever so slightly. You’re not sitting with your hands over your ears, blocking it all out, you’re just turning the volume down and zoning out. THAT is what meditation feels like to me.
It’s about learning that there is time for action, and there is time for quiet, and both are absolutely crucial to the appreciation of the other. It is about learning to love the hectic, but also learning to love the calm. Learning to allow enough of both without either one ever becoming dominant. Learning to balance. Learning to appreciate every second when times are good, and learning that times of fear and pain are temporary. Learning that you will always get your peace.
What’s the point?
The benefits are countless. I have only been practising meditation for a short time, but already I notice a big change in many things. I find that:
- My mind is quieter in general, I don’t feel like it’s going at a million miles an hour. I don’t lie in bed at night with my head spinning with thoughts.
- I have better focus.
- I feel less tired and more energised.
- I feel calmer, far less stressed and anxious.
- I feel more confident. I feel more content. I feel more in control.
- I feel more in tune with my body because I wake up and connect with it, with how I feel. From the lungs in my chest to the tips of my toes, I assess my physical and emotional state.
- Because of this, I feel more connected with the world. I walk around feeling like I have a genuine bond with the earth I walk on and with the people I see.
- Perhaps most importantly, I feel more selfless. I think because I start my day with this moment of peace, this time for ME, for the rest of the day I feel in a better and stronger position to give to others and to help others.
The benefits really are endless, and I am so excited to see how much my world changes after committing to this for even longer.
That sounds great. so, Why is meditation so hard?
Meditation is not hard, people just have the wrong idea about it. People think they’ve failed or they ‘can’t do it’ because they can’t clear their mind. ‘I tried it but I just couldn’t keep other thoughts out my mind.’ We’ve all heard that before, right?
But that’s exactly the point. Realising and noticing every thought that goes through your mind is when you’ve cracked it. When it pops into your head what to have for dinner, what time your spin class is, why that guy/girl isn’t texting back, which it inevitably will, don’t freak out. This does not mean you’ve failed. You are training the mind to focus and not be distracted, but you need to experience the distraction first to learn how to do this. You cannot think of nothing unless you’re enlightened. Or dead.
You’ll have days when that state of peace comes to you easily, and days when you really struggle. Days where your mind is clear as a summer’s day, others when you just cannot block out the noise of the traffic. That’s fine. Accept the thought, acknowledge it, and then let it pass by, just like you might be aware of traffic passing by, or background noise in a restaurant.
Just don’t quit before you give it a chance, and don’t think you’ve failed or you ‘just can’t do it’ because you have thoughts running through your head. That means you’re alive my friend, congratulations.
Interested in getting involved in meditation? I invite you all to join me on this journey. Check out Part Two of this blog where I talk you through the simple steps of how to meditate.
Until then my loves,
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