Everyday I hear someone say that they can’t meditate because their mind is too busy or they just have too much going on in their heads. And I tell them, that’s okay. Because meditation isn’t about emptying our minds of thoughts. Rather, it is simply about being present with the thoughts that arise.
You see, it’s not our thoughts that cause us distress or unhappiness, but our attachment to the thoughts. We experience life through our mind, creating stories and fantasies that we believe as truth. We view our world through lenses coloured by judgement, preference, the past, future, or comparison. Perhaps you may notice or feel that your mind is constantly jumping from one thing to another, seeking ways to distract or avoid the difficult thoughts. And this stops us being present in the moment. This sense of attachment stops us from being able to enjoy everyday experiences.
Meditation allows us to be in a state of presence. When we allow ourselves a moment to step back and pause, we access a stillness within us which brings about joy, clarity, gratitude.
And the effects of meditation don’t just last for the duration of your practice. They permeate into everything you do. Your mental chatter slows down and you move beyond your thinking mind, becoming present and grateful of the world around you. Developing a regular practice of meditation helps to quieten the voice of your inner critic so that you can spend your time and energy doing the things that make you feel good.
And perhaps you still feel that your mind is too busy, or you could never sit in stillness? Well what about times when you’re reading, or listening to music, playing sport or painting? Is your mind too busy to engage in those activities? Does it sometimes feel like time stands still for you? Are you thinking of anything else in that moment? Like all things, we just need to train the muscles of the mind to become focused.
So next time you notice that your mind is racing, or you feel distracted or anxious, allow yourself a moment to pause and find stillness. Be present to whatever arises in that moment. Present to any thoughts, feelings, emotions. Recognise and accept each one as a transient, fleeting sensation.
And in this blissful moment of stillness, notice all of the wonders of life that we take for granted.
A Meditation to Find Stillness
If you’ve never tried meditation before, here is a really lovely and simple practice to follow. I’d recommend setting a timer for 3-5 minutes if this is your first time, but feel free to adjust this accordingly:
Set yourself up in a peaceful and comfortable environment
Create a space that feels like bliss where you know you won’t be disturbed for your practice.
Find a comfortable position
You may want to sit on a cushion, bolster or block or you may prefer to be seated on a chair with your arms and legs uncrossed. Either way, engage your stomach muscles and keep your back upright, but not too tight. Allow your shoulders to slide down your back and feel the crown of your head reaching to the sky. Be comfortable in your position.
Relax your body
Bring gentle awareness to how your body feels in this moment. Noticing any areas of tension, aches, pains or discomfort. Release and let go of any areas of tightness and tension. Continue to relax your body as you feel the sensations of warmth and heaviness spread across your body. Relax.
Tune into your breath
Bring your awareness to the natural flow of your breath. The breath in, and out. There’s no need to do anything or change anything, simply observe your own rhythm of breath. Notice where into your body you are breathing. Feel your breath in and out through your nose. Become aware of the rise and fall of your chest of belly. Sense where one breath ends, and another begins. The inhale. The exhale. The pauses.
Notice and Observe
Take a moment to notice how you feel in this moment? Are you tired, anxious, frustrated, calm, happy? What state is your mind in? Stay with these feelings for a moment, just being curious and non-judgmental about them. Allow yourself to be fully present with each feeling, thought, emotion time that arises.
As you watch your experience, notice your mind becoming peaceful, calm. Observe your worries, stresses, anxieties, fears melt away.
Continue for your set amount of time
Keep your attention on your breath, bringing your awareness back to the breath each time you notice that your mind has wandered.
Reawaken the body
Once your time is up, bring your awareness back to your body. Slowly and mindfully reawaken the body by wriggling some fingers and toes. Move your head from side to side and take a deep body stretch. Expand your awareness to the room around you and gently open your eyes.
Show gratitude towards yourself
Pause for a few moments taking in the experience of the practice and what may have come up for you. Take the time to smile and offer yourself some gratitude for showing up to practice and nurture your mind, body and soul.
If you would like to join us in some group meditations you can find us weekly at the following times:
Much love as always
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