I often mention meditation here and that’s because I’m a big believer that meditation can be a tool in the path to loving your life. It’s the way I check in on the core of myself, because in constantly trying to keep the brain occupied, we can fail to truly listen to our hearts. It’s also a pathway to give myself grace in simply being. I could wax rhapsodic about the benefits of meditation, but instead I want to share with you some different ways of giving yourself the gift of a little nothingness.
Personally, I’ve found that it is critical to the well-being of my mind, body and soul to stop for a few moments each day, and not think. And learning to do this has allowed me to learn to better listen to my body.
Many of my clients insist that meditation would never work for them. Perhaps it brings up images of yoga, a need for incense, or the ability to quiet their mind. Or maybe they feel as if their lives are just too busy to spend any part of their day doing nothing. The truth is: when you first try to meditate, all those assumptions may feel valid. And I understand all of these fears, because I’ve felt them too, but I know that you can do it.
Overtime, you’ll discover that it’s a great tool to help you find a moment of peace in even the most challenging of seasons. So, grab a little bit of courage and give meditation a try!
Here’s five simply tricks to try if you want to start a meditation practice.
One – View it as a Limited Time Offer
You aren’t committing oodles of time to a meditation practice. You are going to begin with deciding you are going to mediate just three minutes a day. It is a practice of learning a new skill and doesn’t need to be perfect.
Just like it takes time to build up stamina for longer walks or bike rides, it takes time to gain stamina for meditation time to go longer. So, grab a timer and set it for three minutes. I have faith that you can do anything for three minutes! And as you begin to fine tune the technique (or techniques) that work for you, you gradually add a little time.
I don’t recommend guided meditations for the beginner for this reason: most meditations you download will be for 10 to 30 minutes. Move slowly into your practice so that you build stamina instead of burning out.
Two – Try Quiet Meditation
One of my favorite ways to do meditation is in quiet. Sit on the floor or in a chair and be physically still. Slowly breathe in and out and focus on your breathing. You can also lie down! As thoughts come, allow them to float by you. Remind yourself that your thoughts are not who you are.
If you become distracted with your thoughts, try one of these visualizations during your meditation:
- Bees – each of your thoughts is a bee and their hive is in the center of your stomach, right behind your belly button. As a thought surfaces, remind yourself it’s just a bee, gently grab its wings and place it back in the hive. Continue to repeat this process. Some thoughts are persistent and continue to escape the hive, don’t handle these so long that they will sting you, simply continue to be gentle with yourself as each little bee gets placed back in the hive
- Rock in a Stream – you are a rock placed in the middle of a fast moving stream. Your thoughts are the stream. Simply allow them to flow around you.
- Ticker Tape – imagine your thoughts being written down as the scrawl of stock quotes on a financial news show. You don’t attach to any of the thoughts, you just allow them to go across the screen. You may find comfort in identifying the thoughts with a single feeling – like fear, pain, worry, etc. Allow them to flow by without attaching any meaning to them.
Three – If Quiet isn’t Your Thing, Get Guidance
If your own thoughts are too much, consider a meditation that is guided. This is where someone talks you through a visualization. Or simply breathes with you along with sharing gentle encouragements. There are dozens of resources for guided meditation – from free ones on YouTube to apps like Calm or Peloton.
Guided meditations can also be found to help you fall asleep. Or work on kindness.
Four – Perhaps a Sacred Space is a Good Invitation
I personally find a special energy in churches. When I travel, one of my favorite activities is to explore historic churches. I’m always presented with a few moments to sit (or kneel). Take in the beauty and sacredness of the space. And be in a prayerful moment of meditation.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you join a convent or need to begin attending a religious service on a regular basis. Unless, of course, that’s something you are feeling called to do. Rather, I am suggesting that you visit a beautiful church and allow the space to invite you into a meditative moment. You can show up before a service and leave before it begins. Physically placing yourself in a church and allow the sacred space and energy feed you.
This can also be a great way to explore your area by visiting different churches. Especially historic ones!
Five – Antsy? Try Active Meditation
Sometimes, I cannot still both my mind and my body. Go for a level of activity that allows you to move rhythmically without struggle. Go for a walk or a run. The rhythmic actions of your feet hitting the pavement will allow your thoughts to flow out. I’m also a huge fan of retreating to the kitchen where fresh vegetables and a sharp knife provide me a cocoon of meditation. There is a kind of magic in the repetitive motion of chopping and slicing, and the soothing scents of the fresh food. Getting out into nature also works well for active meditation, for you feed your need to move with the smells and feels of the world around you.
The more regularly you bring meditation into your world, the more you will find that a few moments of doing “nothing” will accomplish more than you could imagine. I know of no better way to listen to the voice of your heart than by learning to embrace nothingness. I have complete faith that you can do it.