Meditation isn’t something I pictured ever doing- let alone enjoying. I mean, all I knew about it was what I had briefly seen on social media- and for the most part, it seemed ‘frewfy’.
But, as I’ve spoke about before, I have a long history of trauma– including being sexually abused by my father when I was 9.
This trauma, like the others, created a lot of ‘pocketed’ emotions. And for a lot of years, I was really good at ‘distracting’ myself so I didn’t have to deal with them. You know, like taking on more work than I could handle just to feel ‘comfortable in chaos’.
I never would have thought about actually dealing with the root cause of the problem.
I mean, how crazy was that?! No one had ever told me that I had to deal with my trauma and release the emotions tied to it. OR that living in a state of chaos wasn’t normal or healthy. OR that there was a better way to heal.⠀
So no, stumbling into a curiosity with meditation couldn’t have been predicted- but I am so thankful that it happened.⠀
Now here’s what I’ve learned:⠀
👉🏻 There is no ‘right’ way to ‘do’ meditation.⠀
👉🏻 There is no ‘wrong’ way to ‘do’ meditation.⠀
👉🏻 It’s not as complicated as it looks.⠀
👉🏻 It’s not as easy as it looks.⠀
👉🏻 And basically, you can do WHATEVER feels right to YOU.⠀
The practice itself isn’t what matters. What matters is the reason WHY you are doing it.⠀
And that is:⠀
To create space between stimulus and response. To quiet your ego. To heal your trauma and release pocketed emotions. To BECOME better. To DO better. And to FEEL better.⠀
THAT is all that is important.⠀
Since adopting meditation into my own routine I’ve noticed some incredible changes like a significant decrease in anxiety, depression and fear. I’m calmer, happier and healthier. I’m more in control of my emotions and my ‘response’ to my environment. I’m a better version of myself. And I just feel better.⠀
So if you are a meditation newbie like I was, the purpose of this post is to give you some insight on meditation, and how you can easily incorporate it into your day-to-day life.
Let’s dive in!
So, what is meditation?
Meditation is simply a formal mindfulness practice. Mindfulness in that turn, is the awareness that arises out of paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.
If you look at our day-to-day lives, we are often super distracted. We have so much going on between our career, our home life, our house tasks, our extracurriculars, our social commitments and more. Our plates are overloaded! Add into that, all of the distracting devices that we have nowadays like our phones, tablets, computers, iPods, and even our TVs.
This combined really overwhelms us to the point where we are never actually just okay in a present moment, just being. We’re constantly thinking about the next thing that we have to do, the next level we have to get to, the chores list, the task list, the to-do list, and all of that crazy stuff.
Not only can this really can put distance between us in our relationships, where we are not having as pure and authentic, or really complete relationships as we once did– but it also influences different areas of our lives, like decreasing our productivity, decreasing our energy levels, and most importantly, significantly impacting our happiness levels.
This is definitely a concern and something that we should strive to change.
The good news? Happiness is something that we can actually quite easily change and influence in our own day-to-day lives. And meditation is one of those wonderful ways to do that.
So, meditation isn’t about trying to control, or change, or fix, or adapt, or even judge what type of thoughts are going on in our minds. But it is more so about being aware of those thoughts.
With meditation we can start to ask ourselves more important questions like:
What are we distracted by most often?
How often are those distractions occurring?
What types of thought patterns are we having?
The answers to these questions aren’t something that we tend to be aware of, especially in this modern world. And we don’t even tend to put much importance on knowing the answers, because it’s not something that we actually realize that we need to do.
One other thing to keep in mind is that we actually are only aware of about 5% of our thoughts. 95% of the thoughts that we’re having are actually subconscious, and that comes into play with a lot of the different limiting beliefs and things that can impact your happiness.
So, by doing meditation as a regular practice, we’re actually ensuring that we are aware of what our thoughts are and how often they’re occurring.
How do you meditate ‘properly’?
Now, I use quotations for this, because I don’t think there is one way to do meditation.
There are so many different styles out there, and it’s up to us to determine what’s going to work the best for us in our day-to-day lives.
As far as learning how to meditate for the first time, I’m going to give you some different examples on ways that you can incorporate that and see what works the best for you. And I really do encourage you, if this is your first time, to try out a lot of the different variations and see what is the most comfortable for you or what you enjoy the most.
So, first of all, in terms of sitting and placement, you can choose to sit cross-legged on the floor, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, lie down flat, or even take a reclined sitting or lying position.
There are so many different variations available out there for you to choose. Your positioning is completely up to you. Personally, I prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor because that’s the way that I feel the most connected with my sit-bones- having both connected to the floor at the same time, and sitting up nice and straight.
Keep in mind if you’re choosing a sitting position, that you want to make sure that your shoulders and your neck are all in line with your pelvis and that you’re sitting up nice and tall.
You can also choose different hand placements as well. You can place your hands stacked softly together in your lap, you can take a mudra positioning with your thumb and index finger pressed together with palms up or down, or can choose just to rest your hands flat up or down on your knees or legs. Any variation works!
Now, in terms of your gaze, you can choose to either have your eyes open softly gazing at an object, or you can choose to close your eyes. Personally, I prefer to close my eyes as I tend to get a little bit distracted if there’s different movements or things going on.
Next, you’ll want to ensure that you are finding a quiet space with no distractions. That doesn’t mean that you’re trying to meditate in the middle of the floor when people are watching TV and your kids are playing with trucks, or whatever they’re doing.
You want to try to make sure that you’re locking yourself in an area where pets or kids can’t get to you and climb on you, and you can really just be alone with your thoughts in that moment.
Finally, you can choose to either follow a guided meditation video, or you can choose to simply sit in silence and be aware of your thoughts. Again, this is completely up to you, and what you feel is to be the most beneficial for you in your journey with this new shifting tool.
I myself, have went through different phases where I have both utilized listening to guided meditations, and/or sitting in silence and being aware of my thoughts. Right now, currently my thing is to sit in silence, because I tend to find that it is the most comforting for me and it helps me to start the day out with a really clear mind.
As far as guided meditations go, you can hop on YouTube and find so many different free ones out there in a variety of different themes, depending on what you’re looking for. There’s ones for self-love, confidence, productivity, energy, positive mindset, happiness, anger.
Literally, anything that you can think of, you’re going to be able to find a meditation track for that. But, if you prefer not to use YouTube, there are tons of apps out there as well- both free and paid for ones, that you can find and be able to utilize.
Starting out, if you haven’t ever meditated before, then I recommend starting with just five minutes and then working your way up from there. You don’t want to, never having meditated before, choose a 30-minute or 45-minute meditation track and just start off with that, because you’re going to tend to get a little bit frustrated, especially in the beginning. So, start small and work your way up.
Now in terms of the actual practice itself, you might be asking what are you doing? Are you just closing your eyes and breathing?
And sure- you can definitely do that, and it’s great to be aware of your breath when you are participating in meditation. But, what you want to keep in mind is that we’re trying to create awareness around our thoughts.
So, as we sit there and we begin to focus on our breath, you’ll notice right away that your mind likely begins to wander. Perhaps thinking about what your task list is for the day, how you’re feeling right now, or maybe it’s body aches and pains, different emotions, sensations, etc.
Any distraction that occurs- that’s okay!
Remember, what you’re doing is just becoming aware of those thoughts. Now, just like you go to the gym and you lift a bunch of weights with a bunch of repetitions to build muscles, you’re going to be doing the same thing with your mind, because meditation is a practice and a practice takes practice.
It’s not about jumping into it and being an expert in being totally aware of your thoughts, and bringing them back easily. It’s going to be brand new to you, which means it’s going to take a little bit of work and a lot of practice to get this into an area that you want it to be.
I’ve been doing meditation for probably two years now, and I am by no means an expert at all. This is still something that I am adapting and changing on a daily basis.
So, like I said, going to the gym and lifting a bunch of weights, you’re doing multiple repetitions- and it’s just like that with your mind. Instead of lifting weights however, you’re going to be doing a repetition of the mind.
First you’ll start by focusing on your breath or the guided track you’re listening too. Your thoughts are going to wander- and then you’re going to realize that your thoughts are wandering, and you’ll end up bringing your focus back to the breath or track. This is considered one repetition.
Again, you’ll follow your breath, get distracted, notice you’re distracted, bring it back, follow the breath. That is one repetition.
And so, if you go into a five-minute meditation and you get distracted 100 times, you realize you’re distracted 100 times, and you bring yourself back to your breath focus 100 times, that means in five minutes, you just did a hundred repetitions.
That’s fantastic. That’s amazing! You’re building that mind muscle.
Allow this to encourage you and excite you, rather than frustrate you.
Typically, this is the area that people tend to get the most confused on or the most frustrated with, because they feel like they can’t do it.
“Oh, I can’t do meditation because I get distracted”. Yet that is the entire point of the meditation practice, is to create that awareness in that.
You’re not going to step into meditation and be able to focus on your breath entirely for even a five-minute span, without having a single thought, emotion, feeling, or sensation arise. It’s just not possible.
We need to build that muscle up and begin to focus on that initially.
Now, these repetitions, like I said, are a good thing. Don’t allow them to get you frustrated or discouraged by any means. Allow that to guide you in your practice and continue sitting down and seeing how many thoughts you have or where your mind is going during that little practice.
The best thing I can encourage you to do, especially when you’re just starting out with meditation if this is an area of interest for you, or you’re wanting to know, and maybe take a little concrete look at how it’s going to impact your life positively, then I would recommend grabbing a little journal and actually keeping that as a meditation journal.
Meaning, you can journal a little bit before, saying how you’re kind of feeling before you go into the meditation. And then afterwards you can not only write how you are feeling, but you could also write down what impact that meditation had on you, and where you noticed your thoughts going during that practice.
Were they all around your work task or a project that you had to get done?
Was it about the kids’ schedule and having to get them up right away?
Was it about an injury you’re currently working through?
It’s really great to pay attention to that and write it down, because you’ll notice from the very first time you sit down to do this to the last time, there’s going to be a significant difference there between those two things.
There you have it babe- a simple explanation of everything you need to know on meditation. I hope this helps provide some clarity for you and give you some guidance along with what you can do to really improve or start your meditation practice.
You can also checkout my video HERE that I made to explain this subject as well.
Best of luck babe!