One of my goals for the remainder of the year is to get back to meditating on a regular basis. I know it’s one of the best things that I can do for my health and well-being, but you know what? When the going gets tough it’s, paradoxically, one of the first things that gets dropped, along with regular exercise.
The funny thing about meditation is that it means different things to different people. For some, you’re not really meditating unless you’ve twisted yourself into an uncomfortable pretzel while chanting “om” for at least a half hour at a time. For others, meditation can be something as simple as being fully present, or mindful, in any given moment – even when washing dishes or doing the laundry.
For me, meditation is about calming my racing mind and letting all the thoughts and endless to-do lists vanish for a few minutes. For me, meditating involves a big element of relaxation and focusing on something that takes my attention away from all that other stuff.
How do you calm your mind enough to meditate?
The problem is that sometimes it is really hard to let go of that stuff. Which is probably why meditation is the first thing that gets dropped when I’m stressed (like, oh, say, after the death of someone I love, for instance). So yeah, I’ve not been much with meditating lately. And when I’m not meditating, I notice a difference in my ability to cope with regular day-to-day stressors like screaming children and a messy house, let alone my ability to handle life’s bigger bumps.
Now, being a student of Law of Attraction, I know better than to try to make myself stop thinking about stuff I don’t want to think about anymore, because what we resist persists. Remember that what we focus on is what we bring into our lives, and that Universe, being inclusive as it is, doesn’t understand the concept of “not”. So trying to “not think about” the things that bother me while I try and meditate isn’t going to work. I need to find a way to change my focus from what I don’t want to what I do want. And what I want when meditating is to relax my mind and body and take a few minutes of peace and tranquility for myself, because I totally deserve it. 🙂
My simple trick for meditating
So I have a little trick that I use to help me with my focusing. I start off my meditation with the exact same guided breathing technique that I lead you through in the free stress relief audio meditation that you can get as a bonus when you buy my book, Seven-Minute Stress Busters. (If you don’t have it yet, you should totally pick it up. Just sayin’… :-)) This process helps me to relax my body and get rid of any physical stress I’m carrying. The next thing I do is count ten breaths. Then I create an image of a candle in my mind. Just a simple wax candle – mine’s white, but yours can be any colour you want – and I focus on the flame. If you’ve ever sat and watched a candle flickering, you know how mesmerizing it can be. So I use the mental image of this flickering candle flame to keep my mind focused while I continue my breathing. Relaxed body from guided breathing technique + complete focus on flickering flame = lack of focus on the other stuff = state of meditation achieved!
And that’s pretty much it. No chanting and no pretzel-twisted limbs. I should mention that a lot of experts will tell you not to meditate lying down in case you fall asleep. But for me, I find that I am best able to meditate while lying down, and in fact, I usually do my meditation at night after I’ve climbed into bed. It’s quiet, it’s dark, there’s no distractions from small children at that point in my day, and I am able to take those few minutes just for myself. And if I do fall asleep, I take that as a bonus and a sign that my goal of relaxing and clearing my mind while meditating actually worked. 😉
Meditation doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take forever. It just has to be you present in the moment in whatever way works best for you. And using a focusing trick like my little flame can be a great tool to help you get meditating, too!