Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are. — Ani Pema Chodron
After reading Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning, I became interested in meditation. Hal goes through six parts of starting your morning through the acronym, SAVERS — Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing.
For me, silence ment calming my mind, taking deep breaths, and just letting myself settle. In other words, I was working through the basics of meditation, but I kept asking myself, "What else should I be doing?"
I researched and settled on the Calm App. That was nearly three years ago. I generally do the 10-minute guided meditation in the morning and that sets me up for handling life’s challenges throughout the day.
But in answer to my question, there really isn’t a specific answer. There are so many ways to meditate, and this is what I love about the practice. There is no right or wrong answer.
While many practitioners sit in a cross-legged pose on a pillow on the floor, I prefer to lie prone on my bed first thing in the morning. Sometimes I will sit leisurely on the couch, but a non-negotiable aspect for me is to be comfortable. If I’m not comfortable, then I focus on that and I then feel as if I’m wasting my time.
I know there is a danger to lying down on my bed. Believe me, in the beginning I fell asleep a time or two but in time I settled in and started being able to concentrate on the breath and the topic of the meditation for that day.
Benefits.There are many benefits I have gained from meditation thus far:
1. It is a way for me to awaken to a new day with fresh possibilities.
2. I focus on my breathing.
3. I am doing a better job of letting thoughts flow in and out. I used to get stuck on a thought, but when I refocus my attention to the breath the thought leaves.
4. I can do meditation throughout my day. Sometimes I take a minute during the day simply to take deep breaths as a quick work break. I will take a walking meditation for a few minutes to clear my head. When I take a bath, I relax and let my thoughts go. That’s what is so great about it. Meditation can literally happen anywhere!
5. When I have been in stressful situations, I take a deep breath before responding. In many cases, I have chosen not to respond at all after the deep breath and that has been a life changer. No longer do I make snarky or regrettable comments off the cuff (for the most part) that I end up apologizing for later.
6. Because I take deep breaths rather than automatically talking, I have become much more reflective. I think through my feelings and let them settle rather than being emotional overall.
7. I am a better listener, because I’m not thinking about what I want to say next. I’m focused on the other person.
It’s a practice.But here’s the thing about meditation. It takes time and patience. In the beginning I often wondered if I was doing it “right.” There is no one correct path to the practice.
And that’s the other aspect to keep in mind. Meditation is a practice. It’s not a concept I will ever be perfect at as there will always be room for me to improve and grow. Right now I practice meditation in short bursts of 10 minutes or less for each session. I would like to eventually expand my practice to 30 minutes a day but I’m being patient with myself. I’ve been in this current flow for nearly three years, and I’m taking baby steps to incrementally add time.
I also need to remember to give myself grace. There are some days when I wonder if I have just wasted my time, but then I stop and remember that I won’t be in the zone every single day. There are days when I can’t stop the flow of thoughts no matter how many times I go back to the breath. There are other days when I doze off in the middle of a session.
And that’s perfectly okay.
The essence of meditation is that I’m getting to know myself better. I’m getting more in tune with who I am and how I’m evolving with each day. I’m becoming my own best friend.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.