WHAT MEDITATING REALLY LOOKS LIKE
Don’t let those fancy, perfectly poised meditation pictures of Yogis and beautiful people sitting in sunsets and sunrises fool you. Pictured here is me, foggy after waking up too early. I wanted to get a real picture of what it looks like when I mediate. I kept this blurry photo because it reminds me that meditation is not always perfect. Everyone is hard-wired differently, lives in different environments, with different barriers to their practice. It's not all beach fronts, sunrises, and gorgeous backdrops. Keep reading to get an insight on what meditation is and why you should give it a try. If you're into it, grab a free copy of my meditation mantras to get you going!
Being real, I started trying to meditate years ago. It never stuck. Fast forward to 2018, I had some health scare that totally changed my perspective. I knew if I didn't find a way to slow down, be mindful, and calm my soul, I would die before I could radiate that light and inner peace I desperately desired.
I relied on the excuse that kids, pets, significant other’s all get in the way of starting my meditation practice. Work, life, finding the dance in between to ‘make time’ for meditation. Or is it simpler than we make it out to be? (Psst! It is!!!)
If you're anything like me, you'll find yourself searching for the calming, grounding effect that meditation brings. Right now, I'll bet you are curious how to grab some of that peaceful after-effect people speak of, especially if you're reading this very blog post.
Here’s the thing about meditation. You can truly meditate anywhere. All you need is your body. A quiet space helps. Maybe you started off with this idea that meditation, or in order to meditate, the surroundings and situation must be just right. I told myself that every element and moment had to go exactly as planned and expected. By the way, I feel your pain if you're this human. Trust me I was there, and still go there sometimes.. It would go down like this...
Tell the kids not to bother me for 20 minutes, showing them what time it currently is and show them the timer on the stove. I swear this act took me a full on 5 minutes as I'd engage in negotiation conversation. "Do NOT bother me while I'm doing my meditation!" I would remind them, walking away. Then I'd proceed to tell my husband the same damn thing. I'd get a cozy blanket, make sure I'm in my yoga clothes, journal handy. I'd look for a meditation chant, mantra for the day, or make one up at that instant (which usually would take me too long). But of course, the second that I’d finally take a few breaths, eyes closed....(yep, you could imagine what happens next...)
A kid would yell at the other kid in some other room, breaking my concentration. I’d allow myself to get angry about it, yell to them that I'm still meditating, then start all over.
Why can’t I just enjoy 5 minutes of stillness people?! --these are my thoughts at the time. Among other things like curse words and seeing red.
You get my point.
What I suddenly realized hit me like a waffle in the face (that's an appropriate expression, no?). The problem wasn’t my children, or my partner in crime, or the pets. It was ME. Like anything in life that seems so simple, I had it in my head that it’s asinine to imagine NOT being able to meditate, expecting perfection on top of it. You shouldn't expect anything. Don't worry about noises, throw away that picturesque scene in your head and get down to it. Set an intention during meditation, but don't take the mindfulness element out of meditating by expecting miracles.
To meditate by definition (google, Merriam-Webster, and whoever else popped into my search) is to ‘think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation’.
According to Wikipedia, meditation is the practice of using some technique to train attention and awareness to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm, stable state.
Sounds blissful right?
Interestingly enough, many of us still don’t meditate or believe meditation can help them. This skewed vision of what meditation needs to be or is, one-hundred percent needs to be changed. It’s the people like me who claim to need certain ‘conditions’ that need to be met in order for meditation to be a success. One of the MOST common excuses for why people may not meditate is because they believe they are inept at clearing their mind.
Listen up peeps! You NEED to understand that meditation can be messy. That’s kind of the point. Full of thoughts, distractions, lists, self-doubt, mental discomfort, and sometimes boring. Yeah. I said it, sometimes meditation can be boring. It’s a mental muscle you have to work on to finally understand that through meditating, you learn to work through all the crazy thoughts that float by, the yelling children behind you, and come out feeling more grounded and powerful.
Most people cannot stand to be bored for a second, or hear the truth-bombs go off when our mind finally allows our thoughts to flow freely. Beyond the boredom, I understand that fear of learning your actual desires and feelings. It's a bit good scary, am I right? We are strong people. To know what our heart and soul wants and needs will not break us. Feel it, take it in. Then feel it some more. Allow the air around us to move and breathe and take that energy and move it out of us.
Finding that space to discover will take time. When you discover, it may not be what you expect. But it will be beautiful.
HERE'S TO HOPING
I am an active human. ADHD, wiggle worm, whatever. My brain is just as active as my body, firing off thoughts left and right, constantly creating shit out of nowhere. I am the last person I thought would be able to meditate. Here’s what I’ve realized and learned. You are energy, your thoughts become energy, your breath is energy.
(Keep reading, it will make sense, I promise!)
When we take a few minutes to find our breath, allow those thoughts to flow in and out of the mind, allow the ‘things’ and events around us to move freely, then you’re allowing your energy to release. Thoughts, released, tension, released. Your wheels begin to churn, leaving light, peace and love behind. Right here. you’ve found your nirvana baby! That’s meditation.
Allowing the imperfections to prevail, letting you see meditation for what it is: moments of stillness to ground ourselves, ultimately letting the electric wheels of energy within us dance. Because no matter what is happening around your body, your butt glued to the floor or your body touching the ground is literally grounded there while all those thoughts come in, then blow out. The noise happens, then we release it from our minds. It is here we notice mindfulness.
I think meditating, meditation, and mindfulness are such curious topics now (I mean, 2020, right?) because it’s so hard to understand until you find your own nirvana. Nirvana without expecting it to be like anyone else’s or look like an Instagram photos. I hope this gives you a glimpse of hope that you, too, can meditate. Don't forget to grab some Positive Vibrations to get you started on your practice today.