99% of the time, when I ask someone about their meditation practise it's usually met with the same response:
"I don't do it as often as I should"
"I have one, but I can't seem to shut the mind off."
"I can't get into it, but I know I need to work on turning off the stressy thoughts"
"It's something I should get better at."
So you see a theme here?
No matter what your practise is, our automatic response is to beat ourselves up over it. Our mind chatter is about
-not doing enough
-not doing it right
-not being good enough at it
Can we just hold up a hot second here? I sense we are missing the point of it all. Meditation isn't about
-stopping the mind
-doing it for hours at a time
-throwing our hands up when it "doesn't work"
Meditation is about getting into the body, creating more space between thoughts and become more and more at ease with the thoughts that do show up (because they will!).
If you're finding you meditation practise tough, or you want to get started with one, check out the video I created in my FbGroup. Here's the quick low-down on what I shared:
Meditation is made waaaay easier if we drop the stories around what it's suppose to feel like (inner peace all the time), look like (sitting up, cross-legged), and sound like (quiet and peaceful). Because here's the #truthbomb we all need to hear: Meditation isn't always easy! Sometimes the mind buzzes, sometimes it doesn't. And when we can still be okay with the buzz and stop "trying" to fight the mind, everything become infinitely easier!
Try these simple tweaks to your practise and see how it works:
-Jump up and down, shake, so whatever you can to move the body for a quick minute before laying down. This gets you into the body, making it easier to be there and not in your head.
-Set an intention (not a goal!) for your practise, give the mind some words or phrases to focus on for when it wanders (because it will!) i.e. "I connect with joy and calm". "Let go"
-Stop placing so much meaning and judgement on the thoughts that do come up. This is the art of unattachment and a critical piece of the puzzle to letting go of stress and tuning into more inner peace. When we judge our thoughts, we often make them "wrong" and want to stop having them. Instead of "I shouldn't be feeling this...I don't want to feel this"...just try noticing it, say to yourself.. "Hmmm, interesting, I'm noticing I'm feeling ___" This recognizes this, but doesn't make it wrong.
-And, of course, stay connected to the breath. This is you anchor point of consistency to rely on. To give that busy mind something to focus on, count outloud or in your head an inhale for a count of 4 and an exhale for a count of 8. This helps practise the art of letting go of twice as much as we let in--decluttering the mind and body.
-Allow your meditation to be shorter rather than longer. Of course, we want to eventually get to a longer session, but for now even just 10 minutes is a great start. Less is more.
At the end of the day, we can embrace our own practise when we let go of the obstacles our minds creates around the whole thing. Meditation is a place to learn to be quiet--our lives are busy, so understand it will take time to unravel from that.
Leanna Jane Lewis ditched the paint and playdough centre in her kindergarten classroom for some more adventures as a school teacher turned yogi mentor and coach. Just like kids, adults need quiet time too. We all need to feel playful and peaceful in our lives.