A few of the Meditate 30 participants have asked how to “correctly” do this…but I think the better question is how to do it and not fall asleep since many of you are reporting that!
While you can meditate lying down, the traditional methods recommend sitting with a tall spine. This is because meditation isn’t so much about relaxing as it is finding a calm center. Relaxing is reading a book, watching bad reality tv, or hanging with friends. Meditation is a practice of quieting the mind and being present.
In order to get in a place where you can let go of thoughts, it helps to have a routine or something that creates a break between your activities and simply being.
- Chant OM like you would in yoga
- Pick a word to focus upon like Love, Freedom, Happiness
- Say a short prayer
- Read a passage from an uplifting book like The Four Agreements
- Listen to an audio chant meditation (free one’s here)
If you find that amazing ideas keep popping in your head then keep a pad of paper nearby and write them down. Try not to turn your meditation in to a to do list, but it’s not uncommon for it to help your creativity flow. Without being hindered by tasks your brain is able to tap in to other areas.
Studies have shown that one hour a day of meditation can be as effective as anti-depressants. But no worries if you don’t have an hour a day to sit (though wouldn’t that be kinda nice) it seems the optimal amount of time is 20 minutes.
As with training for a race don’t expect to be perfect on day one or even to hit 20 minutes. Instead use this month as a chance to continue making progress.
Are you noticing as you sit that sometimes you start to feel agitated or anxious? That’s because you are asking yourself to do the opposite of you normal, go, do, be, have lifestyle. It may also be an announcement from your body that you are getting close to emotions which you’ve pushed aside.
If you’ve already started telling yourself you are TOO BUSY to meditate…remember we’ve all got 5 minutes. That's right, don't feel like you need to sit for 20 minutes twice a day! While many long time meditators swear by it, most will tell you they didn't start there. Just like you built your fitness or changed your eating habits one at a time, you can do so by making the choice each day with your meditation practice.
I am grateful for places to donate my running shoes…it makes me feel ok with letting them go.