It is the year 2020 or might I say, the year of “feeling things” instead of “doing things” and I am intrigued by the fact that the topic of meditation is still a bit “woo-woo” for many out there. Some people recognize its importance due to the various scientifically-proven health benefits of meditation and mindfulness while others practice it to temporarily escape the chaotic events of their life. As someone who is training to become a meditation teacher, I was thinking about the reasons why is it so hard for some people to meditate and the common assumptions which some people might have about the practice of meditation. In its essence, meditation is an effortless process and is supposed to be very natural and easy. It is our birthright and to meditate is to get in touch with the silence within ourselves in order to, sort of recharge our “batteries” and to enrich our daily life experiences. Today, I would like to share some simple ways for a beginner to prepare before you can transition into a state of meditation that I have learnt during my 12-year long friendship with this wonderful practice.
- Household chores
This is the easiest way to get into a state of meditation and I have personally suggested this to many of my friends/acquaintance who had trouble cultivating the practice of meditation. You may not realize it at first but when you are by yourself doing the dishes, folding your clothes or cleaning the furniture, the chances of slipping into the “now” moment is higher than if you were accompanied by music or other people at home. This is probably one of the reasons why some of us feel satisfied after we clean something. Without paying much attention to it, the chaos within settles down while our “batteries” are charged and at the end of it, most of us feel much calmer. For beginners who feel a lot of inner resistance to sit and meditate, performing these simple tasks can prepare you for a successful meditation session.
- Mindful walks
Everyone who knows me in person can agree that I am a huge fan of connecting with nature. In spirituality, we consider the environment we live in as a part of our physical body. Our environment is just as alive as we are and they highly influence us. It is not news to say that nature is bountiful and that we ARE nature. When we have trouble connecting to the field of silence and pure awareness through meditation, we can get help from nature. Taking a walk in the park with total focus on every sensory stimulus and every vibrant scenery instantly connects us to the state we would be in during meditation. Although this state of meditation, just like the one while performing household tasks, is accompanied by some background mental activity, taking quiet walks is a very good way to start meditating as a beginner.
- Weaken those inner arguments
We all have been there. We play out scenarios in our head and even if our lives are more or less stress-free, our mind never shuts up. Our mind loves the drama and that’s not at all surprising! If you truly want to cultivate the habit of meditating, you have to clap your hands and bow to the director so he would end the rehearsal that he keeps orchestrating inside your head. I am not saying, you have to control your mind. Let me tell you, it is going to be IMPOSSIBLE to meditate when your intention is to CONTROL your mind and your thoughts. So, what do I mean by ending the rehearsal? Over the past few years, journalling has been of immense value to me to find out the root causes of the arguments that play in my mind from time to time. I would ask questions like- ” Why do I so badly want to defend myself to that person?”, “Why do I feel so strongly about this or that?” and “Do I have faith in myself to be prepared for such a disaster when the time comes? Why am I so anxious about this right now?”. When you truly heal or address your concerns, those mental rehearsals end and you can be more at peace, ready to step into silence.
- Listen to drumming music
When you listen to rhythmic music without words, your root chakra is healed and that makes you firmly anchored to your body. Why is this important? When you feel ungrounded or might I say, unsafe, threatened or in a state of constant self criticism, you are energetically depleted which makes it impossible for you to WANT to calm your mind. Rhythmic music can command your mind to focus on the music. Automatically, your feet starts tapping to the music and you start nodding your head, which can put you at ease. Bonus points if you wish to stand up and really feel the beats with your entire body with your eyes closed. Your life force energy gets activated and it charges your entire body, relaxing your muscles and makes you feel more fluid or in control of your body, which is a wonderful way to feel before you sit down to meditate. After some movement, moments of stillness of a meditation session doesn’t feel so restrictive to your body and to your mind.
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