I love meditating, it does amazing things for me emotionally and physically. So, why then don’t I practice more often? I think, quite honestly, it is my mental illnesses (Adult ADHD, Depression, C-PTSD, and to some degree Anxiety) that get in my way (as they do with most other things). The ironic thing about this is that if I could just overcome the mental illnesses long enough every day to meditate, the practice of meditating would help my mental illnesses significantly. One helps the other while the other hinders the other. It’s a complicated relationship.
I often talk about meditation and the importance of the practice. I am hereby committing to myself and my readers to practice meditation every.single.day. sans excuses. Whether you’ve ever meditated or not, I would encourage you to commit to a meditation practice as well. It doesn’t have to be daily (that would be the most beneficial), but I would try for at least 3 days a week. For those who have never meditated I suggest you start out with guided meditations, of your choosing, with a beginning time of about 10 minutes. As you become more familiar with the practice you can extend your practice to however long you want. I’ve found that a 20 minute practice, guided or not, works best for me.
There are so many benefits to be had in a consistent meditation practice. For myself I seek inner balance and peace (my center), I look for guidance to show me what my place and purpose are (and not what I think they’re supposed to be), I seek courage to follow my passions and goals, I look to quiet my mind and to just be in the moment, and I look inward in an attempt to find who I am at my core, what kind of person I am and if it matches the kind of person I want to be, who are the people I surround myself with and are they the right people for me and am I the right person for them; I seek to discover who I want to surround myself with, to find my tribe (the people I feel most myself with and can be myself without judgement), my people.
For those of you who may never have practiced meditation before, this may seem a little woo woo, but I assure you that with time, practice, and patience the benefits are very rewarding. It is similar to praying, in some ways. The distinct difference for me is that in the past when I’ve prayed, I prayed to the Christian God. Now when I meditate I look inward to myself, to the divine spirit in me, I’m not asking for a higher power to grant my friends, family, and myself good health and happiness. My higher power lives inside of me, it’s part of me, and I seek to learn how and what I can do to make myself healthy and happy. I listen to my soul, I’m learning to take the bad as it comes and appreciate the good while it lasts. Life is full of ups and downs, there is no getting around that. But if I practice balancing myself even during the ups, then I will be better prepared to remain balanced during the downs.
Now, when I encourage you to meditate I am in no way saying you shouldn’t pray or follow your God. Meditation isn’t a religious practice, I just used praying as a way to make it more understandable for those who have never practiced. Meditating does not make you Hindu or a Buddhist. You don’t have to change a thing about your beliefs. Meditation is more about being in the moment, self discovery; a way of developing one’s ability to remain balanced and accept what is and the things we can’t control. In many ways it’s about learning to take accountability for our own behaviors, actions, and reactions. Once we have an awareness of these things, we can then begin to work on what needs changing, embrace what doesn’t need changing, and learn to forgive ourselves for any shortcomings we have. Along the way we discover our Center, Place, Purpose, Passions, and who our Tribe is.
So often we tend to ignore ourselves, we put ourselves last while we care for everyone else in our lives. Meditation allows us 10, 20, 30 minutes (or however long you choose), to focus on just ourselves in that moment. To be solely in that moment. Doing this practice consistently, even if it’s just for 10 minutes each practice, will teach you to be in the present moment all of the time. When we live just in the current moment, it limits the level of trepidation we experience, and it allows us to better enjoy life.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits of meditating. It helps with mental health/well-being. It opens our minds so that we can learn who we are at our core rather than being who we think we are supposed to be. It prepares us for the lows in life so that we can better manage them emotionally when the time comes. We learn to appreciate and embrace the good things in life. It asks us and allows us to be completely honest with ourselves, and like it or not, that is a good thing. We could all stand to humble ourselves from time to time. We are then given the opportunity to work on the parts of us we don’t like so much, our uglies (and we all have uglies). If you aren’t ready for that kind of self-truth yet, don’t shy away from meditation.
Go on YouTube and follow a guided Body Scan meditation (I would suggest you start with a body scan practice anyways. I find them to be the easiest to follow and it connects your mind to an awareness of your body. It’s baffling how little attention we give to the sensations in our body). I also find that a body scan meditation is quick to learn and can be done anywhere anytime without being guided. I often do body scans when I struggle to sleep, it helps to relax me and it takes my mind off of the million thoughts racing through it. After a couple of guided body scans, I would suggest you follow up with a guided Loving-kindness meditation (another one that I find to be pretty easy to follow, but yet asks you to extend yourself emotionally and to open your heart in a way that you normally wouldn’t). If you struggle with anxiety and/or stress try a guided meditation to relieve anxiety and/or stress. Perhaps a guided mediation on self-love (I haven’t done this type of meditation yet, but it is next on my list. We could all benefit from a little more healthy self-love). You certainly don’t need to follow my suggestions; I am simply offering my opinion for a good starting point.There are so many wonderful guided meditation practices out there. If you’re feeling irritable just search “guided meditation for irritability”. If you’re feeling resentment towards someone or are struggling to forgive someone then search “guided meditation for resentment” or forgiving. There are guided meditations for pretty much every mood/emotion imaginable and they range in length from just a few minutes to over an hour. You have many many options. Find one that seems like a good fit for you and where you’re at in life right now, and try it out.
I encourage you to please give meditation the old college try. Practice at least 3 days out of a week for 2 weeks in a row. Plan for a time when you will have NO distractions and you can sit for as long as you wish in the practice (start slow though, I don’t want you to be thinking about the time when you should be focusing on the meditation, I want you to enjoy this experience and get as much as you can out of it). And don’t be quick to give up; you will come across some guided meditations that you don’t care for, it can be the voice of the guide, it can be background sounds on the video/audio, it can be the wording used by the guide. When you come across one you don’t care for, simply be nonjudgmental of the guide and yourself, stop the video/audio and move onto a different one that works better for you. The last thing we want to do is have a meditation practice where we feel frustrated or annoyed through the whole thing. That would be counterproductive. When you find one you like, add it to your YouTube playlist so that you can easily retrieve it the next time you want to do that practice again.
I also ask, if you give meditation the old college try, that you please check back in with me to let me know how it’s going for you…do you like it, don’t you like it, have you gained any enlightenment, what do you like about it, what don’t you like about it? I would love to hear your thoughts.
You can reach me a number of ways:
I look forward to hearing from you!
So, I leave you with this:
Be kind and gentle with yourself. Be nonjudgmental of yourself. Be forgiving of yourself. Express loving-kindness to yourself. Be accepting of yourself (even the uglies you don’t really care for in yourself). Be courageous enough to look inward and be brutally honest with yourself; do this with an open heart, with acceptance, without judgement, with love and forgiveness for yourself; and know that you are not alone in behaving, acting, and reacting in regrettable ways that you’re not proud. We are all human, we have all made mistakes, we all have things we wish we could undo or take back. This is just part of being human, we are perfectly imperfect. Some of the most valuable lessons are learned from our mistakes.
And how comforting it is to know that no one is perfect; nor does any reasonable person expect perfection from another.
Namaste ♥ I honor the spirit in you that is also in me ♥
There are many ways to word and define Namaste, I’ve offered you one of my favorites.