Meditation - Mystical or Mundane?
Meditation is an enigma for many of us! We have all heard fantastic stories of people having outrageous experiences in meditation. Being transformed to another place, withstanding extreme temperatures or pain, changing the molecular structure of water, or finding #innerpeace that seems unattainable to the likes of the uninitiated. Yet, #science continues to prove over and over how beneficial meditation is for us mentally, physically, and emotionally. So, we try!
If you are like me, regardless of the hours on the proverbial mediation cushion, you cannot help but wonder, 'Am I doing this right?' No bolts of lightning, no angels' voices leading me to stone tablets, and certainly no levitation. I am not sure what I was expecting when I committed to meditating #daily, but clearly, I was expecting something dramatic.
Daily meditation might sound like a lofty goal, but some days, it is only 5 minutes, and other days my timer might say 25 minutes, but I was asleep for 15 of it. During this process, I have come to learn a few things about meditation practice and myself. What follows are a few of those things.
#Meditation does not ONLY happen cross-legged on a pillow chanting 'om.' It can be that way, but it can also occur when I am mindfully washing dishes or mopping the floor. I do some of my best meditating while walking in nature or the #floatcabin. The Great Out Doors has always had a calming spiritual quality on me. Being in the float cabin removes all distractions and makes it much easier for me to disconnect from outside stimuli and reconnect with my inner experience.
Meditation can be mundane, but that DOES NOT mean that nothing is happening. Let me use working out as an illustration. You can go to the gym five days in a row and still see no results, but with consistent workouts over months, you will see improvements in your muscles or aerobic capacity. The same goes for meditation. I meditate, day in and day out, often feeling like nothing is happening. Indeed, nothing dramatic has happened, but when I check in with myself, I notice I am more #peaceful and less affected by the chaos that is happening in the world around me.
The more I meditate, the more significant the #results. When I finally started meditating regularly (again, still feeling like I have no idea what I am doing), I found that if I skipped a day or two, I felt a difference, as if I was off in some small way. I realized that mediation was working for me, even though it was subtle. Note, historically; I have not been a great observer of 'subtle'; I needed BIG signs to get my attention. Conversely, when I meditate regularly, I find events that previously caused me anxiety or fear have less #impact to my peaceful state of being.
There are probably as many ways to 'mediate' as there are human beings – mindfulness practice, religious practice, chanting, guided, transcendental, yoga, sound baths, drumming, dancing, mantras, and on and on. If one way speaks to you – GREAT, if it doesn't - GREAT. I have found it fun to #experiment and play with various meditation practice forms without judging the experience.
The most important aspect of meditation is doing it. #Commit yourself to practice, even if it is a minute a day. What have you got to lose? What I lost was anxiety, inner turmoil, and misunderstandings I had about the nature of existence and myself.
Follow your breath. Focus on your breathing, breathe in, breathe out. #Focus on your feeling the air in your nose or the back of your throat. Focus on the rise and fall of your stomach or chest. Focus on the sound of the air going in and out of your nose or mouth. Whatever works - remember you are experimenting here. #FollowTheBreath.
Practice the art of #nonjudgement. Our minds WILL wander - period. Our job is not to judge, criticize, or badger ourselves into submission. Our mission is to refocus on our breath – as simple as that. Give yourself a break and #relax. Meditation is not an Olympic sport (at least not that I am aware of), but it can do amazing things for your overall #wellbeing.
Be willing to experience nothing, meaning no matter what happens or doesn't happen, commit to your meditation practice. Understand that if you are unwilling to remain committed to practice through the potential boredom, you are committing to not having a #magical experience either.
Be willing to #letgo of control. Most of my meditations have been uneventful. However, every once in a while, something cool happens. It might be colors, sounds, a deep and intense 'knowing' of something I was unaware of previously. The trick here is to keep following the breath and experience. The first several times this happened, I got so excited that I derailed the moment because I started THINKING with my logical mind. What a buzz kill I can sometimes be. So, word of advice, go with the experience, see where it takes you.
Find a #buddy or group to meditate with. This action creates #accountability. It can be incredibly easy to cancel on yourself but most often we will not cancel on others. Bonus, it is nice to share your experiences with others that are practicing meditation as well.
I sincerely hope that if you read this, it has inspired you to find a way to use meditation to enhance your well being. Whether by taking a nature walk, sitting with a guided meditation on your smartphone app or disconnecting in a float tank, or some other way.
I wish you the inner calm and #joy that mindful meditation has brought me.
Be well my #floatyfriends