The secret is out-Meditation makes you more awesome.
More YOU; More self esteem, more ability to roll with what life throws at you, more productivity, more focus, more health, more balance, more giggles, more self awareness….I know you get it.
But what if it is literally painful for you? What if you hate it?
What if each time you tried in the past, your mind races so much, you want to jump out of your skin?
I get it.
Relieving fact #1…trying to stop yourself from thinking is impossible. It is NOT the goal of Meditation, and it is the nature of the mind to move, think, and bounce. Ultimately, we can learn to become the observer, like sitting in a movie theater, watching thoughts come and go.
Travel back in time with me for a second-in my mid 20s, I studied with a spiritual mentor, lived 8 years without alcohol, and really got into the spiritual gangster world. Just so you know, I have not left that world, just come full circle, hanging on the corner of spirituality and science, humanity and fairies.
Anyways, during that time I frequently visited a spiritual center, called Ashram. In this particular one, meditation is happening three times a day for 30 minutes each.
I remember how much my knees were throbbing. Of course I peeked around…everyone looked so peaceful, so capable, so happy. I was miserable physically, and found it really challenging to be alone with my thoughts. I really tried to keep it up, but because I jumped into the deep end too quickly, I resisted for another couple of years. Looking back, I simply went about it too upstream, aka perfectionistic, about it.
Pain and suffering, physical and mental resistance are the biggest obstacles to meditation.
The good news, there is nothing wrong with me, or you.
Depending on who you ask, you ll get a lot of different answers about how to establish a meditation practice. Since you landed here, the following is my opinion, and based on personal experience and collected data from over two decades as a coach.
Forcing something just so you can prove yourself to the world, that is the wrong motivation. Yes, we are programmed to glorify that way of doing things, but we are talking about a practice that helps you get in touch with your essence so you can let go of the good opinion, fears, lies, and negativity of the world and remember yourself; why not do it in a way that you enjoy it?
Why not make it downstream?
Here are a few suggestions, note that they are not based on any SHOULDS or dogma, with all due respect to ancient wisdom traditions, the point is to get started and for meditation to start sticking as a new habit! Trust that once you get a taste of the sweet stuff, you gonna wanna keep going for the rest of your life. Just like a rocket needs the most fuel to get off the ground, it takes the most energy to get a new habit off the ground.
Lay down. In your bed, on the floor, on your mat, in your lazy boy, in the grass, on the beach. Having your spine long and straight really helps, and eventually, once you start to enjoy yourself, move on to sitting in a chair. When you are ready, use a pillow under your butt so your hips can be higher than your knees, and your spine can be erect effortlessly.
Do it after getting sweaty. Especially for beginners, it can be hard to settle that nervous/excited energy. If you are calling yourself “ADD” or “anxious”, you will likely enjoy meditating a lot more AFTER a workout, Yoga class, run, or sex. I have seen a lot of people fall in love with Meditation this way, and eventually being able to settle into stillness without jumping jacks and burpees first.
Set a time for 1-3 minutes. The easiest, most non threatening way to meditate is to set a time for a tiny amount of time that you actually believe you can handle. I started with 3 minutes 14 years ago, and that was a big deal to me then, and I found that to be very hard at that time. Just recently, I meditated for 6 hours during a ceremony. Shit changes as we grow.
Reward yourself like dog. Ok, you are not a dog, but the reward system has its benefits. I admit, I dangle a carrot in front of me when I want to really establish a new habit. Perhaps a new shiny object if you make it through 7 days of meditation? Side note, I recommend NOT using sweets or booze as a reward, and I also trust your judgement. You=boss of you.
Let yourself be guided. The internet is imploding with guided Meditations (fyeah, there is a trend I LOVE), and coaches, teachers, authors, Yogis, and Meditation lovers. Free Apps like ‘Omvana’, ‘Insighttimer’ and co are also at your fingertips. If you like my style and voice, feel free to tune in at www.resonancespace.com.
Use sound therapy. Binaural beats, solfeggio tones, isochronic beats anyone? These are scientifically supported frequencies that allow our brain to reach meditative state effortlessly. What takes often years to master, reaching Alpha brainwave state, can be reached by you much sooner using these tones. Of course I got your back, once again, www.resonancespace.com. In a collaboration with Ivo Vossen, a German based musician, I have created a variety of guided Meditations, and regularly creating more.
Join a Meditation course. Meditation courses are popping up like mushrooms in a German forest during Pilz season. Not just in Yoga studios, community centers, churches, or universities, but Meditation studios are the latest brilliant trend. Case and point-I teach at Still Soul Studio, the first Meditation studio in Charleston.
Hire me. If you are really serious about your mission to up-level your HAPPINESS, HEALTH, and WEALTH through Meditation, hire me. I am annoyingly persuasive, and cracking somebody’s lock is fun for me. There is always, always, always a style of Meditation that will work for you, and a way to do it that you ll love it and look forward to it.
We all start somewhere, and you can trust that with time, practice, and especially enjoyment along the way, Meditation is going to become your key stone habit.
The trick is to meet yourself where you are, and to take steps that are enjoyable and do-able to you. Downstream. You don’t have to prove yourself here in any way, nor are you going to be more worthy, better-than, or holier by making it hard for yourself. That is just the ego competing and seeking approval. Wink wink.
Take it from somebody why used to make everything super hard for herself, until she realized that the truth is always easy, and the path of least resistance is actually smart in some cases, especially when it comes to making a habit stick.
Now, Meditation is not going to change your outside circumstances within 10 minutes. But it is going to allow you to shift perspective, fill up your tank, reconnect with that place inside you that is naturally strong, confident, and joyful.
Please don’t give up. Please keep practicing. A little space between two thoughts is all it takes sometimes.
Much love, E