How many times have you clicked a link on the web only to get ERROR 404 – Page not found? This is exactly what happens when you try to meditate and your mind is chattering away completely oblivious to the ‘task at hand’ and that quiet place turns into an Error 404 – space not found. Most of the time this happens due to a busy schedule and unfinished business that has the attention of your mind distracting you from the present moment. These distracting thoughts are actually of past or future and seldom concern the Now that you are in. When engaged in thoughts of past or future a number of things occur. Your blood pressure can increase, heart rate goes up, the body can start to release excess cortisol and you become ‘disengaged’ from your body unable to recognize how these thoughts are creating stress, anxiety and eventually disease if it continues over a length of time. Everyone worries at some point in time, the key is to schedule time to resolve the event or decision that you are worrying about and set it aside until that time. Add the time to your schedule so you can focus on what you are doing now.
Many people think that meditation is difficult, that you must awaken the Kundalini and see it rising up the spine opening the chakras inducing an enlightened awakening in some mystical place. And while this is a tremendously wonderful experience, the concept leaves many people fearful of meditation. However, everyone meditates. That’s right, everyone; including you if you are reading this right now. Exactly what is meditation? Meditation is the act of focusing on something specific within your present moment for a period of time without thoughts of anything else. This can be focused attention on stillness of the mind, focused attention on drawing an object with no other thoughts but what the pencil is doing on the paper. If you are drawing but thinking about the new car you looked at yesterday, then you are not meditating. Meditation slows the heartbeat, the breath and allows the physical and mental bodies to rest. In this restful state you can gain clarity to make better decisions and improve the overall functioning of the physical body. When the body is filled with anxiety and you are in ‘flight’ mode and decisions are not always rational. Bringing your mind and body to a restful state clears the mind of garbage and creates a clear channel with spirit to receive guidance. During meditation answers just seem to come to you without effort.
If you have never meditated or are having difficulty meditating, try this simple exercise:
Go to the kitchen sink and turn on the water. As you turn the knob or lever listen to the sound it makes, how long does it take for the water to start to flow? Focus your attention on the water; what it sounds like, what it looks like, does it have a smell? What sound does it make as it hits the sink, or does it hit something sitting in the sink? Is the water running hard enough to splash upwards and if so what does it look like? Touch the water. Is it warm or cold, how does it feel? Wiggle your fingers in the water, how does the water react to your touch? How does your body change as you touch the water? Do you notice a change in body temperature? Put the plug in the sink and allow the water to fill. Add some soap and move the soap around with your hand in the water. Did the feel of the water change? Notice how the bubbles form, look at them closely. Are the bubbles staying together in clumps, have any separated and risen from the group? Notice how your body feels now, are you more relaxed? Listen to your breathing alongside the running water. Turn the water off and listen to the stillness in contrast to the running water. What other sounds do you hear? Are there sounds you have never heard before?
This is an example of simple meditation, a way to still the mind of chatter. Washing dishes can be a meditation in itself if you are ‘present’ with the water and the dishes focused on the act and what is involved in the process.
Most people when they meditate begin by focusing on the breath. What the breath feels like and sounds like as you inhale and exhale. Learning how to still the mind and meditate can be as simple as counting the breath on each inhale and exhale making sure the breath is even. Start by doing this for a minute each day and progressively working up to longer periods. The more you practice the easier it becomes to still the mind. Make your daily tasks like washing the dishes a meditation; a moment in your day when you quiet the mind and stay present in the moment without getting an Error 404. Over time you will no longer need to count the breath, you will feel if it is even. You can drop into your meditation at any time if you feel anxiety or stress coming on. Simply stop and start breathing. With practice, this daily meditation can reduce stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and restore sleep.
If you are more advanced at meditation and have found it hard to meditate, go back to the basics and find your breath.
I offer coaching sessions to help you get started with meditation and other stress reducing techniques. If you would like more information please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org