Thursday, September 26, 2013

Things That Bring Me Joy: Meditation


Today's focus on something that brings me joy is actually a new thing for me---although I've meant to take up meditating (in the truest form of the word) for years, I just never got around to it.

Sure, when I was doing yoga three times a week, it involved some meditation-type mental exercises, but I had never tried meditation for the sake of meditation until this last week.

The fact that it's already become one of my life's joys just goes to show how impressed I've been by making it a daily practice already.


Now, because I'm a total beginner (and completely overwhelmed by busy-ness most of the time), I didn't set my expectations too high for my meditation sessions:

I decided that I was only going to meditate for five minutes every day.

Five minutes!

You would think you couldn't get anything done that was all that beneficial in only five minutes (besides eating a bowl of ice cream and playing a little Spider Solitaire, maybe).

But I've already noticed a big difference in my mental state on the days when I actually buckle down and do it---I feel free from the daily stresses that normally plague my brain, and I have been falling asleep so quickly at night that I've been amazed.


My strategy is simple, really:

I retreat upstairs to our spare bedroom, tell Matt to not bother me (and turn down the sound on the computer and/or t.v.), and I sit cross-legged on the carpet.

I first focus on my breathing, forcing myself to inhale for counts of 8-10 and exhale for counts of 8-10.

Then, when my body starts to relax enough, I do one of two things:

If my mind is buzzing particularly hard about something, I just do a simple "Sooo" sound/thought on my inhales and a "Mmmm" on my exhales.

If my mind is more clear, I try to focus on a more specific mantra. I've been trying out a bunch of different mantras in the time since I've started, but lately I seem to have stuck with "stillness" and "free to emerge, even imperfectly."

When my mind wanders or I start to feel the familiar feelings of stress and anxiety welling up in me, I calmly acknowledge their presence and bring my mind back to my mantra or my sounds.

I have a feeling that if I'm able to make this a true habit in my life, it will be completely course-altering.

Have you ever tried meditating? If you were to meditate (or if you do), what would your mantra be?

3 comments:

  1. So cool that you've gotten into meditating! My husband and I both kind of got into it when we were dating, and just this morning we were talking about making it a daily thing again. Even just "being mindful" on a walk or something helps me settle down my scattered, stressed out brain in huge ways. I remember feeling like a big weirdo when I first started to meditate (especially with the mantra stuff), but it's definitely a practice with value. I especially like doing it to clear my head before praying... Seems like it helps my prayers a lot. Thanks for your post!

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  2. I think this is a great idea. Did you study something to give you an idea for the sounds to make during inhale/exhale?

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  3. I need to do this. I'm sure I would benefit greatly!

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