MY NO BULLSHIT GUIDE TO MEDITATING
So it's a big thing these days, this meditation stuff. But if you don't actually know how to do it you can easily be put off even trying. Before I go into a little more detail about my back to basics do's and don'ts...I simply want to outline the step by step guide on what I personally do when I meditate :
1. GET COMFY!
2. THREE BIG DEEP BREATHS & BECOME STILL
3. BRING YOUR FOCUS TO YOUR NORMAL BREATH & OBSERVE HOW IT FEELS.
4. MENTALLY TALK YOURSELF THROUGH A BODY SCAN. (HEAD TO TOE AWARENESS)
5. FOCUS BACK ON THE BREATH
6. BRING YOUR FOCUS BACK TO THE ROOM AND OPEN YOUR EYES
THING NO.1 -
DO NOT OVERCOMPLICATE THIS
The word meditation can be overwhelming for some. It can come across all 'hippy-ish' and some people just do not want to associate themselves with this word.
But guys.......it's breathing...
We do this more than anything in the whole world!...all the time...even when we're asleep.
The only difference is that when we're meditating, we're tuning into our breathing rather than doing it without realising.
JUST. BE. STILL
So I'm just putting it out there that there really is no need to go find a mountain or a lake, sit crossed legged and start chanting. If we perceive meditation to be like this we're never gonna incorporate it into our daily lives (which is the only way we're gonna feel the difference)
All ya gotta do is be still. And then work on making your mind feel still too :)
You can be sitting in a chair, you can be lying down in bed, you can be riding the god damn bus. No need to prepare a special room with incense and crystals (although that's nice if ya fancy) but really, just get comfy, be still and focus on your breathing.
OBSERVE YOUR BREATHING
It's all well and good saying "just focus on the breath" but this can be unclear if you're not very familiar with meditation.
So here's a few simple things you can start to observe when you decide to 'focus on the breath' :
- the air coming in and out through your nose
- the air coming in and out of your lips
- the air hitting the back of your throat
- the rise and fall action of your chest
- the rise and fall action in your belly
By simply tuning into how your breathing actually feels you are bringing your focus to one singular thing - and viola - this is meditating.
DO A BODY SCAN
I find it really useful to do a head to toe body scan soon after beginning my meditation.
Taking your awareness from the top of your head all the way through the body to the toes, simply observing how every inch of your body feels brings me to a pretty intense level of relaxation.
(Plus this takes about 90 seconds and if I really don't have long, it can sometimes be enough to make me feel calm and refreshed.
When you take your awareness through the body, actively allow each part of it to soften. Allow your neck and jaw to hang as you pass through these parts, drop your shoulders on the way down, allow your body to feel heavy.
Often we think we're relaxing but we're still holding a lot of tension in our body...you'll soon realise by doing a body scan, how much more you can loosen up!
YOUR MIND WILL WANDER
So you're comfy. Great. You're tuning into how your breathing feels and you're starting to feel pretty 'still' (physically and mentally)..Great great great! You've got this.
But then all of a sudden you feel your mind start to wander...you realise you've started thinking about what's in the fridge and instantly feel like you've failed?!
You think - "Gee this is hard, I'm rubbish, I can't do it, I'm even more frustrated now, I'm giving up, what a load of bo***cks!" (We've all been there, promise)
But actually...your mind wandering is a GOOD thing! Without your mind wandering, you wouldn't be able to practice the art of recognising that it's wandered and bringing your focus back to the breath.
It's THIS that is like the bicep curl for your brain! (and we all know that no bicep curls means no muscles ey!? - you gotta train your brain to get results too!)
DON'T WORRY IF THERE'S NOISE
So, a little note on noise.
Naturally you'd think that to meditate, you need to be in the quietest possible spot with absolutely no distractions. (And yes, that probably helps) but it's not always feasible.
So the way I personally learnt to deal with noise is simply not to fight it.
Let the noises become part of your meditation practice, and allow them to come to you one by one. Once you tune into them ALL you will soon find you're disconnected to any particular sound and will no longer find them a distraction.
It's actually quite a nice feeling listening to the busyness of the world around you as you've taken some precious time out to pause...
..and if you think of it like this it can actually emphasise your moment of peace!