Thought for Tuesday
Challenge: Look at this flower for 2 minutes and just be, no thoughts just the flower. Can you do it? I couldn’t, that is till now!!
On the subject on meditation, I tried it for years. You have no idea how many times I decided I would practice mediation, how many times I was told it would be really good for me, how it lowers stress levels in the body and yet how much stress not being able to mediate caused me.
Anyway last year I decided to try again and this time I downloaded an app suggested by a friend. Using this app solved the mystery of meditation for me. I followed the ten minute mediations to begin with and then moved as they grew in time and one day I got it.
I had heard people talk about following the breath, now how abstract a notion is that? How do you follow the breath, it took time and now I know how to follow that illusive breath.
You see I spent all of my time thinking. I remember one day a friend that used meditation said to me to sit and look at a flower for 2 minutes, just sit and look at the flower. Well I sat there and looked at the flower and wondered what was I meant to be thinking, its yellow, it moves with the wind, it’s healthy looking, it’s nice… and on and on it went in my head and I got so frustrated. I looked over at her and she was just sitting there looking at the flower outside the window.
Anyway at the end of the 2 minutes I said to her I just don’t get it what was I meant to be thinking about and she said I was not meant to be thinking, like I knew what she meant, ‘I always think’.
Now though I get it. Meditation is just about stilling the mind, not thinking. It’s a skill and not difficult to learn with a little practice and more importantly with an explanation of what you are meant to be doing, it makes sense.
So how can I help you learn to meditate, what cracked it for me? It’s not about sitting in the right position, it’s not about being in a certain place at a certain time, it’s about just being comfortable and having a few minutes when you won’t be disturbed. Whether you sit, lie down or stand the very first skill you need is to learn to concentrate on your breathing. I do not claim to be an expert in this field but I can help you to begin.
TIP: So what I do is breath in and out and count only up to ten, inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, and exhale 4 and on up to ten. As you say the word 1 feel your breath go into your body and as you say the word 2 in your mind feel the breath leave your body. Concentrate on this breath over and over up to 10, count each breath and concentrate on the word and breath only. When I say concentrate on the breath I mean feel it go into and leave the body. In essence what I am saying is think only of the breath and the number.
Your mind will wander, don’t worry just go back to where you were or start again. You can expect your mind to wander over and over in the beginning after all you are used to using your mind all day to think, why expect it to stop straight away. But it does over time, as you practice you will notice your mind wanders less and less. Practice this again and again, standing in a line at the supermarket, sitting in the car outside the school. Do it with your eyes open or closed, make it a general part of your day and in no time you will get it, I did!
Meditation is meant to be relaxing to the brain and the body and in time it is but remember like any other new skill learning it can be stressful in itself and especially if you put pressure on yourself. Of course a place where you are not going to be disturbed is best but I cannot recommend enough practising it anywhere and any time until you understand the notion of following the breath.
Once you master this skill and it becomes almost automatic you can follow all types of meditations.
So ask me now can I sit and look at a flower for 2 minutes and not wonder for the whole time what am I meant to be thinking?
Yes I Can and So Can You!
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