Lots of people ask why I started this site. Well, like all of us, I have experienced UPs and DOWNs in this wild ride called life! And in the last few years, I really started considering how I’ve chosen to react or respond to the twists and turns on this roller coaster. Many times I felt out of control, fighting against the pull of gravity – ending up exhausted and frustrated. So I finally started exploring other options because I knew there had to be a better way!
And so I stumbled upon meditation! This is one of the most versatile ways I’ve found to effectively navigate in this busy, rapidly changing, tech-savvy environment. Today, you won’t hear anything about your third eye, chanting for hours at a time or clearing your chakras, (although these could be intriguing topics for future posts).
This article is dedicated to highlighting a few practical ways to incorporate meditation in modern life. A frequent comment I hear is “I don’t have time” and in response to that, I’ll simply quote Gabrielle Bernstein who says, “Do you have time to feel like crap?” These ideas don’t require a big time commitment – instead, they encourage getting creative with your time management skills and choosing to create a new, beneficial practice that can improve every area of your life.
Silence is golden.
- Morning is an ideal time to start the day off with stillness. Initially, set the alarm clock 5 minutes earlier than you normally do and take this time to be silent. If possible, find a quiet space and make yourself comfortable – sitting up straight with eyes closed is a common posture. Yes, there will be thoughts that come and go. There is no effort required – just simply be – watch your thoughts as if they are clouds floating through your mind – detached from their meaning and emotion.
- The snooze button kept you from getting up early? That’s okay – there are still plenty of opportunities to create space for yourself. For those who work in a business setting, do you have an office or access to a conference room to spend 5 minutes during your lunch or just before you leave work in the evening, to create a silent space for yourself?
- Walking down the street or commuting on public transportation? While these may not be quiet environments, you can choose to let the noise just move to the background and with your eyes gently open, focus your attention inwardly and pay attention to only your breath. Count to 4 as you inhale, then hold your breath for 4 counts (modify to your comfort level) and then breathe out again for 4 counts and hold again after the exhale. Repeating this exercise for just a few minutes can minimize stress, anxiety and provide a new space for clearer, more directed thoughts.
Do the same thing…differently!
- This is often called a “pattern interrupt”. Every day, you might have the same commute. It doesn’t have to feel the same. Maybe you walk, bike or drive down a side street one day, instead of the typical route you take. What does the scenery look like? Get curious. Maybe you see a big tree and contemplate how long it’s been alive for and who planted it. Whatever it is, the goal is to create a scenario that provides a connection to what’s part of your experience right now! Feel it and be present in the moment.
- Gratitude is the attitude. When we identify gratitude and choose appreciation over expectation, our entire perception changes. Think of 3 things that you are most grateful for – this is especially useful when you’re in a stressful situation. If you are able to step away from the experience and quickly identify some things you are grateful for, it can create a completely new perspective for the situation at hand. And some days when it doesn’t seem like there’s much to be thankful for, you can simply start with, “thank you for the ability to breathe, for my lungs and in simply having this thought, my capacity to think”.
Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from. – Seth Godin
In life, there will always be ups and downs, just as the tide ebbs and flows. We need both to create a balance and provide a vantage point of appreciation for the other side – it shows we are alive. These are just a few tools that provide more choices, so when the roller coaster does take an unexpected turn (and it will), we can choose to respond mindfully, rather than reacting to the circumstance…and this can make the ride so much more enjoyable! Have fun on this roller coaster adventure!!
~ Health, Happiness and Prosperity ~