Sitting quietly to meditate is not something that comes naturally to me.
When I first decided to try it, during a personal crisis that was causing me untold pain, I was skeptical that meditation could make a dent in my suffering. The whole idea of quieting my mind and concentrating on … nothing?
How is that possible??? My mind is racing constantly; it flits from one thought to another with the exuberance and agility of my new puppy. Ginny doesn’t really walk through a room so much as bounce and tumble through it. Much like my thoughts. But in my desperation to find some solace I decided to try meditating.
Because I know my busy-as-a-labrador-puppy mind, I chose an app that offered guided meditation. Listening to soothing music as someone gently led me through a daily introspection was initially just relaxing. The app I chose is called “Infinite Abundance” by Ananda (Deepak Chopra’s company), but other popular apps are Calm and Headspace, both free on Android and iOS.
Beyond relaxation, here’s what I’ve learned by doing (almost) daily meditation for two months:
- There’s no perfect way to do it. I like to lay down rather than sitting in some sort of cross-legged, contorted lotus position. I figure, it’s more important to be comfortable than it is to mimic some “perfect” meditation posture.
- It’s perfectly okay to have racing thoughts. Most of us do. To keep my mind from wandering too much (seriously, I’ve written entire blogs in my head while I was supposed to have been meditating) I use an upbeat mantra to focus on.
- Meditating for 20 minutes is great if I’ve got the time, but 5 minutes works too. The apps allow you to adjust the time of your guided meditation and, just like with exercise, it’s better to do even a quickie session than to skip it.
My new meditation practice has given me a taste of calm and clarity amidst my struggle. For that reason alone it’s been worth pushing past my initial resistance and quieting my oh-look-a-squirrel! distracted thoughts.
If you’re curious about beginning a meditation practice of your own, you’ll find links below to the apps I’ve mentioned.
Have a happy, healthy and peaceful week!
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