Meditation is one of the tools that allow us to heal so we can begin to make the changes we yearn for. Through the practice of quieting the mind and connecting with our soulful self, we can invite and cultivate the peaceful, happy feeling we want to experience.
So, how do we begin? First, I like to use the analogy of the mind like a new puppy that you are trying to train to stay. You gently put the puppy’s little butt on the ground and tell her ‘stay, stay’ and you walk a few feet away. And what happens? The puppy happily follows you. So you repeat the process again, ‘stay, stay’ you say to the puppy and she follows you. The puppy looks at you with excitement, as if to say ‘I only want to be with you!’ In time, with much patience and perseverance on your part, the puppy learns to do what it’s told. Our mind is the same. It’s very used to being free and wild. With the same patience and commitment we trained the puppy with, we can train our mind.
To begin, I suggest short, frequent meditation sessions. Five or ten minutes in the morning and evening are fine. Begin using a very simple meditation technique and reminding yourself of why you want to begin this practice. “I’m here to train my mind, to cultivate peace that comes from a calm mind” personalize this statement to reflect your intention.
A simple meditation practice:
Prepare the space by turning off the cell phone, putting away distractions, light a candle. You can play some soft music in the background.
Sit in an upright position with your spine straight. Your shoulders are level and your hips are level. Visualize your muscles relaxing as you are supported and held by the earth, strong and steady. Get a strong sense of being in your body, in that moment.
You can either close your eyes or lower your gaze. Take 3 or 4 cleansing breaths, in thru your nose to fill your lungs and belly then exhaling slowly and deliberately thru your mouth. Inhaling, creating space inside of you, exhaling, releasing and letting go.
When you feel complete and relaxed, begin a simple counting meditation.
Inhale thru your nose for the slow count of five, hold this breath for the count of five, and exhale slowly thru your mouth for the count of 7. Continue this pattern for 10 breaths or more if that feels right to you. Then bringing your attention to your heart center. Notice or visualize the beating of your own heart. Connect with this heart center and saying to yourself, ‘this is me, this is my heart’ and just allowing yourself to linger here. Notice how your body is feeling, gently notice how your mind is feeling, no judgment, just witness yourself.
When you feel complete, close your practice by taking a few cleansing breaths and gently opening your eyes. You can also do a smaller versions of this all throughout the day. If you are feeling stressed or anxious or sad, just close your eyes for a moment and take a few slow breaths, doing your counting and connecting to your own heart. Saying to yourself ‘this is me, this is my heart’ and allow your self a smile for a moment.
Notice how this simple practice can help to bring you back to your body and the present moment, where life really exists.