Today, I want to talk to you a bit about meditation and how incorporating a meditation practice into your daily routine can help you find a little more peace and tranquility...
My journey to becoming someone who meditates regularly began a good few years ago when I was working in a very stressful job in London. I spent hours working or on the Tube, and I found my level of stress was becoming cumulative. Each day I got a little bit more stressed and wound up and eventually, I would end up snapping at people or just generally feeling stressed and anxious. Being me, I tried to jump straight into meditation by sitting in silence and expecting my mind to be cleared within seconds; of course this didn't work and it ended up making me feel even more frustrated because I couldn't even manage to sit quietly for a few minutes.
Determined to persevere, I bought a guided meditation CD and sat and listened to that. It was much easier to follow along with the visualisations given, but I did still find my mind wandering. It was at this point that I realised the mind is like the muscles in the body. You don't go to the gym once and expect to have toned muscles so why should training the mind be any different? It's about regular practise and focus. Some days you will find it easier than others and usually, the days when meditation are a real struggle, are the days when you really need to do it!
As my practice improved, I began to explore different forms of meditation, such as going to Buddhist classes, drumming meditations, and gong baths. I discovered that I like sound based meditations as they also allow the healing properties of the sound waves to permeate your mind and body. You get swept away on the sound and, as a bonus, it also gives you something to attach your focus on if you struggle to stay present when you're sat in silence.
My next realisation was that everyday tasks could be performed in a meditative way. Running, cleaning, walking, could all become active forms of meditation. They offer space to concentrate on a reasonably mundane task and allow the mind time to relax from making difficult decisions or from overthinking problems. Yoga is a fantastic extension to this; working on moving with the breath helps us to set a focus and to move in a way that benefits mind, body and emotions.
You don't have to meditate for hours every single day - even just 10 minutes a day can help. Start by just sitting, closing the eyes and taking some deep breaths. Allow yourself to feel your body relax and settle. As your body releases tension, you'll find the mind and emotions will eventually follow. Most importantly, don't be too harsh on yourself if you struggle to clear your mind. We spend hours every day filling our heads with thoughts and encountering situations that trigger our flight or fight responses, so don't expect to be able to sweep these aside on your first attempt. Stick at it...remember, practise is key!