You know when you break a glass and all the shards go spraying everywhere? But if you recorded that and played it backwards and all of those pieces all of a sudden came back to while the glass is full of water again. That’s the same thing that happens to your mind with meditation. You are frazzled by 5.30pm in the afternoon. All the pieces are shattered everywhere, you can’t think, you can’t hold anything. You meditate for 29 minutes and the next thing you know everything becomes whole again. That’s why I love it so much! It allows space, it grounds me. @thebodybook@camerondiaz
A common misconception about meditation is that it aims to stop your thoughts. This is where people say, ‘I can’t do that’, or ‘I can’t sit still for long, I need to be up and doing something’. If this is you, it might be helpful to ask yourself why you think that is.
The truth is, meditation is not at all about stopping your thoughts. Thinking is what the brain is designed to do. Meditation just changes your relationships with them.
We have 60 000 thoughts a day, obviously most of them happen sub-consciously or without our awareness. So it’s difficult to know which ones we are giving our energy to. And as humans, we are naturally inclined to think of the negative. It’s called negative bias. We know that it’s more important to avoid death than it is to find food or anything else like that. So without becoming aware of the thoughts we are paying attention to, it’s natural to be thinking of the negative ones. And this doesn’t feel too good. Especially when we are so rarely in life and death situation nowadays.
It’s always helpful to switch negative and unhelpful thoughts for productive ones that empower us and make us feel good about ourselves.
Meditation allows our thoughts to settle so we can see clearly and make good and informed decisions
Imagine a sand storm. Everything is flying everywhere, it’s messy and nothing can be seen through it. But once the dust settles and everything is calm, we can see through the mess and everything is clear. Our minds are the same. When we have those 60 000 thoughts flying around in our heads and are thinking about the past or the future, it’s difficult to make clear and mindful decisions. It only takes one conscious moment to stop and let things settle, before we go on our way putting our best foot forward.
That’s where meditation comes in. It can help us become aware of our thoughts, and become observers of our mind. That way, we can consciously choose which thoughts to pay attention to because we can see clearly and have a calm and educated mind.
In this post, I will share with you some techniques for meditating to try.
You can sit or lie down in any comfortable position to count your breaths. To begin, you start by taking really deep breaths in your nose filling your belly, chest and tops of your shoulders, filling your whole lungs with air. Then you release out of your nose or mouth all the way out until there is no air left in your lungs. You continue this, counting one as you breath in, two as you breathe out. You continue until you get to 10, before you start again. You can return your breathing to normal when you feel like, and when you notice your mind wander, gently bring it back to focusing on counting your breath.
Whenever you noticed yourself throughout your day stuck on autopilot, it only takes a moment to do one or two deep breaths. This too, is meditation. Your breath is always with you, so you can use it as a tool whenever you feel the need to center yourself.
Box breathing is the idea that you breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts and hold for four counts before repeating.
And again, whenever the mind wonders you can watch to see where it goes before gently bringing it back to your breath.
This is the seated intention posture. It can be a nice way to sit while your practicing your box breathing or counting your breaths. It enables your spine to lengthen. To feel more grounded, you can put your palms down on your knees, or to be more open to receive, you could rest the backs of your hands on your knees with your calms facing up. See what you feel like on the day.
Child’s pose is for relaxing, relieving stress and fatigue, calming and nurturing. It’s another great position for counting your breaths or box breathing and to improve sleep just before you go to bed. Before I go to bed, sometimes I like to put my feet up against the wall! It brings my blood away from my legs and helps calm my mind before sleeping.
If you would like to know more about meditation, the benefits or the science behind it, I recommend visiting Smiling Minds if you haven’t already.
Featured images from me and @thehautepursuit