I think it’s pretty clear that I’m no expert on meditation. The only person with less experience in meditation than me is the one who hasn’t done it before. However, I did do that course recently and there was some info that I found super useful. These were things that surprised me and helped me to understand the point and the process of meditation a little better. So much so that I was actually able to meditate for 20 mins straight for the first time ever in my life.
From the comments left on my last post about meditation and from conversations I’ve had with friends since, there seems to be quite an interest out there in understanding a few of the basics so I thought I’d share these with you today.
Here’s the stuff that floated my boat:
- It’s ok to be comfortable: you don’t have to sit in the lotus position to meditate. You can sit however you damn well please. You want to be comfortable so you can focus on the actual purpose of meditation which is to still your mind. The purpose is not to sit there thinking oh shit my back is hurting, I have a cramp in my leg, damn this sucks.
There are really hard core meditation folk that will tell you that is all part of the process and sure, maybe they get something valuable from being able to ignore pain and still the mind but I would call that super advanced meditation. It isn’t necessary. You can still the mind without it.
If you can sit with your legs crossed (crossed, not lotus, see below pic)
and with the hands as per the pics then apparently this is good for energy flow. However like I said, it’s not necessary for success.
- It’s ok if you fall asleep: bet you didn’t know that one. It surprised me too! The instructors at my course said if you are falling asleep then it is because your body is so wound up it needs it. It is actually a really common occurrence for particularly high strung people when they first start meditating. Keep on trying. The more you meditate, the better it will be for your mind and body and eventually you will be unwound enough to get through a session without falling asleep.
Also, it is common to fall asleep if you are doing a meditation at bedtime. Don’t worry about that.
- Thoughts will pop into your mind: this is normal and it happens to EVERYONE. Except maybe those super zen monks who have been meditating forever. But you know what? I bet if life suddenly dumps a big pile of turmoil on their doorstep that it becomes more challenging for them too.
So what can you do about them? There are a few options:
- You can tell them to stop. In your mind of course. So the thought appears and you say stop. And then you can imagine it disappearing or doing a donut and getting out of there. And then another appears and you say stop and do the imagery thing again. And so on.
- You can acknowledge the thought and say “thank you for reminding me, I will think about that later”. My mind LOVES this one.
- You can use a meditation style that helps you remove thoughts from your mind. There are a few out there that I’ve heard of (putting it in a balloon and watching it float away or writing it on a blank canvas) but my favourite is to write the thought on leaves as they are floating down a stream. I find it really calming.
You will be surprised at how few thoughts you actually have. I always imagine the stream to have a shit tonne of leaves in it and there are always more leaves than thoughts. Once you’ve run out of thoughts for the leaves (and you will) you can settle into a more still meditation where you focus on your breathing or whatever technique it is you prefer.
If you are looking for some more help with how to get started or to keep going check out this great blog: 8 ways to make meditation easy and fun. I’m irked by the fact that she calls herself a goddess but I love the way she writes so I got myself over it. She keeps it real and has some great tips. Check her out!
Pssssst. Don’t forget that I am starting a 30 day meditation challenge soon! This Saturday, 13 July, in fact. I am going to be blogging about the journey so don’t forget to follow my blog if you want to see how it all works out. You are certainly welcome to join in the challenge as well. So far, Jennifer from over at More Than An Expat has said she will join in and blog about it too so it will be interesting to see how our experiences compare. You don’t have to blog about it to join us though. You can do it however you please. It’s totally up to you.
There’ll be a post with all the gory details on D-Day (this Saturday). Catch you again then. ~MFS~
- Meditation Rocks. And if you think you can’t do it then this one’s for you*. (mummyflyingsolo.com)
- meditation practice: coming back to the breath (conscioussanity.com)
- The Myth of the Serious Meditator (livingvipassana.com)