Meditation was something for yogis and the crunchiest of granolas.
You know, something for people without their feet planted firmly on the ground. It was something they did to take them out of life – to become “detached” from all that was around them.
Or so I thought.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Just as yoga had quickly shattered my notion that it was simply about stretching the muscles, meditation has revealed how a spiritual practice effects the physical. Meditation grounds me so fully into myself and into my life that there are days when I can’t function (on a solidly practical level) without it.
Sitting in stillness quiets the inner voices calling out all the shoulds to my day.
It removes the worry about what others will think and gives me the freedom to just be who I am – one of the things that can suck my energy dry if I let it.
Along with yoga, meditation has become the logical antidote to our overly stimulating lifestyles, to the stress levels at the root cause of just about every ailment we currently know.
I love how mindfulness and breathing have trickled into the mainstream world of business, sports, medicine, law – everyone’s getting in on it.
It makes us more relaxed, more productive. Seems so counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? That taking time out of you jam-packed day to sit quietly would improve how you work. But it does.
Since starting my morning practice about a year ago, my ability to focus and stay on task has sky-rocketed. It’s effect is abundantly clear on the days when I don’t sit for those vital 10 minutes and I find myself back in some form of working-mom-ADD.
No lotus position required.
That’s the thing: It doesn’t take a huge investment in time. It doesn’t take any special equipment or cost a dime (unless you want to train more deeply).
Simply sit in a comfortable position – legs crossed or feet on the floor – so that your sitting bones are settled evenly on the cushion/chair/floor and your spine is straight.
You can get apps to help with specific techniques, such as at headspace.com where they have intro videos and a free trial period. (No, I’m not an affiliate.)
The simplest is to stay focused on the in & out of your breath, and label any thoughts as such and let them float away as a cloud.
That analogy always seemed rather airy-fairy and elusive to me until I heard the folks at a headspace explain it like this:
The blue sky is there all the time, yet on grey days we focus on the clouds, letting them get us down or change the focus of our day. But, get in an airplane and there it is: perfectly blue sky.
Who you are, the essence of you, the seat of your gifts is like that blue sky: there all the time. Again, we focus on the clouds; our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, criticisms, bad news, etc. as the source of our self-definition. Like the clouds, these things are nothing more than what’s most readily visible in a given moment.
In the 10-15 minutes that I sit, I revel in the concrete sensation of being fully in touch with my essence. I’m reminded that it’s accessible all the time by simply parting the clouds.
Spending that time with that internal truth is just as valuable as spending 20 minutes playing with your child or chatting with your sweetie. It strengthens the relationship.
Acknowledge it or not, housewife or CEO, holistic practitioner or plumber, that deeper connection to self
- Builds trust and improves the communication channels, giving you better access to your values, and priorities.
- Helps you get clear about your needs
- Eases the struggle with lifestyle choices…and business choices
- Deepens the connection to Source and engages the Universe to move with you and for you, in whatever you undertake.
- Improves your health and vitality. Unplugging from the constant buzz of the outside world gives your adrenals a break, which means better sleep, concentration, creativity. More libido and less belly fat. (Read more about those interactions here.)
When I was preparing the “recipe card” for vibrant health that I now hand around as a business card, the first “ingredient” was a no-brainer.
Warm your heart with daily contemplation until it holds the steady glow of a pilot light.
That’s the source of your inner glow, the heat that sparks any action you take, the flame of the gifts and integrity you spread to your loves ones, your community, to the world.
So I dare you, have a seat and breathe.
Try it for a few days then come and tell me what you’ve noticed. Or what’s changed for you in a big way if you’ve already got a practice going. When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.
Get your friends in on it too! Use any (or all!) of these social share buttons to dare them.
i still have a difficult time, sitting and quieting my mind. but 3 weeks ago i began a contemplative study of meditation and breathing. beginning steps, but i am loving it already. i often take meditative walks, where i am fully aware and mindfully experiencing all of my senses.
Meditation is such a simple way to gain insight and focus. It is a vital part of my morning routine. It really does only take a small amount of time and has such a huge impact. It can be tempting to skip, but I have always found that I make up much more time that what I invest throughout the day. Great post!
I started doing yoga in the 70’s in college. Our yogi was your stereotypical “spiritual guy” who drove the VW van. He may have been what brought us back, can’t remember 🙂 I leave and come back to yoga and seated meditation regularly. I enjoy a less structured meditation through movement and silence, painting and gardening. This post is so valuable to remind us all that mindfulness and silence is necessary for well being. xo
This will date me but I remember transcendental meditation and sitting for 20 minutes twice a day to reach that state of quiet that was otherwise out of my reach. I fell asleep. Every single time. In recent years I tried it again when I watched a woman who I had known for years transform a depression/mood disorder with a consistent meditation/yoga practice. Right now I enjoy a ‘moving’ meditation, chopping vegetables, slowly, for soup, taking a walk through Meadowlark Gardens, slowly, without my cell phone. That is my entry point. Perhaps, some day, I’ll even return to the cushion. Thank you, Cathy, for another thoughtful post.
Mindful movement does open a whole other door, doesn’t it, Sue Ann? That’ll definitely be the subject for another day. Weeding the garden draws me in like nothing else.