Our mental agility serves us well when we are under pressure to make decisions. But what if that lightning-quick mind of yours is making things challenging for you to meditate? How do you calm the “machine” down whenever you want to? How do you relax?
Impatient meditators unite.
One of the most challenging things about meditation is just sitting still. If you are used to being busy and are not acquainted with “Being”, except when you are asleep or quite frankly, unconscious, it makes sense why many people take years to train themselves to become more mindful, peaceful and open to the downloads of insight through meditation practice.
Have you felt the “discomfort” of being still? I have! An accidental fall forced me to be still in order to recover and to heal. But, you don’t need to be injured to recognize we are fast-moving mentally and often, physically. It’s no wonder so many people suffer from the initiation process of meditation, discouraged by monkey-mind and being overtaken by restless. It’s easy to focus on and amplify the agitation. And, so many other things you could be doing right now. Ever had that thought?
You have a choice.
Meditation can be perceived as a daunting task. And, just another item that gets added to your morning TO DO list. Or, you can see it as a playful conversation with your own soul. What is it observing right now? What would my wise self tell me if I got quiet and listened? Here, you have access to incredible insights, intuition and creative ideas. See the difference? Play-time versus a controlled session. But meditation can be both… as you like it.
Do you really need long sessions to gain benefits from meditation? And, second, is it true that you will need years to become remotely good at meditation?
Self-soothing, calming, mini-sessions of deep relaxation can be life-altering and amazing. I experienced the restorative benefits of deep relaxation after a cycling accident. I am totally convinced that deep relaxation enabled a re-set, an accelerated healing, and the calming of a psychological injury from the accident. As I learned, basic components can be creatively assembled to inspire deep states. And, many elements can be altered to suit your mood, energy and objective to restore, to elevate, to focus etc.
Small sessions. Smaller bites of exposure to meditation and visualization can be very effective in priming your mental taste buds for relaxation on another level. After awhile, you will be able to step quickly into a deeply relaxed state and reap the same benefits as if you had spent time in a longer session. As an impatient meditator, this path worked for me. It inspired me because I felt less bound to larger time slots. I also achieved excellent results with short, focused sessions. Which, tells me that we are capable of achieving much more. Regardless of being, shall we say a little impatient about meditation.
Gain more control over your state. And, make friends with the monkey-mind. Follow as you are inspired. Try different techniques. You will certainly find one that is perfect for who you are and your lifestyle.
Silence is golden.
In my last article, I talked about the value of silence. How peace and quiet inspires, empowers and offers us an escape from distraction sickness. Turning off the beeps and the flashes of imagery in ads and social media is therapeutic. We need to dial down the stimulated mind and take time in our day to just sit and relax.
Gratitude rewires the brain for success.
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Shifting your consciousness and your state is possible with a simple moment of gratitude. Appreciating what is and what we have generates a change in our mindset. In fact , it is possible to rewire the brain for success. Once we acknowledge our blessings, it changes what we focus on. More positive and appreciative for the smallest of things, enables us to perceive the little things that bless us.
The mind body connection is also reinforced by handwriting. So, write three things that you are grateful for this day. Say them out loud and close your eyes. Connect to these blessings. Be thankful.
Try Moving Meditations, if you can’t sit still.
Use simple movements to hypnotize your monkey-mind. This can be as simple as observing yourself walk. Notice how your feet touch the ground, your toes curl, the shift in the weight on your feet as you take another step forward.
Focus on one thing about your step. The pressure on your foot. Your toes. Counting each step. This becomes a walking meditation. In short bursts, train your attention to zero in on details. These short interval trainings, strengthen your ability to concentrate, and asks your mind to sharpen its focus and grow in its ability to observe detail. It breaks the bondage of the overactive and agile monkey-mind. It can, if you are lucky, offer a temporary bliss zone you can “walk into”.
Empty out your mind through movement if you struggle with sitting still. At the very least you can rise above the discomfort and find a place that creates another form of discipline.
Feeding your mind.
As a small child I loved sparklers. These were long pieces of wire with a flammable coating of aluminum, zinc, iron or magnesium flakes at the end. They look like bulrushes. Once you light them, sparklers send sparks flying until it exhausts and burns off all coating on the wire. Now consider that your mind is like that sparkler. Only that, it needs specific nutrients to add a spark to enhance, and carry out normal mental processes and more, to feed its ability to expand itself.
Choose nutrient dense foods if you have a choice. Stay vital and healthy. Inspire great energy and joy with micro-nutrients. Glow up my friends! It will be reflected in your meditation sessions, the feeling of being present and in the expanded “aliveness”. It will make you smile inside more often.
If you notice you are feeling exhausted, stressed out, overloaded and unfocused, maybe try altering your diet a little and see if it changes how easily you can “unravel” and relax deeply. This will make a difference to your meditation sessions and overall well-being. Monkey-mind will still be there but less “wired” on sugar or additives.
Types of Meditation to tackle Monkey-mind.
Body awareness meditations can a great place to start. They can be be simple as noticing your feet for example or progress to a more advanced level of understanding. When you first open the door to meditation, you will realize that most will ask you to relax, to become more aware[ present] and reconnect with your own body through breath, visualization or to pay attention to how you feel and notice the sensations in your body.
Just focusing on your feet. Tightening your toes and letting them relax. Feeling the muscles tense and relax shifts your awareness from being in your mind to being more present and in your body.
Relax your body from your feet to the top of your head. Expand your body consciousness and awareness. When you are more present, you will feel more as well. More life. More senses. More presence. More information about what you are observing in the moment that will enhance your ability to remember things and retrieve information.
Focus on something for one minute.
Focus on one thing for one minute. This is a challenge at first but an interesting way to sharpen your ability to focus on detail. You can improve your memory by taking one minute meditation breaks. And, by learning to shut out other details, you gain mastery over the monkey-mind. Short time gaps will place it on pause and shift your capacity to capture more detail.
Disconnect to reconnect to yourself.
Turning off devices is another form of meditation. You shut out the interference and the noise. You take back your own power and attention. You decide how you will spend your time and what you will notice or ignore.
Some might argue that this isn’t meditation at all. It is about learning to be alone with your own thoughts and your own energy. That is the beginning of an epic journey into meditation. It is a gentle way inward. Let go and discard the interference. For anyone who has been under a lot of stress and feeling the pain of burnout, I can tell you that this is heaven re-visited. Peace.
Breathe. Mindfulness training.
Your breath is a powerful medium for altering physiology, your consciousness, your focus and your mindset.
Use it to create deep relaxation quickly. Breathe in deeply and slowly. Follow the flow of air in and out of your body. Allow the air to infuse you with more energy, vitality and to sweep away stress and fatigue.
A disciplined breathing mediation called the Box breathing method can sharpen your mind and focus. It can be used in high stress environments where details are critical and the ability to recall them is an advantage.
- Breathe in for the count of 4.
- Hold for the count of 4.
- Breathe out for the count of 4.
- Hold for the count of 4.
Disciplined schedules. Start with small time blocks.
Schedule in small time blocks to meditate. It can be any thing or style that suits your mood. Listen to nature sounds, breathe or just close your eyes and imagine being in another peaceful place, fully relaxed.
If you are in the middle of a busy day, these small respites are high performance tools you can immediately use without calling a lot of attention to yourself or disrupting your workflow.
Seeing a blue sky in your mind’s eye. Focusing on it for a moment might be enough to re-set your overloaded and overworked mind to sharpen and dial into tasks at hand. These can be done in “stealth” mode with your eyes open and by slowing down your breath a little.
I have inserted a sound bite here from Soundcloud to give you an idea of a guided meditation that will train you how to shift into stealth mode whenever and wherever you want.
Many layers of Inner peace.
There are many layers to inner peace. But what really matters is being able to experience what that feels like for you. Simple states of deep relaxation, bliss zones of repetitive movement and many others where meditation has moved aside “too much” mind chatter and gives you a short whisper of a feeling is what can motivate more interest and discipline in meditation.
Prayer is another way in which we open ourselves to divine guidance and to healing the broken record thoughts that cause us so much grief. Jump to another information highway. One that is filled with all that is good and one that will inspire you to be more of who you are meant to be.
….whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If you are an impatient meditator take heart. You are on the verge of discovering what works best for who you are. Small concentrated and playful sessions will do your mind, body and soul a lot of good. Step into silence when you can and listen to what your inner self is telling you. Listen to your heart. Observe yourself, observing something. Explore deep relaxation on another level, while you are moving.
There are so many pathways to inner freedom friends. What might seem like a popular pursuit for so many, is really a personal invitation from you to know YOU better.
Have a terrific week.