Finding the Authentic Path.
Meditation can be described in many ways. A time out. A state of inner peace. A mindful state of being present. But what does it mean to you? Can you sit still or is moving more in your nature as a type of mindfulness practice?
There are traditional paths that demand focus, discipline and rigorous practices to break into a higher consciousness and move you toward a more enlightened state. But what if you are finding it hard to just begin? Or, to sit still? Maybe you get taken out by losing your focus or by getting distracted as your mind races? What do you do then? Quit?
You might tell yourself that meditation isn’t practical for you or that it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle because of other time commitments. You might feel a bit impatient with it because you know it might help with stress but for some reason, just doing it creates frustration.
Why not consider trying some lesser but very powerful approaches to break through that feeling of not being able to meditate. It is possible to still gain benefits from deep relaxation, rest and sharpened focus with smaller increments of meditative states. You can grow over time and reap the benefits from discovering what you love and what suits who you are.
Here are a few ideas to try.
- Shorter sessions. And, I mean short. This totally changed my perception of meditation.
- Just 30 seconds focusing on my breath, is meditation.
- One minute observing a bee flying from one flower to the next, gathering pollen, is meditation.
- Listening to ocean sounds and remembering days at the beach or a tropical holiday, is meditation.
All of these take your expectations and demands of structured meditations off of your mind and just permits you to just be present.
Rebelling against Structure.
Part of the resistance to meditation is about creating a new habit and establishing a structure. Some of the time blocks will naturally cause excuses and rejection of a meditation practice.
Structure is useful to gain more understanding of what works for you and ironically, allows more freedom.
Try different methods to improve how well you use your time. Some will be more effective and others will leave you feeling as if you need to invest more time in how they work for you to gain more benefits from them.
In the beginning, we can do ourselves a disservice by forcing something that doesn’t feel right. Perfect form or not, if it’s not for us, we will stop meditating before we realize the benefits of being able to achieve deep relaxation in 5 mins. Small pieces are easy to manage. It’s like “Eat your spinach” by throwing it into a smoothie. Learning how to meditate is no different. Find what you love and try adding it in bits and bytes. It will make you more proficient. Each time you add it to your daily menu you will find it easier to get into that headspace. Session time will increase naturally and at a pace that is perfect for who you are.
Energy states. Tiredness, burnout and distraction.
When we sit down to meditate, sometimes we fall asleep. Is this resistance or just an indication we need the rest?
Some experts might tell you that you have gained the benefit of finally allowing yourself to take a proper break and rest. Taking time off and allowing the body to deeply rest and heal itself is just as beneficial as meditation itself. In fact, you aren’t avoiding meditation. You are shifting your energy and re-setting the body.
Being exhausted and distracted is a common by-product of social media and giving phones/the internet a lot of our attention. But it doesn’t need to be a destructive habit we have to learn to live with. It can be soothed and eliminated with short, progressive meditative sessions that will revive and improve how well you focus and use your time.
Mindfulness practice is an incredible form of meditation that can be adapted to repetitive movement. Change your morning walks into a walking meditation. Add mindfulness to your run, swim, cycle, skiing etc sessions.
Let the movement create a meditative state. Focus and become completely present in the moment. These are excellent meditations you can use if you struggle with sitting still.
You can also adapt meditation to your true nature and fit with how you feel on any given day. For instance, when you aren’t able to take time off for a sports activity, just following the movement of your own breath could be both a meditation and mindfulness practice.
Focus and Observation. New ways to re-set the mind.
You can re-set your energy and state by using deep breaths and by choosing to focus on something such as a colour, a sound, a small bird outside your window. Anything, that captures your interest, except your phone.
When we learn how to block out distractions and focus on one thing, we naturally become more present. We learn to observe in more detail, expand our memory capabilities and open our minds to new and greater limits of performance.
Stepping into a more focused state is creative. We move into a high performance flow state and shift into a higher state of consciousness. Divine inspiration talks to us here. We get inspired and problem-solve through visualization. And , by stepping out of the stress, we allow the mind to re-set itself and find a calm and balanced centre.
It is possible to find the type of meditation practice that honours your energy, lifestyle and authentic nature without blocking your progress. Simple hacks such as using very short sessions to sharpen your ability to focus, relax and re-set the mind are critical for expanding your ability to sit still for longer sessions. Active meditations are also possible if the resistance to sitting still is strong and sessions often fail. Integrate moving meditations into your daily workouts, walks to work etc or by adding meditation into small time slots throughout the day. These can be done easily without interfering with where you are or call attention to you “taking time out”. Simple sessions as little as 30 seconds, are helpful for creating breathing spaces much needed for conquering stress and meditation impatience.
Not sure whether moving meditation is for you?
Listen to a deep relaxation meditation that is adapted to both walking and sitting still. Step into the Version 2.0 of yourself. This is Lightspeed’s latest meditation. You can listen to the full meditation [approximately 10 mins] and try it out for yourself by visiting Soundcloud.