Some time ago I decided that I wanted to start meditating, and make it a part of my daily routine. I first read all the right books about meditation and I watched tens of videos on YouTube. I also took an online class about meditation because I wanted to better understand the way it works, and also the effect it has on the body and on the mind.
I felt better when I realized that I don’t have to become a yogi, go to a retreat, or change my religion to meditate. When I finally had all the info I needed and started meditating, I put so much pressure on myself that I got exactly the opposite effect. Meditation was supposed to calm me down and make me relax; instead, I was tense and anxious, and I still didn’t know exactly how to do it. If I kept my back straight, I wasn’t quite relaxed. If I relaxed a bit, then my back wasn’t straight anymore. Sometimes, my eyes would open and I could hear some background noise. The 5-minute meditation I started with seemed like a one hour meditation.
But I wanted to meditate and then I changed my approach a bit. I found a comfortable position, I tried to relax, and I didn’t care that my back wasn’t perfectly straight. I closed my eyes and I was OK if they sometimes would open. I made peace with the background noise, I accepted it as a part of my meditation, and I returned to my routine. I realized that those 5 minutes of meditation can be anything I wanted them to be. I could watch my breath, scan my body, or quiet my mind. I learned to transform it into a gentle and soothing mindful practice because that’s what I needed it to be.
These are some of the reasons I enjoy meditation:
- I realized that meditation helps me develop a greater sense of awareness, because besides those five or ten minutes of daily meditation, I try to be more mindful and I pause more often during the day to taste my meals, watch the sky, notice the birdsongs, savor my coffee, and acknowledge my emotions. There is no point in being mindful for 10 or 20 minutes a day practicing meditation, if the rest of 23 hours a day I am unmindful.
- I learned to focus on my breathing – I didn’t even realize how superficial my breathing was. Taking a few minutes to close my eyes and watch my breathing can be really calming. Now I pay attention to my breathing more often while I’m driving, watching TV, reading or writing.
- I also experience a huge sense of gratitude and acceptance for everything the surrounds me, for the time I can spend meditating, for calmness and serenity, for my body that works so smoothly, for my breath, and for the fact that I can hear background noises.
- Most importantly, I’ve understood that meditation is not about not thinking at all. It is about training my mind to return to the present moment every time it wanders back to the past or into the future. It is about building the muscle that helps my mind return to the here and now and about self-control.
For me, meditation is a mental training that makes me more aware of myself and encourages me – even more – to appreciate every little thing in my life.
Have you ever tried meditation? How do you meditate?
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Lisa Arcelia says
Hi Ana! I don’t think there’s a “wrong” way to meditate, especially if you are seeing benefits, like you obviously are 🙂 Sometimes I squirm too and find it hard to sit. But that’s ok, as long as I am compassionate to myself. There are more ways to access that inner peace than just sitting like a buddha in the traditional sense.
I meditate on my drive in to work- I turn off the radio and just focus on my breathing, the beauty of the early morning, and feel my inner body. I also take mini-breaks at work and do slow mindful breathing. As Eckhart Tolle says “One conscious breath- in and out- is meditation.” I also focus on my inner body at night when I lay in bed, and it puts me fast asleep. As a person who used to need sleep aids a lot, this is heaven!
Mindfulness and meditation have really been the best things that have ever happened to me spiritually and emotionally, I am so grateful to have access to these wonderful things! 🙂
I’m so glad meditation works for you, Lisa. And I too, sometimes, turn off the radio when I’m driving and I just enjoy the ride. So refreshing! 🙂
I just discovered your blog and love finding like-minded people! Aside from sitting meditations, I love walking meditations. I have a park near my house and it takes 45 minutes to walk around- the sounds and sights of nature help keep me in the present moment. I also find it easy to “sit” with gratitude during my walking meditations. Look forward to reading more of your stuff!
Shelly, thank you so much! I love walking meditation – I love being outside. I have to tell you that I recognize you. You have a beautiful blog and interesting posts. I can’t wait to connect more here and also in the WAYWOW Community soon. Have a lovely weekend! 🙂
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
It is an exercise that I would like to add too but I need to become more disciplined in doing it! I like that you said exactly what a lot of people trying this practice goes through and considers it a failure instead of a process of making it what you want it to be.
I have to admit that not everything is perfect and I’m still working on my discipline too, but I’m enjoying every second of it. Have a nice weekend! 🙂
Great tips and a wonderful approach to meditation. I’ve tried it a few times and need to incorporate it more into my daily routine. isn’t it amazing how irregular one’s breathing is when you concentrate on it? I guess being in the moment and being aware of one’s breath makes it all the more real and focused. You’ve inspired me to take 5 minutes out of everyday. Do you find yourself meditating at the same time everyday?
I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and for your always gracious comments, Loretta! I usually meditate in the afternoon whenever I find 5-10-15 minutes of quietness. I’m glad you decided to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Let me know how it goes. 🙂
Destiny Pelphrey says
I really enjoy this blog.
Thank you, Destiny. 🙂
I’ve never tried meditating but I want to! I definitely need something to help me relax and keep my mind in the present.
I’m sure it will calm you down and help you relax. Try it and let me know how it goes. 🙂
Sara Giboney @ Sweet Success says
I think you found the key! Just making it work for you!
The Olive Blogger says
I have tried it a few times, part of a routine I was encouraged to take on meditation to help combat my anxiety…however, I find it makes me more anxious!! (Same reasons as you, not feeling like I was in the right position, too much noise and surrounding stimuli) maybe I should give it another go and just “let it go”!~
Karen Grosz says
Ana, I love this. I finally could do meditation (still not great but it works when I take the time) when someone told me that meditation is successful when your brain calms even by 1%. If you come out of meditation with a different perspective or a little more gentle, it did its job. Wow. I will be featuring this post on this upcoming Let’s Get Real Link Up. Thanks for continuing to be a regular.
Thank you so much for featuring my blog post, Karen. I’m so glad you like it. Meditation really calms me down and I just feel better after only 5-10 minutes. Just like that! 🙂
Sarah eliza @ devastateboredom says
I really enjoyed this post!! Especially the part when you pointed out the importance of cultivating mindfulness during the rest of the day too! So true.
Thank you! I’m glad you found my post useful. 🙂
I really didn’t even know what meditation was or what it was for. I like the part about focusing on being present, and then incorporating it into the rest of your day. Thanks for an informative post, Ana!
Thank you, Shari. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and for your always gracious comments! Have a lovely weekend! 🙂
I really love this. I always thought I was just an extreme failure at meditation. I couldn’t stop thoughts from occasionally entering my mind and I didn’t know enough to push them back out and continue on. I also love that you are emphasizing the fact you have to do it in a way that works for you. I need to focus more on being in the moment, we are so busy in our lives, right now, I am always looking towards the next thing, so we’re not late and we can get everything done. But I need to spend more time in the now and this could really help. Thank you so much.
You are so right, Nikki! We are always in a rush, working on too many things at the time and asking too much from ourselves. Meditation helps me calm down and it reminds me of the things that really bring me joy. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂
Baby Castan On Board says
Meditation is great. I don’t do it as often as I would like, but is sure does help when I am stressed out.