Updated: May 6, 2019
I used to always feel like I was in a rush. Like I was late, and had too many things to do and not enough time to do them. But lately things have started to slow down. And as I've slowed down, it feels like I have more time. I feel like I am living more in the present, and less hurrying to the next thing or worrying about the last. I think that much of this new feeling comes from meditating consistently.
I've been trying to meditate regularly since 1999! Seriously. I had a boyfriend back then who would meditate, and he was always so peaceful and happy afterwards. I tried it but would always wind up falling asleep, or my mind would wander the whole time and I never really understood the point. It did not make me feel peaceful or happy, usually just frustrated.
Since then I have had a few periods of my life where I tried again, only to have the same things happen. I would tell myself that my mind is just too busy to meditate, that it’s just impossible for someone like me. I didn’t see the connection to my peace of mind. And anytime there was a meditation in a yoga class, I would try to skip it, or leave early! I just didn't get it or see the point.
Well, I now see things totally different. I think that I am exactly the kind of person who benefits from meditation because my mind is so busy.
There was a time about a year ago when I couldn't sleep- my mind was literally racing from one negative thought to another, with no way to stop it. Or so I thought. I tried a guided meditation I found on Youtube. Magically, it worked and I fell right asleep! I couldn’t believe it and decided to try meditating regularly once again.
I began using the Headspace app because a friend recommended it. It starts out slowly for just 5 minutes, asking you to get comfortable, breathe deeply and listen to the guided meditation. The instructor talks the whole time and this enabled me to focus on his words, rather than on the words in my own in my head. I was able to meditate consistently using the app for a few months and have kept up a consistent practice of 4-5 days per week ever since.
I don’t use Headspace any more. I now use either Aware (another similar app with guided meditations) or Insight timer (where people upload their own meditations that you can listen to for free), or I find a meditation specific to what I feel I need in the moment on YouTube. Here is one I used during my liver cleanse.
Liver Cleanse Meditation
I usually meditate right when I get home from work, to clear my mind from my work day and ease myself into relaxing for the evening. I crave it the way I used to crave a glass of wine to calm me down and start my evening. And afterwards I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, like I've had a nap. I feel relaxed and know that I've activated my parasympathetic nervous system also known as the rest and digest system.
There are many different ways to meditate, but I recommend starting with something that fits easily into your life. It can be as simple as sitting in silence counting your breaths for a few minutes. It could be a walking meditation where you walk and are able to clear your mind and simply focus on the sights, sounds and smells around you. Or you can try guided meditations like I did, if you would like to be the "passenger" and allow someone else to lead you.
Finally, after all these years I'm finally meditating consistently and it feels so good! Any other meditators out there? Tell me your methods, I would love to hear.