Through years of personal meditation practice coupled with reading the teachings of Buddhist practitioners and tuning in to my own inner voice, I've explored many meditation variations. When I first began meditating, I found myself in continual states of frustration, feeling like I couldn't meditate properly and I was never doing it 'right'. I wanted to meditate, but couldn't find a way that felt like it worked for me, regardless of if I practiced on my own or with a group of people. When I allowed myself to ease into that resistance and let go of how I believed meditation 'should' look, my practice transformed. In this blog, I'm sharing the top 5 tips I've found along to help your meditation feel more efficient, effective, and enjoyable.
When you begin meditating, you may find yourself feeling frustrated that you can't turn your mind off, like I used to feel. We often find ourselves feeling like we should be able to sit in silence without resistance and transcend to states of peace and flow instantly. While that can happen, that isn't the point of meditating. Meditation is designed to let you drop the resistance to your thoughts, not to drop the thoughts themselves. When you can allow yourself to embrace the journey, embrace the thoughts, embrace the resistance, that's when you are truly meditating, because with meditation what's in the way, is the way. The obstacles are the path, and our ability to be successful meditators has nothing to do with whether or not we have thoughts. It has everything to do with how we approach and handle the thoughts we have.
When we use meditation as a quick fix to make ourselves feel better, we often repress and suppress emotions that really need to be released. But when we open ourselves up to our meditation practices being full of ups and downs, energy and release, then we can allow things to bubble up and over when they need to. As you become more aware of your internal experiences, you may find yourself experiencing your emotions more deeply, and this is where emotional release can be very supportive.
When we exhale, the mind cannot hold on to thoughts. The more you pay attention to your exhale, gently lengthening each out breath and pausing before your next inhale, the quieter the mind will become. Remember, this isn't to get rid of your thoughts. It's to help you go through your thoughts to find the peace within.
Many meditation practices focus on breathing in a certain sequence or for a certain length of time. All of those experiences happen with your mind, and going deeper into your mind is the opposite of what we want to accomplish when we meditate. So instead of thinking your way through your breath, allow yourself to feel your breath. The temperature, the flow, the rise and fall of your chest. Allow your breath to be experienced, rather than thought.
There is no right way to meditate. There is no should, no doing it wrong. Whatever you experience is exactly what you need in this moment. Allow yourself to bring the concept of alignment into your meditation practice. If it does not feel good, let it go. If you do not feel aligned to meditating daily, think about how you can bring a lighter approach to your meditation practice. Drop the shoulds, and bring in the coulds. What could you do in your meditation practice that will feel best for you right now? Follow that answer, and then see what happens.
7 simple daily practices to cultivate more alignment, inner peace and presence, starting today.