Did anyone else’s mother ever utter these words, or was it just me? What a concept. Life seems to expect us to be busy, busy, busy all the time, but what about purposefully being still? What? You mean meditation? Who has time for that? Perhaps this is part of what’s wrong with the world today. Many of us are buzzing around at light speed noisy and constantly focusing our attention on things outside of ourselves, our jobs, other people, grocery shopping, how badly the dog needs a bath, the kids are due for vaccinations; you name it, never taking the time to check in with what is going on inside. I know. I used to be one of those people. If more people spent just a little time being introspective, the perspective of the whole world could change. No, I haven’t been into the punch. It’s true.
Being still (meditation) is hard. Being still is not about activity; it’s about noticing, listening, breathing. It’s not about control; it’s about letting it all go. It’s not about thinking; it’s about being. It’s definitely not boring, but you do have to get out of your own way. You literally only have to sit still for five minutes every day to make a profound impact on your life and the lives of those around you. I’m pretty sure most people can make time for five minutes, but five minutes is an awfully tiny amount of time to keep track of, or is it? Heck, back when I was a lot younger and worked at Pizza Hut you could get a personal pan pizza in five minutes. That was when I first learned that five minutes was a lot longer than I thought it was. I could get a lot accomplished in five minutes. I could wipe down the salad bar, check on a couple of tables, and drop off some dishes in the kitchen, all well within five minutes.
So how come it’s so danged hard to sit still for five minutes. Well, what happens when I try to sit still is all these thoughts come rushing at me from all directions. Shoot, I still have a load of laundry in the dryer to fold, did I send off that email to mom, my boss, a coworker, writing ideas, my nose is itchy, where did I leave my water bottle, what am I going to make for dinner, what do I want for lunch…all flying at me at once. Trying to send them away only makes it worse. So I don’t send them away. These thoughts are only rushing at me because I’ve become quiet enough to listen. Each time a thought goes by I acknowledge it and say “okay” and go back to my meditation.
Meditation requires 6 easy things:
- A quiet and safe place to minimize distraction
- A willing attitude and spirit
- Letting go
- A little chunk of time
When I was first learning to meditate and was only doing it for five minutes (and believe me, five minutes is plenty to start off with, work up to where you’d like to be in five minute increments). The first four minutes or so went something like this: Okay, breathe. Intention: feel the love… Momdaughtersonlaundryhusbandshoppingguiltyaggrivateddiabetesyuckyfeelingwarmfeelingohthat’sbetter breathe…what a mess! This is why meditation requires daily practice if you want to get results. I got better at letting go of the thoughts that weren’t my intention focusing on my intended target and my breath in a relaxed way. I was training my mind that it was time to meditate and telling ego that it was time to step aside and that I was in charge, not it. Soon I was meditating for much longer periods and/or more than once per day.
Some of the benefits of meditation for this average human include:
- Better focus on tasks because my mind is better organized
- It got easier to identify what I wanted out of a given situation because I’d focused on it through meditation and could identify every detail in an articulate manner
- It got easier to use my intuition because I am more connected to my higher self and/or higher power (this is not about religion)
- Clearly defining goals and issues got easier because I’d given them the time and consideration that they deserved instead of pushing them onto the back burner
- Communicating my intentions, feelings, actions, etc. got easier because I could approach decisions from a place of power and confidence rather than fear, such as a fear of saying the wrong thing or what would happen if I made the wrong decision
- Helps me stay calm and focused under pressure or in emotional situations
There are lots of different meditation techniques and yes, there’s an app for that. Most people find it easiest just to start with concentrating on their breath, in and out, in and out and going on from there. Go on, try it. As a mother, I’m asking you, “Can you just sit still for five minutes?”
What are your experiences with meditation? Have you tried it? If not what do you think about it?