Meditation Is For Spirit Junkies – 4 Simple Steps How It Also Works For YOU
Do you think meditating is for spirit junkies, Yogis or self-named healers?
It maybe is, but it´s also for you. Do you sometimes feel restless, unconcentrated or short tempered? No, never? Then skip this article. But maybe you are unmotivated, weary or hyperactive?
Whatever it is: there is a way to overcome these feelings. There are ways to increase your mindfulness, empathy, be more concentrated or overcome old thought patterns. There is a way to clear your mind.
Recent studies have shown, that meditation alters your brain. Brain scans made before and after a study, showed that the amygdala, upon others responsible to regulate anxiety, decreased. In addition, the grey brain matter, associated with empathy, increased.
But how does it work?
While sitting down and taking a few deep breaths in, your heart rate automatically goes down. A stabilized heart rate together with a slow and steady breath helps the body to regenerate and regulate the work flow of your organs, while certain areas of your brain get stimulated. Over time your mind gets quieter and you develop a heightened sense of awareness. It´s hard to describe it, as it´s best to experience, but a regular meditation practice helps to you to master your mind.
How can I install a mediation practice?
The moment you consciously decide to meditate, you take a huge step towards yourself. You deliberately take time for you. To sit down, eliminate all disturbing factors: no phone, no cake in the oven, no kids. (If you have kids, you may either want to meditate first thing in the morning or later in the evening.)
Start with 5 minutes per day. How hard is this? Make up 5 minutes a day just for yourself. Only thing to do is sit down and teak a deep breath in.
Don´t get stressed about sitting there for 20 minutes in silence, pretending you have no thoughts. This is not working! Start slowly and my advice is: start with a mediation App.
There is nothing more soothing than a slow voice, giving you instructions on how to direct your thoughts. Start with a trial period, as you may not like the voice of the narrator. Try out different types of meditations, some are with music, some without. These variety of Apps only exist, because we are all so different and everyone has its own preferences.
Give yourself some time.
It is totally normal to get distracted in the beginning. It is totally normal to feel awkward. Sitting there in the middle of the day (morning, evening, replace with every time you want) and doing nothing. We are all trimmed to be productive all the time. Doing nothing feels weird. It`s important to give yourself some time.
Giving up is always an option. It´s equally good to give up tomorrow or next week. Stay on track for a couple of days, weeks or even months. You need some kind of routine to realize, how meditating helps to quiet your mind and transfer this calm state of mind to other parts of the day.
Don´t listen to your thoughts.
The brain is a funny thing. It has always something to say. Really, always. There is not one moment during my day, where my brain doesn`t comments, instructs, or gives me well-intentioned tips or even scolds me.
This is how my brain works and I´m afraid, I´m not the only one. So, don´t worry, if your thoughts are telling you that “this is stupid” or “you could really use this time more effectively”. You are not your thoughts.
You find hundreds of books to this topic. Google it and you will find books and links to mindfulness and conscious living. Your thoughts try to distract you as best as they can, but they are not real. Let them pass by. Don´t get stressed about it. Watch them pass by and just sit.
This time of practice is sacred. I know this sounds spiritual and spirituality is not for everyone. No matter how this sound, one reason I preferred a guided meditation (and I still do most of the time), I fall under category 3: thoughts all over the place. They comment everything I do or don´t do. Listening to a guided meditation helps me to concentrate on the voice and just surrender in the moment.
One of my early meditation experiences was to listen to Yogarupa Rod Stryker (author of the book “The four desires” – incl. guided meditations) and founder of the Sanctuary App. He has created a whole library of valuable guided meditations, covering the main aspects of life (Peace, Heal, Empower, Spirit, Deep Sleep). One of my favorite sentences is “make this time of practice sacred”. I really like this. It`s the core of meditating: You take time for yourself and you make this time of the day sacred.
Surrender to the moment and enjoy.
This is it, 4 points:
- give yourself some time,
- don´t listen to your thoughts and
Over time, you will realize, that you are not easily triggered anymore. Instead of “acting out” you react to situation/person, as you learned to take a deep breath first and observe the situation from a different angle.
Starting a meditation practice was just the beginning for me.
Together with my Yoga practice, meditating has helped me to become more mindful in my daily business. It supports the way I talk to my kids and the way I interact with others. If you act from a calm state of mind and a heightened sense of awareness, you are more open to the emotional nuances of others. Maybe today it´s not necessary to force your children to tidy up the room as you feel they had a really bad day at school. Maybe it´s not necessary to convince your co-worker to finish the presentation immediately as you feel a bit more time would take out the pressure for everyone. Be aware of the circumstances.
If you achieve to be the haven of tranquility in a hectic environment, you radiate this energy and everyone else around you will converge.
Throughout the months of practicing, I realized how my thinking had changed. Thoughts like “I can´t do this” or “this will never work out” can be dealt with more easy. I also seldomly get stressed about situations. Stuck in traffic? Switch on the music. Kids fighting? Leave the room.
Meditating helps to deal with stress and anxiety as you start to see your problems from a different angle. You realize, that things you carried along for long are only driven by negative beliefs and old patterns you possibly learned in your childhood. It´s a long way to overcome negative feelings and thoughts, but meditation is definitely a way to open your view.
Being mindful helps you to live more in the present moment. Not juggling three different tasks simultaneously, while thinking about dinner. A clear mind helps to make wiser decisions and develop new ideas, no matter which profession. Business leader, artist, professional athlete or housewife, we are all the same.
We all have intentions and desires. Do you want to develop new strategies, overcome anxieties or become more active? You will find a number of meditations helping you clear your mind and make you fit to reach your goals. Just sit down, take a deep breath in and remember:
“An unconscious mind is unfit for any paths.”
PS: This is what the “Letters to the Universe” is all about. Being mindful and live your life more consciously. Subscribe to my weekly prop mail to learn more about it.
 Already 2007 a study from psychologist Richard Davidson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that a 3-months meditation training increased the attention of the participants (check: centerhealthyminds.org).
 Meditation Apps I used: Sanctuary, Headspeace, but check out your App store for more info.