Ever since I could remember, whenever I would sit down to meditate, I would last no more than 10 minutes. Why just 10 minutes? Well, one of two things would happen…either my mind would over-function or it would under-function. In the over-function mode, it would rattle off a to-do list that could fill an 8 x 11, single space Word document (which is something that most of us are familiar with). It’s what’s known as the “monkey mind”.
Ever since I could remember, whenever I would sit down to meditate, I would last no more than 10 minutes. Why just 10 minutes? Well, one of two things would happen…either my mind would over-function or it would under-function. In the over-function mode, it would rattle off a to-do list that could fill an 8 x 11, single space Word document (which is something that most of us are familiar with). It’s what’s known as the “monkey mind”. On the flip side of that is the under-function mode, and what I refer to as survival meditation. It happens when you’re burned-out and you need to just eject yourself from life for 10 minutes before you say or do something regretful.
So, that was me up until recently when I went on what I affectionately call a Spiritual Bootcamp. I was away for a week in beautiful Idyllwild, CA at a Source Seminar, and before the week ended, I experienced what it felt like to calm my mind and meditate for an hour with neither of the modes mentioned above.
I’ll share the 5 things that helped (and still help) with my meditation practice.
- Have a quiet space that is yours! Make an altar with special items to you…pictures, statues, candles, incense or essential oils for relaxing. Really whatever speaks to you that brings you joy and peace.
- Have a routine of meditating at the same time every day. Some believe that opening the day and closing the day with a meditation is best and I can see the benefits of doing that. For me, I definitely start the day with meditating and if by the end of the day, I’m not falling over tired, then I’ll do another. And sometimes, the meditation is just laying down in bed without reading a book, or responding to an email or checking facebook. It’s simply laying down and doing some intentional breathing, feeling peace and calm wash over.
- I also suggest doing some yoga postures before sitting down to meditate. Some helpful postures are Down Dog, Cat Cow, Reclining Hero, Pigeon, Rabbit, Camel and ½ Tortoise. Doing some movement before going into a meditation has helped me wake my body up at 5:15 in the morning (otherwise I imagine I would fall back asleep sitting up!)
- After about 15 minutes of yoga, try a breathing technique called Alternate Nostril Breathing. It helps calm the mind and prepare the body for meditation. You can check out this YouTube to see how it’s done.
- Set a timer so that you’re not having to check how much time is left in your meditation. This allows you to sink into your meditation without worrying about going over.
Finally, as a bonus, when doing the yoga postures, you could quietly say some affirmations to yourself to prepare for quiet meditation. Some examples are…
- Perfect peace and poise are mine today, as I concentrate all my power and ability upon expressing thy divine will.
- Today I will open the door of my calmness and let the footsteps of silence gently enter the temple of all my activities. I will perform all duties serenely and saturated with peace.
- I will interiorize my attention to perceive the joyous rays of my soul. I will train my mind to enjoy the beautiful scenery of thought in the invisible, intangible kingdom within me.