I attend a weekly group meditation during my lunch hour. I am always so grateful for this shared experience of resting in stillness. The group is a safe place in which to let down one’s guard, quiet the mind and in the stillness, become aware of our divine connection to spirit.
The leader of the mediation group, Henry helps guide us from our mind consciousness which he describes as being busy checking things off our to-do list into our heart consciousness which rests in being and non-doing.
The irony of meditation is that you would think the disconnection from mind would make you feel empty, but the opposite is true. Henry guides us through a progressive relaxation and reminds us to not be perfectionists in our meditation practice. The mind fights giving up control to the heart and will distract you with errant thoughts and twitches. Henry reminds us to acknowledge the thoughts and return to our breath or mantra to return to stillness.
Once in stillness, you are overcome with a sense of peace, love and gratitude. It is an amazing place and the energy is amplified within the circle of seated colleagues joined in meditation. I call this connecting to the grid and have written about this experience before.
Although you might think that connecting to source makes you feel small and lost within the immensity of it all – it is the opposite. The connection fills you up to brimming until it overflows. And all of this is done within stillness. In non-doing with gentle breathing. In and out. Out and in like the tide. No rules. Nothingness. Empty yet full.
The challenge in meditation is to bring the awareness of our connection to source back to our day-to-day activities. I find that the afterglow of meditation stays with me for the first hour back at my desk, but that the connection gradually dims and is replaced by busy-ness. However, with intentional yogic breathing I can bring myself back to the peaceful oasis within – even if it is fleeting.
It is a natural that we spend so much of our lives chasing happiness but it is crazy that we let others define what our happiness should look like with checkboxes for the right job, the right car, house, clothes, vacations, friends, pets etc. You can add your own checkboxes to this list. Deep inside our spirit resists the boundaries created by all these checkboxes because it knows that our happiness does not lie in these false gods. Our happiness lies within ourselves and we spend our entire lives discovering this truth. Meditation helps you discover yourself.
So how do you start a meditation practice? Here are my seven steps to begin meditating:
- Give yourself permission to take this time for yourself. This is probably the hardest step because we define success by our busy-ness and attach so much judgement to not being busy.
- Sit in a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted. Remember this is your practice so there are no rules. You can sit cross-legged or in a chair with your feet resting on the floor or whatever position promotes relaxation for you.
- Close your eyes and start breathing in and out slowly. Focus on your breathing.
- Relax your body by focusing your attention on your feet, knees, upper legs, etc. progressively moving up your body. Initially, you might find it easier to use a guided meditation for this part until you can do this for yourself unaided. Keep breathing.
- Some people find it helpful to focus on a word or sound to begin meditation. I use the word “Om”. Breathe in. Breathe out saying to yourself, “Om”.
- Continue in this pattern as long as you can. As my mind quietens, I drop “Om” and rest in being. If my mind starts to wander, I reintroduce “Om” with my breath and return to stillness.
- Initially, meditate for short periods of time and increase by five-minute intervals. Know that all of this is meditation. The practice comes from the regular ‘being’ in meditation.
Resist the temptation of the mind to over-analyze and judge your meditation practice. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You don’t have to be in a certain space, building or country to meditate. Eventually, you will be able to meditate on a busy bus, an airplane or during a walk. You carry the ability to meditate within yourself. It does not cost anything but your time. it is a gift of stillness that you give yourself to rest in being. Meditation allows you to discover your best self so that you can share this with your world.