I’ve been practicing regular meditation most mornings for the past three years as part of my morning routine. And as much as I love meditating, and reaping the benefits of it, lately, I’ve been struggling with it.
Over the past three years, I have learned so much about myself through my meditation practice. There were long periods of time when I meditated easily, my mind was always calm, and I was present and aware of my surroundings.
However, I am currently struggling with calming my mind. Through my reflection on this I realized a few things about myself and what meditation means to me.
I prefer guided meditation. I like to use an app that allows me to search by topic or to follow a challenge. The app Unplug is my favorite. Their app offers daily meditations, monthly challenges, categories to choose from, and the ability to search.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned about myself:
It’s Hard to Quiet My Mind
Lately, it takes immense concentration to quiet my mind. My mind is constantly replaying conversations I’ve had with people. It’s also always thinking of what’s ahead, whether it’s what I’m making for dinner or the next article I’m planning to write, or even a conversation I might have with someone one day in the future–weird, I know.
And I’ve found that it oscillates between the past and future without even a hiccup in between. My stream of thought is a constant flow and the volume is turned up.
So, through meditation, I have come to this realization– my mind is loud. I have come to be aware of how active my mind is and how I have to consciously calm it, relax, and take in myself and my surroundings.
Meditation has helped me with my mindfulness practice. With my active mind, I found it hard to be in the present moment. I’ve been able to use meditation techniques to stop the constant jumble and be able to focus on the present.
I Need to Slow Down
Another realization is that I’m always on the go. Not just my mind. I like to be moving. Sitting down and focusing on my zen is not easy. Meditation has made the correlation for me to my lazy days.
I rarely allow myself to be lazy. And by lazy I mean a couch day. Just chill and relax. I used to love those when I was younger, but as an adult, they don’t exist in my life. Not even when I’m on vacation. And when I’m sick or just experiencing burnout, I really struggle to decompress.
Sitting for just one movie is hard for me. I find myself getting up in the middle of a movie, walking around my house looking for something to do, and then coming back to the movie.
During that walkabout of my house, I might put a few dishes in the dishwasher, look through my bookshelf for something to bring back to the couch with me, or pick up a knitting project so my hands have something to do.
Meditation helped me realize this. So I’m focusing my meditation practice on doing nothing. Sometimes, I choose not to do a guided meditation and take time to just sit and try to shut off my mind, my hands, and my movement.
Again, this comes back to me trying to be present and practice mindfulness– which I love and believe is extremely important and necessary in life.
Meditation Can Be Relaxing If You Allow It To Be
One of my favorite meditative practices is while lying in bed. I lay on my back and imagine feathers brushing over me. They start at the top of my head and I swoosh them down my body slowly.
When I mean slowly, it should take about three to four minutes to get from the top of your head to your shoulders. During this time I’m only thinking about the movement of the imaginative feather brushing over me. And anytime my thought strays, I start back at the top of my head.
I use this practice to fall asleep when my mind is racing. You know, when I’m thinking past, present, and future thoughts all at once. Well, this practice stops that and I’m able to stay focused as I lull myself to sleep.
I typically never get past my chest, by that point I’m fast asleep.
I like to use this technique throughout the day if necessary. Sometimes, when I’m at my desk and have a ton of things to do I have a hard time focusing on just one. So, I take a few deep breaths, brush my imaginative feather from the top of my head to my shoulders, and collect myself. Then, I’m ready to get to work.
Really all that I’m doing is relaxing myself through meditation.
I Need Meditation In My Life Everyday
Over the past few years, I’ve gone through brief lapses from meditating regularly. During those times I have no inhibitors for my active mind. I allow myself to get a little out of control, resulting in not being able to reign in my thoughts as efficiently and effectively as I’m able to when I meditate regularly.
When I don’t use the tools that help me calm my mind and focus I’m not at my best. It’s during the long periods of meditating regularly that I really see beneficial results. When my mind is naturally calmer, I don’t have to rely on the tools as frequently, and I can either sit and relax for longer periods of time or stay more focused when needed.
I recommend everyone add meditation to their routine. Do it regularly and reap the benefits.
How has meditation helped you? Let me know in the comments below!