With spring arriving, it a good time for a little “Spring cleaning.” I remember the first time I tried to meditate, I sat on a mat and was told to focus on my breathing. For an entire 30 minutes, I had one million other thoughts running through my head and my breath was not one of them. I got up off that mat more frustrated than when I sat down. I felt defeated and like a failure. There is a image that comes to most people’s mind: a person in white sitting in a crossed leg position, generally very fit, with their hands on their knees or in a prayer position. Even the thought of getting on the floor makes meditation seem like a process. Meditation is for everyone and there should be no guilt associated with it.
I want you to know, meditation is really just the contemplation of nothing. I know when I first heard this my thought was how can I not think? It is not about thinking but letting go.
- Sit: on a chair, on a Zafu (that little meditation pillow), or any place you are comfortable. This is the most important step. You are going to have to sit still and not move so be comfortable.
- Set an alarm: Starting out try 15 minutes (if that is too hard go for 5 minutes.) This takes practice, letting go is harder than it seems. With practice it will become easier and you can move up to 30 minutes. You want to do it everyday. A daily practice helps keep the mind clear and free of distractions.
- Close your eyes: When starting out this is an easier option. You can also do meditation open eyed but it takes much more concentration.
- BE: That is it. Thoughts are going to come in your head, there is no way to avoid it but let them move like waves from the ocean, in and out. As your practice progresses, you will notice that they will quiet and become less frequent. When you find yourself focusing or entertaining a thought, you can always take a deep breath and let it go.
Over time you will notice that the stresses of life will seem easier. It will almost seem like there is more room in your head. You will also feel a calmness in your everyday life. This is a perfect way to start spring, a little spring cleaning of the brain.