February 02, 2012
chantilly guide to meditation
i get stressed out. a lot.
and i get overwhelmed a lot.
i got to thinking about this while also pondering amy's self-love series, and wanted to share one of the ways that i help myself with this. and the truth is that i can go (and have gone) crazy without a spiritual practice in my life.
think what you want... it might be weird or new-agey... but i always find that things go much smoother for me when i have a consistent practice every single day. it usually involves at the very least reading some inspirational or spiritual text, and meditating. even though i'm not very good at it, i still try :P
if you've never meditated before, there's potential to feel pretty wonderful afterwards :) i've gone to guided meditation centers, practiced techniques in therapy sessions, and also do it on my own.
you don't have to subscribe to any particular religion to meditate... you can be an athiest! it's simply something people do to clear their heads, and let in space for healing and good energy. here are a few of my favorite tips for a practice:
1) find a peaceful place
this one might seem obvious, but it could be a challenge if your living space is small, or your home is chaotic (kids, loud roommates, etc.) but no space is going to be perfect, so work with what you've got!
in my very first apartment in brooklyn, all the windows were looking directly out at brick walls. there was one small window in the kitchen, where through a barred window, you could see a sliver of sky. that was where i meditated every day, and it worked :)
2) breathe, and count
one of the first techniques i learned was to simply count up to a certain number on inhales and exhales, say to the number 10. if you have racing thoughts like i do, it helps take your mind off of them. it can actually be a relief to concentrate only on the numbers and your breath.
next, give yourself a time frame. say, 5 or 10 minutes in which you are to count with your breath, undisturbed, and let no other thoughts enter your head.
(this can be really hard, so you might need to...)
3) use a mantra
it's totally okay to use a simple and reassuring word or phrase while you're meditating. like "relax" or "let go." whenever you feel worries or thoughts coming in, just gently release them, and say your mantra to yourself in your head.
so many of the words that come into our minds during the day are stressful ones... so choose your words with care. this is the time to be gentle with ourselves :)
it can help to picture yourself being somewhere safe and comforting. the beach? your childhood home? your mom's womb? it's all good, as long as it helps you to let go of fear and harmful energies around you.
5) don't give up
after the first time (or first few times), you may not feel any more inspired, happy, or lighter than usual. it might take a few tries. or, you might have an amazzing first experience, but subsequent times aren't the same. you don't know how to get the initial feeling back, and become disappointed.
this is all understandable and natural, but the important thing is that you keep trying. like anything, it takes practice. it might even take months, but i promise... carving a place out in your day to relax and let go of the stresses in your life will only have a positive effect on you in the longrun.
energy is such an amazing thing, and there's so much you can do with it. so many ways it can be depleted or replenished inside a person. these are replenishing exercises for your spirit.
hope you can find some use out of them :)