A few weeks ago I wrote this blog post on the beginning of my meditation journey. Slightly more than thirty days later, I want to share what meditation is doing for me so far.
Firstly, what even is meditation? Meditation means awareness. Watching your breath, listening to the flow of water, I even believe that whilst walking you can be in a state of meditation. Some people would absolutely disagree and perhaps this is correct when you think about historical meditation but like anything in the world, meditation has adapted to modern life and there are many variations of it. I think what is most important is not what meditation should be, but what it can be for you.
When I started practising meditation on an *almost* daily basis, I asked myself what I wanted to gain out of the experience. I wanted to feel peaceful, grounded and more focused on my day-to-day activities. I can be quite guilty of looking towards the future and perhaps not always focusing on the now. I have made a few changes to my habits to work on this, and meditation is one of them.
Throughout the past month I have meditated with the app called Headspace, with relaxing, soft music and with a recorded meditation download by Aubrey Renee. The latter is probably my favourite but they all have different pros and cons, and ultimately I feel pretty much the same after just 10 minutes; soft, comfortable and chilled.
When I have meditated in the past, I took it way too seriously and got frustrated with myself when my mind would wander or when I felt myself getting fidgety, or when I wasn’t feeling lovely and bliss after. This time, I went into it knowing full well these things would happen, and that was fine. Read any article on the practise and it will tell you that it’s absolutely normal to feel these things. The key is to recognise and acknowledge these feelings, and then let them go again. Knowing this helped me greatly and it was comforting knowing that it wasn’t just my mind that wouldn’t shut off, but most people’s.
After a meditation practise I usually move quite slowly for a few minutes after and I try to keep the new things I’m feeling with me for as long as possible. If I would get caught up in the stress at work I would take a few moments to breathe deeply. If I was struggling with a run I would bring things back to my breath for a while and inhale some energy. If I couldn’t get to sleep I would start my ujjayi breath just very calmly to slow down whatever was going on in my mind and help me feel grounded again. The common factor here? My breath. Learning to control my breath is by far the best thing I have learnt in my yoga practise so far and now I am using it to develop my meditation practise.
I found this poem in a book I am reading wanted to share it with you –
I would love to hear about your experiences and lessons learned within meditation and what works for you!