Meditation is not for everyone. As I typed that I felt the reverberations of every yogi collectively sigh. But it's true. I believe meditation, in the sit or lay quietly, clear your mind, and focus on your breath sort of way, is not a good fit for everyone.
When I was first introduced to meditation during college I had this idealistic perspective, this vision of myself sitting still for hours on end while I found enlightenment. If you knew me back then you would know that it took a lot to get me to even slow down for meals or sleep. My mom used to call me "flutter by," reminiscent of her favorite insect while describing my constant motion, energy, and drive to find the next amazing, captivating experience.
And so I began my journey, both personally and professionally, to find how to integrate centered, calm, present states into my life (because we have all heard how wonderful it is for us!) in a way that was genuine and stayed true to my nature. That journey is long and arduous, and not necessarily important for this post today. But I learned a few key lessons that are worth sharing:
1) Meditation is not about doing it the right way, or even a certain way. It can happen anyplace, anytime, because it happens inside of you. This idea is a lot less new-agey than it seems. The purpose of meditation is connecting to your inner self, clearing your mind and creating space in a way that brings about clarity and peace. Every individual can do this, in their own way, with a little assistance.
2) The scariest part of creating space or finding your meditative process is taking an earnest look at what's really inside. Creating space within yourself means facing the demons that are hiding, quirks and foibles that are lurking, and feelings which cover up deeper, darker feelings.
3) It really is a journey.... just as your body, brain, and life expands, changes and grows, your internal meditative space shrinks and expands in kind. Some days it feels like we are suffocating under the weight of stress, complex emotions, and life challenges. Yet on other days we feel light, free, and ready to take on the world. There is no judgement in these fluctuations, only awareness and acceptance of our journey to a more consistently open, safe space inside where we are okay, no matter how we get there.
Try a few of these meditative experiences this week.... notice how your body sensations shift and change and let me know what you think!
Listen to music with your eyes closed, imagine the pictures the sounds, words, or rhythm make
Dance around in a space where there are no windows, mirrors, or other people and focus on changing how your body feels
Eat your favorite food, with intention. Think about every bite, notice the smell, taste, texture, temperature etc. and ask someone to try the same food and describe their experience of it
Walk, run, hike, bike, skip, jump outside. Notice your body's shift as you find a consistent rhythm, pace, or speed. Breath deeply with the rhythm.
Take a five minute break at work, school etc. and do something that makes you feel alive or maximizes flow- stretch, talk about your favorite hobby with a co-worker, describe the time you heard your favorite song for the first time etc.