I started to meditate a couple of years ago.
It is fair to say that I go through phases of being consistent and regular with it and then falling off the wagon. I have most definitely noticed however that I am more at one with myself and life when I meditate consistently, I also know that the longer I leave between meditations the harder it is to get back into a place of stillness like any new habit it must be repeated to become part of your life.
Just last week I sat for 8 minutes before giving in to my wired mind and thoughts pecking away at me and I gave up – when possibly I should have stayed sat and let it just be.
My meditation took on a whole new meaning this year when I entered a deeper level, connection with spirit, the universe a higher being whatever you want to call it, I was actually completely freaked out and had to approach a group I am in to seek answers as well as asking my friend, guru and experienced meditator Anna. (more about Anna later)
I was rapidly reassured by Anna and my spirit junkie group – a great tribe of people from all over the world that what I was experiencing was a connection with higher self, that it is incredible, that I am lucky and I shouldn’t expect it every time, just embrace the feeling and the love.
During one meditation session after 30 minutes of Yoga I sat on a pillow legs crossed and started to breathe – on this occasion to music. Part way through the meditation my body started independently rocking from side to side – it felt almost as if someone was pushing me from my left side ( it comes mostly from the left when it happens again I have no idea what this means) rocking me like a pendulum – keeping momentum but each time with a gentle push from the left.
I was so freaked out I contemplated opening my eyes to see if my body was actually moving but I knew it was and I was scared but I realised there was nothing to fear I felt safe, embraced by peace and love – it was so so surreal. I knew my body was moving- I could feel it and it felt wonderful – almost emotional.
I have now become a little addicted to the feeling and it doesn’t happen every time. It happens when I am in the deepest most connected place and my meditation isn’t always this way. Just last week I turned to my guru ( Anna) and said –
“How can I meditate when my mind is so electric – so wired. I know right now I need it more than ever, I feel my body switch off but my mind is alive with all the shit I am trying to deal with, I fight to try and concentrate on my breathing, I let it come and I lose my focus – help”
Don’t be so hard on yourself Anna tells me, you are trying and that is amazing, things are always changing so each day is different. Today might be better than yesterday so your mind might be calmer, never pre guess or assume its going to be a certain way. Get on your cushion and promise yourself 20 minutes. Worries about the past and the future can be dealt with after the 20 minutes – they will still be there. Concentrate ont he cool air coming in through your nostrils and the warm air coming out, if you notice you have run with a thought and not focused on breathing don’t get angry, congratulate yourself for noticing that you are aware and take your focus back to your breath.
All humans suffer from Monkey Mind so don’t be so hard on yourself. As soon as you notice a thought running away with you gently take your mind back to your breath keep repeating, this is a muscle a training process it will only get better.
I respect and value Anna’s opinion – she is a lady with a turbulent past that is on her own journey for self discovery and peace, a lady that has spent 10 whole days on a meditation retreat – meditating for 10 hours a day – sharing a room with a another person but not speaking to them or anyone else for 10 days! I can’t even imagine it – I don’t think I have ever been completely silent for one day let alone 10!
This is no easy feat – only those looking for serious enlightenment make it through this gruelling programme. Anna tells me that it is after an hour that you really see the benefits of meditation and this pushes me and spurs me on to make it past my current record sitting time of 40 minutes.
So where do you start?
I started with the Headspace app – you can download a free trial and start with guided meditations – some of the visualisation I still use in my own meditations now.
At the other end of the spectrum you could jump in at the deep end and get to the retreat for 10 days….. but book in advance spaces are limited and get booked up quickly.