Building a Meditation Practice into Our Busy Lives
The yoga mat has been rolled out on the perfect spot, drapes open to let golden streams of sunlight through. There is a lovely glow in the room and it seems like the perfect space to sit and do some meditation.
I sit down and fold my legs, just about to shut my eyes when I remember the incense! Incense sticks are brought out and swivelled around the space. 'Wow that gorgeous smell of lavender!' I cross my legs and close my eyes. I'm transported to those fields of purple lavender; my friends and I sip wine through our girl’s trip through Provence last summer.
I snap back to the yoga mat. 'Oh yes, meditation! Okay... Okay let's do this!' I shut my eyes and take a deep breath in and out.
‘What was it they said in that meditation video that day? Was it three breaths in, hold, and then 6 out, or was it 5 breaths in and then 4 out? Darn it! Okay calm down Viveka, this is supposed to be me time- peaceful, relaxing time.' I take a few deep breaths in and out and I'm finally feeling a sense of calm wash over me. Birds chatter outside the window and cars go by in the distance. I sit there breathing in and out for a few minutes. The door-bell rings and I’m the only one home. Sigh, ‘tomorrow will be better.’
How many of us have struggled with days like these, when we sit down to do that meditation or mindfulness practice but our minds resist, jumping from one thought to the next? Even the most seasoned of meditators have gone through these days of resistance. From the Dalai Lama to Ekhart Tolle, many spiritual leaders have written about how the mind has a tendency to sway and get distracted. It is through patient practice that this skill of meditation is enhanced.
Meditation does not have to be for long periods of time.
When we first begin, five to ten minutes of meditation or mindfulness can be a good place to start. As you get more used to it, the time can be increased to your liking. Even on our everyday commute to work on a bus or in the tube, one can sit in meditation for a few minutes and reduce that stress that builds up over a tiring day.
Another technique to get into a space of mediation is by breathing and letting your mind observe parts of the body from head to toe. Less distracted by external thoughts, the mind can focus and increase awareness to areas that feel relaxed or tense. Guided meditation is another method for enhancing one's practice. There are many types of guided meditations, online or in person. One is guided through music, speaking or chanting and is given a kind of blueprint for that meditation session.
You can choose from an array of methods to sail through the initial frustrating blocks. You begin to see your mind focus inward for slightly longer periods every time. Like any other skill, once you have been through the initial road bumps, the satisfaction is worth it.