I have always believed in the power of meditation. I know that I am not my mind, I know that I am not my body, nor I my name, my career, my relationships, my earthly possessions or any label that I or others put on myself. I am none of those things. I have always (or at least since I remember) not only known, but felt in the core of my being that what I am surpasses any of those things. I know with certainty (for it is a certainty in my life, it doesn’t have to be a certainty to the world, but to me it is) that I am infinite, that my Soul (I call it soul, you may call it spirit, essence, energy, God/Goddess, etc.) is unlimited and that there is no place where I begin and I end just like there is no place where my sister, the elderly couple next door, my deceased loved ones and the living ones, etc. begin and end. All of them, all of us, are infinite because We Are All One. We are individuations of Divinity, manifesting right Here and Now, in this form. And yes, this form is limited, this form is finite, this form is made of dust and to dust it will return. It is precious nonetheless for it is what my Soul uses to be Here, right Now. And so is my mind, another precious tool that allows me to move through this live, to interact, to use my free will. This Divine Trinity – soul, mind, and body – are what make me me in this life, and I am so thankful for them.
Since we are little, we are taught (sort of) how to take care of our bodies. Eat healthy food, execise, rest, sleep well, drink lots of water, etc.
Yet, little is taught about how to care for our minds. We actually are never even taught that our minds need caring, we just think that it is an abstract thing that just receives input, stores it, and also gives, shares, learns, and commands. We never think of it as another kind of body that also needs to eat healthy food (mind food), to stay hydrated, to rest, to sleep well….
And some people never really mind their minds until well… something happens that leaves them no choice but to mind them. Maybe they fall into depression, maybe they suffer an anxiety or panic attack, maybe they experience a flashback, or they have negative or catastrophic thoughts that make them feel small, afraid, and in constant danger.
And yet, we might think… Hey! This is life. It happens to everyone. And we continue with our day.
NO! The natural state of life is not one of stress, fear, and pain. We didn’t come to this earth to just struggle and then die. We are here to experience our divinity, to express, and share, and create, and recreate anew. To birth life, dreams, light, love. To be all that we can be.
Fear, pain, anxiety, stress… yes, they are here too in life, and they can be part of our lives if we choose them but they don’t have to be our constant companions. They have their uses, for sure, but they are here to teach us, not to bully us all our lives into submission.
We need to use our mind, not let it abuse us. For the longest time, I have felt that I am at the mercy of my thoughts… as if they just come to me and torment me. For the longest time, I’ve let my mind abuse me. I hadn’t really believed that I had a say in the matter, until one day, it was too much and there was nothing left to do but to seek help, get better, face the darkness, and return to the light.
One of the most wonderful tools that helped me on my climb up was meditation.
There are so many benefits to meditation, and even though I know it is good for me and it has helped me a lot since I learned how to do it… The truth is I still struggle to do it everyday. I sometimes auto-sabotage myself. I think things like: Oh, no, not today. Too tired! Or, Oh, no. I don’ t have time right now! Or, Twenty minutes? That’s too long! I have so much to do!
Even though I know that meditating will make my whole day better, and my life too, I still struggle to do it. Sometimes it is laziness, sometimes it’s lack of willpower, but sometimes it is fear… fear to quiet my mind, fear to be quiet with my soul. We all have constant mind chatter and what meditation does is to quiet the mind, but we are so used to think that we are our minds, that, unconsciously, we associate quieting the mind with ceasing to exist, and that fear of death sabotages our efforts to go within, to connect with our Soul, and the true energy and source of our life which is infinite, and can never not exist.
Lately, I have managed to meditate everyday. And it isn’t as hard as it used to be. I realised that I adjusted some things in my thinking and other practical matters that have made it easier to get it done. So I have compiled a list of the things that have helped me to meditate daily and I hope with all my heart that it can help someone else too.
Here are my 7 tips to meditate daily
- Value its worth
A quick Google search can let you know about all the benefits of meditation.
Here are just a few (the ones I value the most):
- Brings you back to the Present Moment
- Connects you with your Soul
- Reduces stress
- Helps manage negative thoughts and emotions
- Makes you feel safe and loved
- Regulates your breathing and heartbeat
- Helps with anxiety and depression
- Enhances your self-awareness
- Improves your self-esteem
- Improves sleep
- Improves your mood
- Helps control pain
- Helps you manage your emotions
- Increases your ability to focus
- Helps you practice self-compassion (the fact that you take the time to meditate shows the love, care, and compassion you have towards yourself)
- Creates feelings of peace, love, and kindness towards yourself and others.
- Lets you see that whatever your life situation is… it is not you. (This means that that problem you have at work, or that fight you had with your boyfriend, or that debt you have to pay, or that uncertainty you have about the future, or that past trauma, etc. etc… That… whatever that is… is not YOU. It is not who you are… The real you is here and now, meditating, with all of his/her pieces, fully here, fully now, safe, and loved. )
- It raises your vibrations to a higher frequency in which you can attract other positive things, people, experiences, etc.
- It puts you on a positive, loving mindset to face the day.
If you look the benefits of meditation up, you will find that many of these are not only abstract things but that there are many science-backed benefits of meditation.
Here is a link to the blog of Headspace (an efficient meditation app) where you can read about the science behind mediation and get reference to other medical articles and journals: https://www.headspace.com/science/meditation-benefits
When you start to realise all the benefits that meditation has in your life in the short-term and long-term, it is easier to make it a priority. Realise that meditation for your mind is as important as exercise for your body. Meditation is actually the mind’s exercise as well as its rest. If you recognise its worth, you can then prioritise meditation in your day as a practice of health, self-care, self-love, and self-compassion.
2. Choose the meditation that suits you better
There are different types of meditation.
I started meditating, as many of you may have done too, by searching for guided meditation on YouTube and such. They can help, there are good ones, and there are many of them. However, one must also be careful when dealing with certain types of meditations such as the ones that promise to hypnotise you or cause a regression or stuff like that. I wouldn’t recommend doing that, at least, not if you are a beginner. Though it may be tempting to try a meditation that promises to show you who you were in a past life or to help you deal with the trauma of being born by regressing you to the womb, or to speak to your deceased grandfather, etc. etc. I wouldn’t advise to embark on such ventures without having a proper anchor and training.
Although, yes, some people can do all that… those are people that train to do those astral journeys, and they know how to stay rooted in their body so as not to lose themselves in the psychic world. So, please, be careful. The mind is powerful and there is so much we don’t know or can’t even comprehend with our tridimensional mind so for now, it is good enough to meditate to stay in the present moment, to reduce stress, and become more loving, healthier, and happier.
Search for mediations to deal with stress, to relax, to focus, etc.
I also recommend trying apps like Headspace, Calm, and my personal favourite the Chopra App. If you are more serious about meditation you can even purchase a small meditation program on the Chopra App. They are really good and they base themselves on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation.
Also, keep a lookout for Deepak Chopra and Ophra’s 21-Day Meditation Experiences… they give them every so often for free. You can look for them in the Chopra Centre Website: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience
I have used all of these resources, and I enjoyed all of them.
However, when I realised meditation was something that would help me greatly and speed my way back to health, I chose to learn how to do Transcendental Meditation properly. I enrolled on a short course in which a certified instructor showed me the technique, explained all the benefits and the science behind it, did a brief ceremonial ritual where she gave me my own mantra (everyone gets one) and helped me practice it. If anyone is interested in enrolling on such a course to learn how to do Transcendental Meditation, here is the link: https://www.tm.org
There is nothing out-of-this-world about Transcendental Meditation:
It is basically a practice that you must do daily, twice a day (mornings and afternoons), for 20 min in which you have to repeat to yourself your sanskrit Mantra.
Before the 20 min you must allow 1 min for getting ready and after the 20 min you should add 2 other minutes to your timer during which you should drop the mantra, and just rest while you breathe.
That’s it. After that, you can go on with your morning, and afternoon, with a better, more positive attitude towards life. When I do it, I have noticed that after I finish, I feel like I am waking up after a good nights’ sleep, I feel just as rested and refreshed. I always end up saying: That was a great decision for my day, and that convinces me to make the same choice to meditate the next day.
You can choose whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever works for you best. It is your body and your mind, so you must decide what to feed it. These are just some of the choices I have tried.
3. Find the time that works for you
When you make meditation a priority, you make space and time for it in your life.
What has helped me the most for mediating everyday, it is doing it at the same time and place everyday.
I often have an anxious mind. My mind tries to talk me out of meditating by saying things like: Oh, but if we take those 20 min out of our day now, we will not have time to exercise, or we will not have time to shower, or we will have a later breakfast and then we will get late to work, and so on and so on.
I know all of those are just excuses, but my mind says: No! I’m serious! We can’t possibly spare 20 min, there is just so much to do!
Sometimes I fall into that trap. But lately I have found a way to make that stop.
I realise that if I meditate after the sun has come out, my mind guilts me into thinking I am wasting precious day-time. So, I have now been meditating before sunrise, when there is still the darkness of the night sheltering me and convincing my mind that I am not wasting time, that I am just taking some time designated to sleep towards meditating instead. That quiets my mind, and I have been able to meditate everyday without feeling guilty, anxious, or afraid that I am wasting time.
Of course, meditation is never wasting time. Like I mentioned, the mind comes up with every excuse it can to stop you from quieting it. Don’t listen to it, and do it anyway or devise a way in which you can meditate without feeling any of those anxious feelings.
For me it works to meditate before sunrise. I would usually wake up at 7 am (I know that that is late for a lot of people, but what can I say? I am not a morning person, though I would love to be one). However, I have lately woken up at 6 am to meditate, so that by 7 am I have not only meditated but showered, read, written, and I am ready to start the day.
Find the time that works most for you. Open that space in your busy schedule. Prioritise it as you prioritise anything that has to do with your health.
Whether it is in the morning, afternoon, or before going to sleep, meditate as an act of love and kindness towards yourself. You will be better for it.
4. Make your own meditation corner
You can meditate anywhere, yes, anywhere. Well… you do have to choose a safe space. Please do not meditate while you are waiting for the traffic light to change to green, or at least, don’t do it with your eyes closed!
But yes, you can meditate anywhere, anytime. However, it is much easier to feel like meditating when you have a nice comfortable space to do it.
Usually your bed, or the sofa, or the mat are good enough places to meditate but if you have the space to make your own meditation corner, that would be awesome! And it would inspire you to meditate more.
If you can, set up your mediation corner in a usually quiet, out-of-the-way space in your room/apartment/house, preferably with good light.
Here are some things that can go in your own meditation corner:
- A meditation cushion (no need to buy a fancy one, any cushion will do, or just buy one that makes you feel comfortable)
- A rug or mat (I prefer to do meditation on a soft rug but a yoga mat can do just as well)
- A timer (you can use apps for that on your phone, there are many free ones that have those nice sounds of chimes for when the meditation begins and ends)
These can be it. As I have said, they are also not essential (except for the timer) but by creating your own meditation corner you are not only making space for it in your home but in your life.
Here are some extras you can add:
- Scented candles
- Incense sticks with an incense holder or burner
- A small indoor water fountain
- Crystals (You could for example have a small table with a clear quartz which helps with focus, concentration, releasing, and balance)
- Plants or flowers
By creating this meditation corner you will also be creating a space for yourself which you are infusing with care, love, peace, and good energy.
5. Make sure to have no distractions
If you live with other people, you can simply let them know your time for meditation and ask them to not disturb you during that time. You can even make a cute Please, do not disturb sign, or Meditation in progress, do not disturb. Or simply, I’m meditating, go away! (kidding haha)
Also, make sure you silence your phone. Believe me, the world won’t end just because you will be unavailable for 20 min.
Make sure there is nothing important that you need to attend to during those minutes. For example, don’t plan your meditation at the time when the milkman usually comes by, or if you need to defrost the chicken for today’s dinner do all that before or after the meditation. In other words, clear your schedule to make time and space for your meditation practice.
If you can, turn off any electronic devices in the room.
Paying attention to the distractions sometimes is another trick of our mind to sabotage our meditation, so turn off the distractions, welcome and embrace the silence because it is what will help you go within.
6. Let go of your shields
During the meditation, especially at the beginning, thoughts will assault you, they will scream for your attention, your body might even twitch. Do not worry, this is normal. It happens to everyone. With time, it becomes less and less so. If thoughts come just let them pass, like clouds floating away.
Easier said than done, I know.
I have also found that sometimes I use these thoughts as shields. For example, a negative thought will come during my meditation, and it is so disturbing that I immediately think of something else to fight off that thought. And then another comes and I come up with another thought to fight that off. Meanwhile, my mantra is there forgotten in the back of my mind, as my thoughts battle for my attention and energy.
I have become more self-aware and I am now able to observe this and not simply re-enact it every time I meditate. I have found that what has helped me to let go of this pattern is simply to lower my shields, to let them go, and fall to the ground. My shields are my thoughts, I put them up because somehow it feels like if I let them go, I will be overwhelmed… Overwhelmed by what? Well, the truth is I don’t even know! It feels like if I don’t think, I leave my mind defenseless, and like this big wave of nothingness is going to come and crush me.
This, of course, is not true. It is again, another false understanding of who I am. I am not my thoughts, but we live in our mind so much that it feels like we are them, like we are that person that has that constant inner monologue. In my core, I know I am not that. But it is hard sometimes to find who we are if we are not that. Meditation helps us to reconnect with our true selves, and that is why our ego fights it so much.
Visualising myself holding shields and then lowering them has helped me during my meditation. I see myself letting go of these war shields, letting them fall to the ground, and deciding to take the wave. The crash of the wave never comes though when I lower my shields, the only thing that comes is a sense of calm, of peace, and of stillness. I feel myself in my body and beyond it. There is an unmovable calm that whispers: That’s it, I am here.
And then I smile… and a few moments are blissfully quiet and peaceful and then…..
Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla …..
My mind wakes up again with its chatter and fear. And I have to lower the shields again.
Sometimes it is a constant circle but other times it is just once that I need to lower the shields.
However, it gets easier and easier every time because like with everything else, meditation also takes practice and practice makes better.
7. Track your meditation practices
If you keep a bullet journal, you can include meditation in your habit tracker.
Alternatively, you can make a meditation calendar to track you progress. You can simply buy or make a calendar and tick the days that you have meditated or make a cute, creative one that will inspire you more. There are so many beautiful ideas on Pinterest you can try.
Having a habit tracker will motivate you to meditate, and it will give you a sense of achievement too. It can also help you track your progress, and how you have been feeling since you started meditating. Besides, it is an opportunity to be creative and practice mindfulness as well.
Have fun making space in your life for meditation, and may your meditation practices reconnect you with your being! I wish you many happy meditations ahead!!!