For the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about meditation and starting my own practice (key word – thinking). Increasing my concentration and focus and quieting my mind are just a couple of reasons why I wanted to get my Zen on.
Two weeks ago I had a wonderful conversation with someone that pushed me to action. This person is a consultant working with our team in London, and luckily, I had the opportunity to work with her a little bit as well. During this particular conversation, we got a little off topic and started talking about yoga, meditation, the Universe, and life in general.
Since my new friend is very knowledgeable and passionate about these things, I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about meditation. I wanted to know how how I could start meditating and unwinding at the end of the day without feeling defeated because my mind won’t “shut up.” She started laughing and said she knew exactly what I was talking about and then offered some ideas. And that, my friends, is how Parita’s meditation practice was born!
Let me start off by saying that this is one of those things that is 100% based on the individual. What works for me won’t necessarily work for the next person. Second, I’ve come to realize that meditation isn’t an overnight phenomenon. It takes time – weeks, months, maybe even years – to really get the hang of quieting the mind.
With that being said, here’s what works for me…
First, I find a quiet place. For me, this is a corner of our bedroom that isn’t cluttered. Next, I make this an inviting space by turning off the lights and lighting a candle. Then I get in a comfortable position, which is usually sitting Indian style. Finally, I close my eyes and visualize (this takes a bit of work) myself in my happy place – sitting on the beach, a little past where the water meets the sand. For the first few minutes, I try my best to “feel” the sand/water/sun and “hear” the water/breeze. In order to stay in my happy place, I acknowledge random thoughts that float into my head but release them as quickly as possible. After about 10-15 minutes, I get up and go straight to bed. Best bedtime routine ever!
I know this isn’t real, disciplined meditation, but I think it’s a good first step. And my practice makes me happy…and puts me to sleep very quickly! But in all seriousness, after just a couple of weeks, this little routine has made a tremendous impact on my state of being. I feel a bit more centered and focused and also able to let things go more easily. And I’m sure that with time, it’s only going to get better!
Do you meditate? How do you quiet your mind?