Ouch it’s Monday morning (or Thursday, or Tuesday) and you slept two hours tops, your mind is still racing and today is the big day (meeting, report due, interview, whatever…). We’ve turned to Aussie Leonie Allan uber blogger, publisher of the Goddess Guidebooks and meditation whiz for her 8 tips on meditating to clear your mind and make space for the important stuff -at least until you can get a good night’s sleep.
“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” ~Robert M. Pirsig
1. Try the 100 Breaths technique. I take 100 breaths. I count them. I try not to think about anything else. It’s revolutionary. And it also really works for me. It gives my brain something to do (wee! counting!) while the rest of me is just hanging out, inadvertently meditating.
2. Take a Meditationap. Be careful. This one is complex. Oh yes—it’s the love child of a meditation and a nap. Lie down on a bed, couch, or sun lounge, or pile your (empty) bath with pillows and blankets.
Close your eyes and do nothing. Maybe you’ll fall asleep. Maybe you’ll have Zen inspiration. Maybe you’ll just happily float along. Either way, it will be sublime.
The lessons here is: Meditation should be enjoyable. We only consistently do things we actually like doing!
3. Use the Alarm Clock Meditation. If 100 breaths isn’t going to cut it for you, set a timer for 5 minutes. Then meditate until the timer goes off. This way, you don’t have to wonder about how long it’s been, or how much longer you should meditate for. It’s like meditation on cruise-drive.
4. Get comfortable. I started looking at things that annoyed me about meditation – the stuff that held me back from doing it. And one of the annoying things was this: I don’t like being uncomfortable. And sitting cross-legged in lotus with a straight back and poised mudra fingers doesn’t spell comfortable to me. It spells pins and needles, sore butt, and achy back.
What this looks like for me is sitting in a comfy armchair inside, lying on a sun lounge on the back deck, or leaning against a wall outside. What comfy looks like to you might be totally different.
5. Fake it for 10 breaths. When I really, really need to meditate, and I don’t feel like I have time, I make a little pact with myself. I say to myself:
“Okay, we so don’t have to meditate for any pain-in-the-ass time at all. Let’s just do ten breaths.”
And my logical brain says: “Ten breaths? You think I have time for ten breaths of meditation? Are you kidding me! I have stuff to do lady! We’re not on retreat you hippy!”
And I say: “Oh. I know you’re really busy. I really feel like I need this. You and me. Besides, it’s only for ten breaths.”
Logical brain: “Fine. But only ten. And I’m counting.”
And then we do our ten breaths and it’s nice. And we either stop there because we feel like we’ve refreshed just enough, or we keep going for another ten or twenty because it just feels so good.
The lesson here is: Start small. Everyone has time for 10 breaths. See what happens. It’s a little way of moving around resistances.
6. Make it a reward. Find a way that makes you think “I want to meditate.”
Here’s the meditation pay-off for me: Whenever I take 100 breaths, it’s kind of boring for the first 59. But then I hit 60, and for the next ten seconds, it feels like nirvana. I don’t know if it’s a rush of oxygen to the head, or just because I finally relax then, but whatever it is, 60 is good.
And it makes those 59 seconds before it so very, very worth it. My little reward is the 60-second release.
7. Use help when you need it. Try out different CDs, guides, and meditation techniques, and see what works for you. And what works for you, make that the golden wisdom in your life.
The lesson here is: Don’t think you have to go it alone. Everything’s easier with a little support.
8. And most of all… Remember that the reason you aren’t meditating right now is not because you are lazy. It’s because you haven’t yet found a way to meditate for you that is fun, easy, and comfortable for you. Find the way that does, and then it’s much, much easier.
Remove the annoying parts from meditating. Try out all the different ways you can to make it as lovely an experience as possible.
There are 6 billion paths to bliss, and your path is your own. Make it a happy one.