Updated: Feb 1, 2022
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day — unless you’re too busy.
Then you should sit for an hour.”
-Zen Proverb that my therapist quotes to me on the regular
The first thing I do each morning when the alarm goes off is get out of bed and pee. Next, I turn on the kettle to prepare for tea, and while it’s heating I stretch and listen to a mantra meditation on compassion. Then I pour the hot water into the teapot. While my tea is steeping, I sit on my couch with eyes closed for ten minutes and, well, meditate.
Sometimes I go very deep in my ten minutes and when the lovely chime goes off I am surprised that it is over. Other times I am distracted by snuggling dogs, a faraway car alarm, my son sleepily coming over to get under the blanket next to me. In these instances I change my meditation format from silent contemplation and connection to enjoying the moment with the quiet of the morning, with my dogs, with my boy. Any sort of focused nothingness is helpful to me in starting my day. It’s my intentional me-time, it clears my head, and it helps me get through my day.
When we meditate, we quiet our mind. We stop the chitter chatter and just ...exist. We can focus on something exterior, or just listen to the monkey mind chatter go on. Meditation is the process of training your mind to focus and direct your thoughts.
Meditation can help:
calm you and allow you to center
increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings
raise your mood
reduce age-related memory loss
decrease blood pressure
Have you ever just stopped and listened to the words going by in your mind? Do this now. Close your eyes and just listen to what is happening inside your head. If you’re the one listening, then who is saying that?! Don’t worry, you’re not crazy–that is what most of us hear. Wouldn’t it be great to have the superpower of shushing those voices? Of being in control of your own mind? Meditation can totally help you with that.
You can meditate anywhere you are. At work? Take a few minutes to breathe and count your breaths. You can do the same on the bus or train, on vacay, sitting at the beach. It is easy to do and doesn’t cost anything.
There are many ways to meditate. You could:
Listen to someone lead you through meditation. There are many apps for this! I use Insight Timer because it has both a countdown timer with chimes and amazing meditations. A good friend of mine swears by Headspace–which has sets of meditations to listen to, including grief and self-compassion.
Join a meditation group
Stare at a candle
Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you
Count your breaths – breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, breathe out for four counts, hold for four counts, repeat. I use this with my students often.
Count a prayer bead necklace
Go for a walk and notice every living thing
Repeat a mantra
Meditation is a great way to start your day. It has so many benefits and it will certainly raise your vibe. I highly, highly recommend that you give it a try!