Today I can proudly say that I have meditated every single day for a period of one month: 30 days of meditation. Sure, I have been meditating on and off the last fifteen years or so. But never for thirty days in a row. So what did it bring me and how do I meditate? Why would you meditate anyway?
Form a habit
Do it every day. That is the key. Just do it! No matter how busy you are, you can always find ten minutes. Or five. To just sit still and meditate. You brush your teeth don’t you? And bathe and comb your hair? So why not take care of your brain too?
Of course you can meditate once a week. Or maybe three times per week. That’s perfect. But the only way to make a profound impact on your life is to do it every single day.
So, what did it bring me? First of all: I formed a habit. Do not underestimate the sheer power of good habits! Second: it has brought relaxation, peace and quiet to my day. Last but not least it has unlocked some hidden doors in my brain. Doors that lead to better understanding, observation, balance, creativity, focus and many other ‘special powers’.
However: unlocking those powers should not be the reason to meditate. In fact: we should not be meditating for any specific ‘reason’ or ‘result’ at all. Apart from the result of having formed a healthy new habit.
Keep in mind: we do not brush our teeth to enhance our teeth in some way. Neither do we comb our hair to get some kind of super hair. No, we do it because it our body needs some daily maintenance. And if we look nice, we will feel better. And people will notice. You will notice! The same rules apply to taking care of your mind.
How to meditate
So how do I meditate? I have several quiet places in the house I can use: one in the attic, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. Depending on the ‘busyness’ in either of those places I just pick one. Then I sit down. Usually crossed-legged. Sometimes on a chair. My back and neck straight, leaning against a flat surface. Hands in my lap. Then I set a 10 minute timer on my watch, close my eyes and start to breathe deeply. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Observing the breath and feeling it at my nostrils and in my lower belly.
Meanwhile I clear my thoughts. Dissolving all random thoughts that pop up. I observe them briefly in my mind and let them evaporate like clouds disappearing. After a while the amount of thoughts will become less and less. I also allow my breath to return to normal. That’s all! After 10 minutes my timer will buzz and I can choose to add another 10 minutes or stop.
Sometimes I am really struggling with clearing my head. Other times I just keep nodding off. But the more I do it, the more I get those really enjoyable moments of clarity and deep relaxation during the meditation. It feels like just slipping into the ‘now’ where nothing else matters. Maybe it is only for a few seconds at first. But that short moment of bliss is the really good part for me and I hope those moments will become longer, the more I meditate.
While meditating, there are times where I find myself drifting off and visiting places from my past. For instance the houses I grew up in as a kid. Or beautiful places in nature I once visited. It is like making an actual journey through time and space in the mind.
When to meditate
I usually meditate in the evening. After we put the kids to bed. Sometimes I meditate first thing in the morning. And sometimes in the weekends I meditate in the afternoon. There are no rules for what times you should meditate. It is great in the morning to start your day but it is just as great in the evening to relax before bedtime.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Finally: it is important not to be too hard on yourself. Meditation should be enjoyable. It will not ‘produce’ results because you want it. It just has benefits instead. Benefits you can’t even imagine and you will only experience when you have been doing it for a longer period of time.
Make a habit of meditation. Just try it! And enjoy the journey.