What if I told you that you could meditate at any time of day, doing any activity? Would you be more likely to try it? You may be thinking that meditation is only for those people that already have their life together, or for people without children, or less-demanding jobs. But that isn’t true! Meditation is for everyone, and today you will find out how it can work for you.
To learn more about meditation, we spoke with Jeff Warren, author of “The Head Trip,” and mindfulness and meditation instructor. Jeff wasn’t a natural meditator, and as a self-proclaimed “impulsive, over-thinking worrier,” sitting crossed-legged for long periods of time didn’t sound like his cup of tea. He understands the difficulties of starting and continuing a meditation practice, which makes him a fabulous teacher.
So, what is Meditation?
Jeff breaks meditation down to a perfectly simple form. It’s about “attentional skills [that] bring your head to the present moment.” Meditation is about seeing the world and yourself as they currently are, acknowledging them, and letting them continue.
Meditation certainly can be an hour of you sitting in the middle of a quiet room and focusing on your breathing, but it can also be simpler. It’s all about being intentional with your thoughts or surroundings and not fighting with them. This means you can do it for five minutes while doing the dishes, or for thirty minutes on a train ride home. You can practice while you stand in line at the grocery store, or the first few minutes while lying in bed in the morning.
What is Meditation Good For?
Overtime, meditation may be different things for you, from focusing on a certain sensation, to experiencing a flow state. But the purpose remains the same, to experience life in a different and better way. Jeff says that a practice is looking at a way you are acting, asking yourself if you need to keep living that way, deciding that you don’t, and then changing.
Learning to meditate is learning to be alone with your thoughts. As you become more aware of who you are, you can choose to be exactly what you want to be. Not only that, but learning more about yourself helps you to be more accepting of others and where they are on their journey as well.
How to Be Alone with Yourself
Today we are all bombarded with stimulating media. Whether it’s advertisements, tv shows, or social media, everyone is vying for your attention. Being along with your own thoughts is rare, and frankly it can be a little scary.
But that is ridiculous. We should be comfortable with ourselves. It’s the person that we are with 100% of the time, and if you can be comfortable with who you are, nothing and no one can bring you down.
It will take practice. There may be things you don’t like about yourself or your thoughts. Meditation is great because it isn’t about changing those thoughts, at least in the beginning. It’s simply about noticing that they are there. Whether your thoughts are happy, sad, or scary, just start by noticing them and saying to yourself, “Hmm, that’s interesting,” and letting them float on by.
As Jeff describes it, these thoughts are like a wave. These thoughts can turn into smaller or more transparent waves, and overtime, you can let them go past with ease.
How to Practice Meditation
Like we’ve mentioned, meditation really can be practiced anywhere, for any length of time. However, it is more useful if you can find a way to make it a routine—and sitting in a room with limited distractions can only increase your chances. Whatever it is you can do, is what you should do. Start small or big, but start.
Jeff, and many others, have some free guided meditation practices that can be a great way to start. In fact, at the end of today’s podcast he led us on a short 5-minute meditation that was absolutely wonderful.
Meditating Will Increase Your Capacities
Learning to control your every thought sounds like a big burden. That’s because it is. Meditation isn’t about tracking every thought and blocking out every negative one. It is about being interested in your thoughts, about being human, and about learning who you are. It may not be easy to meditate, but as you practice, you become more energy efficient, not less.
So, give it a try! If you’ve tried before and it didn’t stick, try again. Meditation will help you be more comfortable with who you are and more interested in and grateful for the world around you. Every individual has a different meditative practice, and you can only figure out what yours is as you do it.
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Thank you to Jeff, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.