At times my mind is like a race car. Speeding up, slowing down around the curves, changing gears, changing lanes (maybe it’s less like a race car and more like road rage). It can be very useful when I’m having great ideas, but it can be hard to keep on track at times. Some might call it ADHD, or hyperactivity, or inattention, or daydreaming. I call it ED for easily distracted because it comes without the stigma of the term ADHD and reminds me of the other ED (erectile dysfunction) and clearly I have the mental maturity of a 10 year old boy.
I heard all the hooplah about meditation and it’s health benefits and I wanted some of that, however, to get my mind to slow down was not an easy task at first. What many people experience the first time they sit to meditate is absolutely terrifying. Mentally you imagine yourself sitting down to “clear your mind” in the lotus position and waking up in a state of zenlike calm. What really happens is that you find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes and… whoa. The thoughts. The first time you experience what buddhists call a waterfall of thoughts can really throw you for a loop. The average person has 35 to 50 thoughts per minute. If you have never before taken the time to notice this, it can be overwhelming to experience it for the first time.
Meditation can be scary, and uncomfortable, and well, boring. Now, years down the road I am able to sit for a 20 minute meditation of just “following the breath” or basically clearing my mind. Somebody in a meditation class I was taking the other day asked the teacher how much and how often we should be meditating daily. Her answer was 20 to 60 minutes once or twice daily. What!?!? I love this stuff and I can just make 20 minutes. The thought of a 60 minute meditation is overwhelming and mind-boggling.
And I’ve learned, if it scares me, there’s other people out there with the same experience. I have learned that sometimes what works for me is not going to look like the meditation of a zen monk. In fact, most of the time, you wouldn’t have a clue that I’m meditating. Instead of sitting in silence clearing my mind, I use a practice called “mindfulness.” Mindfulness, like meditation is great for slowing down your mind, but where meditation tends to suggest clearing your mind, mindfulness is a very focused attention. You are intentionally filling your mind with something. This is way easier for me than sitting quietly and I think if you give it a try, you will find that it is easier for you, too.
In this series I will offer several different mindfulness techniques that will help you clear your mind, help you reap the stress-relieving benefits of meditation, and won’t drive you insane.
- Listening to Music
- Eat a Raisin
- Guided Meditation- Coming Soon!
- The Marquee- Coming Soon!
- Chanting- Coming Soon!
- Mantras- Coming Soon!
- Walking- Coming Soon!
- The Haiku- Coming Soon!
- Coloring- Coming Soon!