Meditating seems simple. Sitting, breathing, focusing on nothing but your breath, closing out any thoughts that enter your mind, and literally just shutting down. I had a hard time at first trying to understand and really get the hang of meditating. I didn’t think it was something I could do because of my anxiety and my need to fidget (scratching, moving my leg, rubbing out the ache in my hip, etc.). Thoughts would run wild in my mind, they still do at times, but the idea of closing it out and not thinking or concentrating on a single thing was extremely hard for me. I took workshops, read books (Russell Simmons’ Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple), even tried talking to the person that introduced it to me to see if there was something I was doing wrong. I’m a textbook, instruction manual kind of gal; if it says this is how you are to do something so you can get it right I make sure I follow it line by line. I was used to praying, whether on my knees, sitting up right or laying down. It was something I was taught to do and it was embedded in me on the “how to” of praying.
But then I soon realized something. There are no rules to meditating. Meditating, by its very nature, is being able to not think or analyze so deeply about the things that we take seriously on a day-to-day basis. It helps us to “hush”, just for a moment, some of the things that enter our minds and serve as a distraction. There is a need to take a mental reset; closing your eyes and literally just focusing on the one thing you’re able to control in that moment, which is your breath. Your breath is the most powerful instrument in meditating because it is allowing you to focus on how deep or shallow they are and then entering in a space that makes you feel as if your mind is free of all toxicity and chaos, at least for the moment.
With everything going on in the world and realizing that more and more people are locked inside themselves with anxiety and unable to do the normal things that made them feel whole like visiting friends, going out, vacationing, etc., I found it my duty to find some way of bringing whatever kind of peace is needed to help folks regain control over their mental spaces. There are companies now that are instituting at least 1-2 minutes of meditation, either by using apps such as Headspace or Calm, or just allowing you to sit quietly and do nothing. Whatever is needed, your mental peace is necessary. I find it hard to operate and function throughout the day if I don’t take time for me, and that’s the key to meditating. It is essentially me time. If you can’t give yourself time to checkout how can you manage others or the things that you consistently do each day? There’s no real art to it, you don’t even have to sit in an uncomfortable leg crossing position if you don’t want to. Here are the elements to meditation:
- You can sit in a chair, your car, on the floor (it really doesn’t matter, just whatever makes you feel comfortable)
- Make sure you are somewhere where there is silence (a closet, your office, a bathroom, etc.)
- Set your timer for 1 minute or 5 minutes, however long you want to shut off
- Close your eyes
- Breathe in deeply through your nose, back straight
- Breathe out through your mouth, pushing out all the air you can
- Repeat steps 5 and 6
- Any thoughts that may enter your mind simply disregard them and return to focusing on your breathing
- When your timer goes off you’re all done
This is the basic form of meditating, anyone can do it. And I challenge everyone to allow themselves at least a moment of peace and clarity each day and if not every day then a few days out of the week or when you need to “check out”. Mental health is definitely real and should not be taken lightly. You deserve a mental break, remember that.