Thank you for clicking through to my meditation blog! Especially if you are someone who doesn’t think they can do it, which is so not true! If meditation seems like it’s not meant for you it probably means you could benefit from it the most.
If you have a lot of chatter in your head when you sit down and turn your focus inward it is so important that you learn how to channel that chatter, listen to it yet not let it distract you, decipher important thoughts from thoughts that don’t serve you, and cultivate the ability to shut it all out when you want to. This is a LEARNED skill, even those with A.D.D. can improve their focus and control over their consciousness. And there’s no substitution for consistent practice. As with everything good for you in this life, it all comes down to how disciplined you are willing to be, and the best news- this is a self sustaining cycle! The more you meditate the more disciplined you will become, the more easily it will be to maintain a practice, etc, etc.
Since I’ve committed to practicing twice a day I’ve really seen the benefits. I’ve had more energy and it’s been consistent throughout the day, I don’t feel the relentless pull of my pillow from 1-3pm anymore. My sleep has been more sound, which adds to my energy throughout the day, another self sustaining cycle (love those!). I was getting a little anxious about certain things, which is actually what led me to double down on my mindfulness practice, and I have noticed a marked difference. I feel so much calmer and able to stay focused on the present or whichever thoughts serve me and are in line with what I’m trying to accomplish at the moment. It has lent me so much perspective as well. Being fully present in the moment creates a natural gratitude for all the little things (which are actually the big things) that I’ve been blessed with, but maybe had gotten to a point where I was taking them for granted.
I mainly credit this current enhanced benefit from meditation to the type of mediation I’ve been doing. In the past I either used professionally guided meditation or self-guided meditation where I would focus on different words, body parts, or mantras, shifting them kind of naturally throughout the time period. I think that was better than not meditating and definitely led me inward to deal with everything that lies between my ears, being self-aware is step number one, but I believe I wasn’t getting all that I could from my practice.
Now, however, I’ve been using a more traditional version. I sit comfortably with a strong spine and simply focus on my breath. Nothing else. If my attention wanders I take note and bring it right back to my breath. If disturbing or needless thoughts come into my consciousness I accept them or mark them as pointless and let them drift on and bring my focus right back to my breath. It is truly the hardest form of meditation. Hard both because it’s tough to maintain focus on something you do as naturally as breathe, you know you’ll keep on doing it whether you think about it or not, AND because it’s tedious and can feel pointless, like- I’m not even thinking about anything, how can this help?!!
But what I’ve learned is it’s about being able to direct your attention at will and keep it there for longer and longer periods of time. This helps us in every life endeavor. It’s brain training at it’s finest. By picking one of the toughest things to stay focused on we are really challenging ourselves the most. If we can practice and increase our ability to meditate on our breath, all aspects of our mental life will benefit.
I do it for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the late afternoon/evening. Sometimes I have to do it in my car in a parking lot before walking in somewhere or in the chair at the hair salon, but I get it done and I haven’t regretted it yet. I hope you’ll give it a try and just know that if it’s hard, it’s working. You have to persevere at something like this just like you would with a physical challenge. If you stick with it you WILL get better at it and WILL see the benefits like I have. There are scientific studies that prove meditation actually changes your brain for the better. So start small and keep increasing the challenge. If things distract you, practice acceptance; notice, don’t judge the break in your focus or your thoughts, and keep bringing it back to your breath. You can do it!