Sometimes I feel like I’m not listening to myself. There’s so much going on in the world around me all the time, that it’s hard to find peace, and it’s hard to find quiet. And without peace and quiet, it’s hard to stay in touch with myself. I like to use meditation as a way to quiet the frazzle of the outer world and find a comfortable little space in the present. For me, a good meditation session brings about relaxation, positivity, and much-needed quiet. Meditation can also be a good way to shine light on negative feelings (shame, guilt, grudges, pain, anxiety) that we might not even know we’re harboring deep inside. Through meditation, we can find some mental space to acknowledge these feelings as they come to the surface and then do our best to oust them.
Unfortunately, I – for one – do not always find meditation so easy. I’ll find myself concentrating on a blank mind for a full five minutes, then it’s back to the itch on my leg, tonight’s dinner, tomorrow’s bills, or the dog barking outside. Even if I have a successful meditation practice, I might fall into despair as soon as I get up and see that it’s raining outside. How un-mindful of me. I think the most important thing about mindfulness is remembering to take it everywhere. No matter where you get yours every day – whether through meditation, yoga, or prayer – it’s important to remember that this concentrated time is just the stepping stone to full self-awareness. True mindfulness is a full-time job; every minute of every day is a new present.
*Helpful tip: Sometimes when I’m trying to concentrate hard on a blank mind, I suddenly realize that my brain has actually been running in overdrive in the background the whole time. A meditation teacher once told me that that’s when you’re meditating – that moment when you catch yourself thinking.