Meditation for People who Can’t Stop Thinking!

Meditate by Frogarythm on FlickrHave you tried meditation but just feel that you don’t really ‘get it’? Do you sit there searching for a Zen-like calm but within seconds you’re planning your shopping list or analysing the plot of last night’s telly programme?
You are not alone!
I too am challenged in the Zen department!

The Zen Challenge

Although I have a lot of experience with hypnosis I have only got into meditation very recently. In January I began practicing mindfulness with Leo Babauta’s Sea Change program, including a brief mindful meditation each morning. His Zen Habits blog also has plenty of tips and info about meditation. The Sea Change program suggests starting small; meditate for 5 minutes – or 2! But make it a daily habit. I decided to make my habit something I do upon waking up.  I’ve tried breathing, staring at a candle and chanting.
My mind still wandered a little though so then I experimented with listening to guided meditations. Leonie Dawson has a free meditation to listen to here Meditation for Healing.
Then I began going to meditation sessions at my local Buddhist centre. The centre I go to is a big house, not a temple. There is a community of about 8 Buddhists living there. They have a public classroom for meditation and a separate public cafe. The weekly classes include a talk, each one with a different theme. I’ve found it to be very relaxed and informal and it gives me plenty to mull over on the bus home.

Have you got it yet?

Finally, this week I tried using the Headspace Meditation App (a guided meditation and mindfulness app.) Take10 is their free meditation programme that gives you a taste of meditation in just 10 minutes a day for 10 days. Andy from Headspace says, “That’s less than 1% of your day, so even the busiest person can squeeze it in.” The important thing that I learned from this app was that I was trying too hard to meditate. I was sooo concentrating on getting it right and achieving something and doing it correctly – my mind wasn’t relaxed at all! So the blue sky animation really helped me to understand that even on a cloudy day – the blue sky (clear mind) is still there… “Rather than trying to create blue sky, a state of happiness and calm, it’s more a question of sort of setting up a deck chair in the back garden, just sitting back and waiting for the clouds to pass.”

Why bother?

Yes it’s something you learn slowly and progress with over time. So is it worth the effort? I stumbled upon this article Should Meditation be included in the Education of Our Youth?

“Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly.”

Meditation is not a quick-fix for my whole life, it is a new habit that I’m forming. But after years of not really ‘getting it’ I think it was Andy at Headspace who finally made me understand.

“Remember that idea of the blue sky, nothing to achieve, nothing to create, it’s all about stepping back and just allowing the mind to unwind, in it’s own time and in it’s own way.” Take 10 programme, from Headspace

Trying too hard

Are you trying too hard? Do you need to let go and just ‘be’? Who’da thought that chilling out could be this difficult?! What have you discovered when you tried meditation? Let me know in the comments below.

PS. I am not an affiliate of Headspace. I just like it!

Thanks to Frogarythm on Flickr for the meditation image.

Learn a quick and easy technique for appreciating the little things in life with this free 10 day e-course.

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The easiest way to forgive yourself

This month I’ve been practicing ‘letting go’ and one of those most important things I’ve noticed was that I need to let go of the idea of being my ‘best self’ all of the time. Holding on to that idea doesn’t allow me to make mistakes, or to learn from my mistakes.

I drew a cartoon to visualise this idea for myself and then ironically I wanted to re-draw it and improve it before publishing it on this blog. I thought that the cartoon wasn’t good enough. I could see that I’d made some mistakes! I’ve written outside of the lines and drawn the body the wrong shape. But if I wait for the time to make my pictures perfect there may never be any pictures on this blog. (I learned this from Leonie Dawson’s Wild Donkey Secret to Getting Stuff Done.)

So today I am letting go of the idea that I’m going to be my ‘Best Self’ all of the time.  Can you accept that you’re a person who makes mistakes? What idea could you let go of, just for today?

Letting go of my Best Self

Accepting that I am a person who makes mistakes.

The one business start-up mistake you didn’t know you were making

That’s the kind of headline that draws me in with an urgency. I must stop whatever work I am doing and immediately absorb this one essential piece of information that is going to make such a huge difference to my online business success.

Not today though.

This week I am focussing on letting go of distractions, with Leo Babauta’s Sea Change Program.

But before I began work this morning I instead became distracted and drew two cartoons.

Greed for online info

Greed for online info

 

Internet distractions

Internet distractions cannot attract me!