Meditation – A seriously beginner’s, beginner’s guide

Meditation. Why is it everywhere these days? Seems we’re being invited to explore the magic of meditation at every turn across the interwebs, flyers at the cafe, banners outside community halls… But why? Well, it’s a result of YOU thinking you can be everywhere, doing everything, with 11 browser windows open, jogging across your apartment to get to the bedroom faster to pop shoes on to pick up your child who’s kindy closes in 7 mins, a 6 minute drive away. Oh wait, that’s ME.

I relish the opportunity to remind you that I am not miss perfect. Truly, I ain’t. I think people think that health writers have it all sorted and it’s all just so effortless. Well, for me it’s not when it comes to stillness. I don’t naturally crave stillness, I much more naturally do ‘busy’.

Something I’ve come to learn is this: Nothing is ever ‘ all done’. It will never be the perfect time to take a moment or two to relax. We actually have to claim those moments and, you know what I say… Guilt and change cannot co exist, so if we’re going to create real change, then we cannot feel guilty about yesterday, or a mayhem day that gets out of hand. Each day is a new day and a time to claim your piece of stillness.

I’m happy to make an example of myself here, so let’s see where my wake up calls were, making a big, huge case for meditation. I’ll also make it clear and say this wasn’t a one day to the next epiphany, it’s been a series of little window’s into the awesomeness of stillness that have – 5 years later – resulted in actively seeking out and scheduling meditative time each day.

  1. I had an adrenal crash that left me constantly needing sleep for a month 3 years ago, after simply trying to pack too much into my day – for a year!
  2. I had an anxiety pang in my chest for nearly 2 years post childbirth.
  3. I caught myself not being able to take a deep breath one day and for many days and wanted to do something about it.
  4. I realised how fast I was eating, to be able to get through a meal quickly and would think about everything BUT the meal while I was eating it.
  5. I never once was able to be still and rest when my little guy was a baby. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” – Yeah, sure. I tried but I was so stressed about the laundry, or him waking up anyway soon, so what’s the point… I also knew that this was wrong, not good for my health, especially mental health, to feel like I was on a never ending ‘task’ track, with nothing ever ‘ all done’.
  6. I caught myself jogging across my apartment one day as described above, to get stuff done faster – Jeepers, it’s a 2 bedroom plus sunroom and I know we’ve got a separate living dining, but honestly!!!!
  7. I was unable to go to sleep without thinking I still had more to do… but wasn’t getting terribly much done staying up later. I can FEEL you nodding!
  8. I would constantly say yes to everything, even if it meant my day filling up completely with no free time for me at all.

If you nodded to more than 2 of the above then you should consider meditation. In fact, you should probably meditate or at the very least ‘do’ something meditative every single day.

 

Here are the little bits and pieces that led to me making it a daily affair, based on how they made me feel so calm and focused and deliciously ‘still’.

1. I’d been regularly putting my feet up 3-4 times a week for 15 minutes, focusing on my breath, after my adrenal crash a few years ago and that, I knew was awesome and made a difference. You might want to click through to this post here and read afterwards if you need more on that.

2. I’d also done Calm Birth prep meditation weekend with Peter Jackson, the founder, and that made me very peacefully move through a 30 hour, zero pain killers, through cyntocin contractions right up until an emergency C section – I honestly screamed once and the rest of the time was sleeping between contractions a minute each apart. I deep down knew the power of meditation and had lost touch with it after the little man was born.

3. I’d been doing group meditation at the Conscious Club sessions and really enjoyed the peaceful power of the tune out, among 600 other people.

4. I’d been doing little meditations at the end of yoga classes which I started early 2014 and was loving them more and more.

I knew meditation made me feel excellent and calm and able to let go of everything from extreme pain to extreme to do lists, so my question was this:  Could a more consistent practice of meditation double and triple the benefits?

Yes, yes it can and it does. Daily. 20 minutes. Start with 5 minutes and don’t skip it thinking ‘oh what’s 5 minutes going to do? That’s exactly the most important day to grab that five minutes to get you through! Last week, head phones in, I did my ‘Simply Being’ meditation on the 5 minute setting in a toilet cubicle. It was just the ticket on a busy day!

So, if you want to get still, feel a bit less ‘messy in the head’, feel calm in approaching your days, feel ok to let go of house work and leave it for another day, feel ok to say no to appointments that will tip your day into hectic territory, then hello!

A nice big group of us from my community here have often done the free 21 day Oprah / Deepak Chopra meditation experience and really got some amazing benefits from it.

oprah meditation

Here are a few questions answered by my friend Tom Cronin, a meditation teacher in Sydney. Tom’s great because his ‘past life’ was the hectic life of the finance hot shot, so in true style of letting one’s mess be their message, he’s now able to help people harness the power of stillness, despite the craziness of the day to day.

I asked Tom a couple of questions for anyone already fearing meditation failure. The good news is, there is no such thing!

1. Is meditation forgiving? What if people can’t focus or feel still when starting out?
TOM: The key to beneficial meditation is understanding the mechanics of meditation and why the mind is busy and accepting that there will be thoughts in meditation. This may sound strange as surely meditation is just sitting there with no thoughts? Well, no, this is not just it. There is alot more to it than that. There is a lot going on in the body during a meditation experience and this will often result in thoughts in nearly all meditations. Research different meditation techniques and find one that suits you. There are many different ways to meditation and they produce very different results.
 
2. How soon after beginning the practise, can one expect to start feeling more peaceful and clear of mind?  
TOM: Again this will depend on how long you meditate for, how often you meditate, and what type of meditation. I recommend that you meditate twice a day for 20 minutes each time. This will give you big benefits within the first week. However if you’d like to just start
out with just a little meditation each day you can sit for 5 minutes focusing on your breath and this is a really great start. If you want to check out what Tom is up to already, you can head to his links below… 
Profile shot
 
And now to begin. I’ve created this post as a way to inspire a little more stillness in our lives and to remind you I’m no yogi on a hill drinking a green smoothie saying “OM”. Life is too busy for most of us and unless you’re clearing your mind in a veggie patch every day, taking bush walks or sitting on a rock at the beach for a while, then you might want to join us. If you want to know what being a ‘rushing woman’ is doing to you from a biochemical perspective, look no further than this excellent Ted Talk by Dr Libby Weaver. Men are in no way immune either! Kids either for that matter, but more on that later.
So, who’s with me?
Want another resource? Head Space is great. Hay House meditations podcast is great too. Want zero technology and just something you can start with? Sit or lie down and focus on your breath for 5-10 minutes daily. Heck, even do it for 30 seconds. Or 10. ANY time you give to focusing on the breath is time definitely not wasted. Add in more time, focusing on each body part and letting go of tension as you focus and leave it and move onto the next part of your body. It’s that simple. Once you’re done, slowly open your eyes, do your favourite stretch and that’s it: You’ve meditated!
Low Tox living definitely encompasses the rejection of rushing and stress. You can go chemical free organic whatever you fancy, but the state of what’s going on in your head accounts for so much of the overall health picture. It’s not good for us to stress, and rush and be so busy. Just as we got ourselves into this mess, we’re going to have to get ourselves out!
Picture of rocks is courtesy of Mind Body Green Qi Gong meditation piece.

Comments 5

  1. I actually started trying out meditation via some apps etc a few days ago as part of Dr Libby’s 30 day program …. And then saw you post about this, so have signed up! We did a 3 min meditation together as a family before the kids’ bedtimes last night, and even though there were a few giggles and restless bodies, they all got to sleep MUCH faster! Look fwd to sharing the journey – I know slowing down is a big problem for me – thx for sharing (there was lots of nodding on my end)

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      Author

      Slowing down is such a big challenge for modern peeps. We are propelled to do more, be more, achieve more, hustle more and I’m not saying achievement and hustle are bad things, but if it’s at the expense of simply being, then no. Not good at all. Here’s to both of us nailing this Amelia. xx

  2. thanks for this useful article , actually I benefited too much from Deepak Chopr , but I’m always ask ” how to do that more than 5 min ?” and I think meditation really effective for our body, it make us more healthy , not only for our workout, but also useful for all aspects of life …..

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    Author

    I am loving the meditation experience with Deepak – could listen to his calming voice for hours! During any minor stresses in the day, I am noticing a super quick (ie controlled breath totalling 4 seconds) return to calm. Wonderful stuff!

  4. The timing for this meditation challenge works well for me as I wanted to start meditating every day. I am also enjoying the questions in the journal. It is a great way to reflect on your life and how the meditations relate to it.

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