Focus on: Meditation

Image of a person with several thoughts and icons around their head.

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When I tell people I follow a daily meditation practice, the all too usual reaction is, “I can’t meditate. My mind is too busy to stop and I don’t have time.” Here’s the first problem: you place an immediate barrier in front of yourself by saying that you cannot do something. The second problem is a misunderstanding about meditation. Meditation is not about stopping the mind from thinking, it’s about quieting the mind and just slowing down. I, too, thought I would never be able to successfully meditate. However, for the past 2-years, I have been meditating on a daily basis for periods of time ranging from 10 minutes to 1 hour. I am even able to meditate on the bus journey to work! We can all find 10 minutes in our busy day to meditate.

If life is stressful, work is busy, kids social lives are running you ragged, meditation could help you find some inner peace. Start out with some guided meditations. These are meditations where someone is leading you through the process, telling you when to breathe, what to visualize, or maybe even a mantra to repeat. Finding the right meditation “teacher” is important. For me, davidji is a great go to. davidji used to have a highly-stressful job in Wall Street before he gave that up for his spiritual practice of stress management and meditation teaching. Chel Hamilton’s “Meditation Minis” can be found on iTunes for free or Colette Baron-Reid’s “Joy of Being” can be purchased on iTunes meditations are effective and, in my opinion, easy to follow. 

Some people will tell you that you must be sat in a chair with your back ramrod straight to meditate. I think you just need to be comfortable, whether that means sat in an armchair or laying down on the bed, you need to find what works or you. There’s no doubt that it is challenging to focus the brain. It just takes practice. During meditation I often have thoughts about work, about what to cook for dinner, or about the kids shouting downstairs. When this happens, I just refocus in the meditation. How do I this? I picture a burning candle in my mind’s eye, focusing on the flickering flame. Or, I “draw” a star or the outline of a flower in my mind. This simple practice really works to bring the mind back to the meditation.

Candle flame.

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There are so many resources available about meditation and mindfulness, and so many are free: Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer, have websites and apps on iOS and Android.

Meditation is truly an inexpensive practice we can all use to bring positive change in our daily lives. Give it a go and surprise yourself. Namaste.