I often get questions after a yoga class or in my private work with clients around meditation. It’s all the rage… there are all kinds of studies around how it impacts our thoughts, our health, and our ability to focus.
People seem to want to do it, but many are overwhelmed by the idea of a starting a meditation practice. There is a fear around sitting still for any amount of time in silence – this can feel scary, especially if it’s new for you. It’s just you and your thoughts and emotions. We usually employ many external distractions that keep us from experiencing our thoughts, which often feels safer than sitting quietly. I’ll be honest with you – it’s not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as you might imagine it to be.
What comes up for you when you consider sitting in 10 minutes of silence?
Do you feel a panic in your body? Do you feel calm? Does it make you want to turn to your phone or the TV? Do you get curious?
So many different reactions. The voices in our head may seem louder when we become still, and we may not like what we hear. There is also the misconception that when you meditate, you’re trying to stop your thoughts. There are many ways to approach this and lots of religious and spiritual traditions that offer guidance around what it’s supposed to look and feel like.
If you’re curious about meditation but stillness feels scary, here are a few options to get yourself started:
- Try a walking meditation. If you have access to green space, great! If not, walk around your city block with no other distractions. Leave your phone at your desk or at home and simply be present to what’s going on around you. Notice what you see, observe your thoughts and the commentary in your head. Notice any sensations that arise in your body -pleasant or unpleasant.
- Become more comfortable being in your body. Does a movement practice seem more appealing? Try out a yoga or dance class (or anything else that calls you!) and set the intention of really inhabiting your body. Notice the sensations that arise. Observe if your thoughts are taking you away from what’s happening in the moment.
- Grab a journal and start a writing practice. Commit to a week of daily writing, even if it’s for 5-10 minutes at a time (timers are helpful!). Let anything that is on your mind pour out onto the page — don’t think, just write! You may be surprised to find out what’s buried in there!
- Try a meditation class. Check your community for a place where you can meditate with others. Sometimes being in a group can make it easier to sit in silence.
After you’ve tested the waters with any of the above practices, try being still once again on your own – set a timer for 5 min and have a seat on your favorite chair, bench, or cushion. If 5 minutes feels long, set it for 2 minutes. Just try it. See what happens.
To be perfectly honest, it might still feel uncomfortable, but maybe you can tolerate it for a little bit longer? Perhaps it will reveal something to you?
If you’re struggling in parts of your life, covering up uncomfortable feelings is not going to make it any better. It takes courage to explore the movement of your mind and it’s not for the faint of heart! Meditation can be a doorway to understanding your way of thinking and being. It’s an opportunity to surrender thoughts or ideas that no longer serve and a way to slow your thoughts down long enough for an insight or idea to be revealed.
Meditation is a pathway to back to yourself. Ultimately it’s your connection with yourself that will allow for deeper connection with those around you..
I’d love to hear how this lands for you. Feel free to post in the comments below or send me a message.
Looking for some support on this journey of more deeply connecting to yourself? Contact me to find out how we can work together!