Finding Yourself: Meditation

Hello Readers! It’s early in the morning, and your home is quiet for once. You’re the only one awake, and you pray—as you drink your coffee and scroll through your social media sites—that this peace will last just a moment longer. And then the baby is crying, and your significant other is getting ready for work, your toddler is throwing his breakfast all over your floors, and you suddenly long for the days when you could lounge around all day without a care in the world.

I’ve been there. It’s called “burn out”. Even we moms go through it with our duties at home; it’s hard not to when you spend every moment—waking or not—on the clock. Our jobs as parents are demanding, back-breaking, labor-intensive, and non-stop. And we need to recharge our minds and repair our souls in order to maintain our patience and get out of the “burn out” rut we can get stuck in. But, good news! That recharge is only ten minutes away!

You can get the recharge that helps you in only ten minutes a day through meditation. As we all know, meditation is a relaxation technique designed to help a person find their inner chi—their inner sense of calm and clarity. It has been practiced for thousands of years, and it’s become popular for a reason.

Now, I know that you may have tried it in the past, and you may have found it difficult to follow. That’s because that perfect moment of clarity—of Nirvana—is not easily reached, nor is it easy to “clear your mind”. There is a reason why J.K. Rowling devoted an entire book to her main character’s lack of ability to clear his mind. Our minds are constantly running through thoughts and ideas, especially with children and families to care for. But it’s important to try every day in order to help maintain our memories and disposition. I know that when I don’t get my ten minutes of meditation time each morning I can be a bear to be around, especially if my baby is having a bad day. It truly makes a difference, even though I have yet to achieve Nirvana myself. So let’s get started on the technique.

Meditation.

To begin, find a quiet corner of your home. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; it’s actually best if you have little décor to distract you from your practice. I typically find the center of my living room or the foot of my bed to be the perfect spots, depending on whether everyone is awake or not.

Once you have found your spot, get into the most famous mediation position ever. Sit down, cross legged, with both ankles resting on your knees. If you can’t achieve this position yet, or it is uncomfortable to do so, get as close as you can to this position while still maintaining your comfort. Personally, my ankles and knees have gone through so much during my childhood years that I can’t sit cross-legged very well. Instead, I sit on the heels of my feet. This is still an acceptable position since it pushes the pelvis forward and helps straighten the spine during my meditation.

Next, rest your left hand inside your right, palms facing up, and touch the pads of your thumbs together. Your hands should be relaxed and not strained, so make sure you are not pressing your thumbs together or straining your hand muscles. Place your hands before you with bent elbows and away from your body. You want to allow for air flow around your body. Then, set a timer for ten minutes—or for five if you are just starting to practice mediation until you feel comfortable getting into the practice. I use the timer on my phone, which I start and then place behind my back to avoid the distraction of the screen or the time.

Now for the difficult part: concentrate on your breath. You don’t want to concentrate on your breathing or a certain breathing technique. Honestly, just concentrate on how you breathe. On each breath as it comes in and goes out. Whenever your mind starts to wander, mentally correct yourself and refocus on your breath. Each time you do this tells you how stressed your mind is; It tells you how hectic your life is, and it shows you why you need this technique. Remember to rest your eyes while not closing them. A half-closed state of your eyes is the best practice for this. The reason you don’t want to close your eyes is that it relaxes your mind too much. And if they are wide open you are open to distraction from outside sources. If you also look down to a spot on the floor in front of you, you can avoid distraction as well. And that’s it.

I know it sounds so easy that it must be difficult, but the hardest part of this practice is preventing letting your mind wander aimlessly. The first time I did this, I spent nearly every second refocusing my mind on my breath. Most of my wanderings focused on how much time I thought had passed. I swore that very little time had passed, and then suddenly my timer was going off. But I will say this: the moment I rose to my feet and started on my day, I felt immediately better, like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It definitely made my day so much easier.

The next day, I didn’t do my meditation, and I spent the entire day feeling frazzled and stressed, snappish and distracted. Since then, I’ve tried to take the time needed to meditate every morning before I start on my routine. It restores my soul and recharges my mind, and it helps me think clearer every day. I have actually found my mind focusing better and switching tasks better because I clear my mind every morning. And it’s getting easier.

So, tell me Readers, what are your experiences with mediation? Can you offer any insight into this topic for us?

Until next time,

-BBM

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