You’ve heard about it, maybe even considered it, but never really made the final move towards giving meditation a try…
Perhaps the idea of “zen-ing out” brings up some of the following issues for you?
– “I can’t picture myself sitting still for that long, it sounds agonizing”
– “I am highly energetic and have no desire to dull that spirit in any way”
– “I can’t concentrate on singular thoughts for very long, my mind wanders”
– “I tend to go for active forms of exercise as opposed to more passive alternatives”
If the above sounds like you, I will slap your ass and giggle with glee because I am riding that same boat! And I can attest that meditation has been an absolute gem regardless of these qualms.
Take it from this spaz-at-heart: the following just might help you finally get on that chill-the-funk-out train… without sacrificing any of the amazing energy you have buzzing inside of you! In fact, you will be able to summon up an awesome amount of this high-test power, precisely when you need it most.
Firstly, why meditate at all?
The health benefits are huge… and proven. No questions there. Feel free to peruse any of the study-based articles below to get a glimpse at how meditation might benefit your spastic self:
Personal experience with meditation:
Being an animated character, I can attest to how important the “fierce fighting”, “go-getter” vibration can be to certain elements in our lives… such as for work, playtime, working out, so why on earth would we want to dull this, right?
In total honesty, a regular meditation practice has been nothing but wicked-beneficial for the moving and shaking that is required on a daily basis… no dulling here, whatsoever!
In fact, what I have discovered, is that meditating removes the more twitchy-nervous, uncontrolled elements of this high vibration. It allows us to channel the inner fire and direct it towards the element of our choosing, without wasting any of it on uselessly-explosive instances, while remaining sharp to our surroundings and true to ourselves.
Meditation maintains the activity while allowing it to be fueled from a grounded place: less head-strung, more heart-felt, from a strong foundation. It engenders a pause between thoughts and reactions, allowing a more deliberate approach to emerge and an overall more influential disposition.
It has proven particularly strengthening before intense presentations or performances and has saved my life on multiple occasions where the energy has begun to overflow and anxiety starts to rear its ugly head… once you know how to relax, you have access to this ability at any time – but there is somewhat of a learning curve.
OK, so what’s the deal? Give me the low-down
The deal is this: simply try it out for a period of 2-3 weeks, daily practice is ideal. If it’s not for you, no harm done… but I have a sneaking suspicion that you will want to stick to your new-found inner strength.
Good options to start off with:
Walking Meditation: If you are someone that can’t even fathom sitting still for long periods of time, this is a really interesting option for you. You can read more about this method in this article by Thich Nhat Hanh: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Thich_Nhat_Hanh_A_Guide_to_Walking_Meditation.htm
Guided Meditations: I find these to be the most effective for calming the mind-squirrels. Instead of trying to concentrate on your own, you can follow the guided visualizations, which help to focus those spinning thoughts. These can be experienced sitting straight up in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground or lying down.
Kicking it off with a few free audio / video examples:
The UCLA Mindful Meditation Research Centre offers up a series of free online guided meditations: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
Tips for gettin’r done:
– Concentrate on the breath. The most important element and a great tool for focusing when the mind starts to wander, is to come back and pay attention to your breathing without forcing it in any way.
– Allow your mind to wander, but simply bring yourself back. When your mind starts to think about your grocery list, taxes, a conversation with your ex, don’t get upset at yourself for losing concentration, simply bring your focus back to the breath.
– Begin in a calm, quiet space. As you start your practice off, it will be easier to either use headphones when listening to a guided meditation or to sit in a room where distractions are minimal. Eventually, you will have the ability to stop drop and meditate, even in the most chaotic of atmospheres. In this case, you can use the sounds that surround you as elements to focus in on during the practice. This is more challenging, but allows full control of your relaxation abilities.
– Choose a time of day when you need strength, and keep the timing regular. If you get tired in the afternoons, this is the perfect time to reboot. Perhaps the switch between work and home life in the evening, would be an effective transition aid? As you awake in the morning? Whatever you choose, try to keep a regularity to your practice.
– Exercise all your meditation muscles. When working out, we don’t simply focus in on a single muscle group in our body. With meditation, it is always a good idea to try out differing methods from time to time (body scan, relaxation, varying guided themes, chakra alignment) to learn how to deepen your practice and gain new perspectives.
The key to an effective meditation practice is simply give it a go… for longer than the once or twice that leave you feeling as though you “Can’t do it”. It takes time, but it’s totally worth it.