Nowadays we’re living in a world that’s constantly and rapidly changing, fueled by a performance-driven busyness where high expectations and stress makes us run even harder. And as if that’s not even enough, the storm in our heads never seems to subside. We’re haunted by thoughts, worries, and judgements and often live on autopilot, which makes life pass by so quickly. There’s a never-ending search for something external that gives short-term gratification, but which is not really fulfilling in the long run. The storm doesn’t pass. The constant focus on taking action, on reaching goals in the future or unresolved resentments about the past all hold us back from finding peace and calmness within and to simply just be.
It’s a fact. We have become human doings instead of human beings.
It might seem impossible to step out of the train of thoughts that is running non-stop through your mind and prevents you from being fully present in the moment, enjoying life as it is. However, through the consistent practice of meditation, one of the most effective forms of stress reduction, we can reach a state of thoughtless awareness.
A state of profoundly deep peace occurs when the mind is quiet and still, yet still alert, where we find comfort in this present moment and experience a deep acceptance that everything is okay the way it is. We don’t need to go into the stories of our mind. A profound realization that we are not our thoughts or emotions. They just come and go and the only thing we have to do is observe this from a distance, without judgment, coming from a place of compassion and acceptance.
The only way is the way within.
How to start your meditation practice as a beginner:
- Find a space where you’re not being distracted and where you feel comfortable and at ease.
- Start with small steps beginning with just a couple of minutes sitting per day, which you can increase over time.
- Do it first thing in the morning when the mind is still very clear and not being occupied by daily issues.
- Just do it and don’t think too much about the how. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sit in lotus position. Just sit. On the floor, on a chair, on your bed.
- Find a focal point, keep your eyes slightly open. This will help you in the beginning not to drift away in your thoughts. Gaze at a spot in front of you, or use a candle to focus your attention.
- Open up your senses to your surroundings and listen, feel, smell, taste, observe with awareness everything that is present in that moment and see if you can just let it be, without analyzing where it’s coming from or what it is.
- Bring your awareness inside and withdraw your senses, let everything around you be what it is and focus within. Observe how you feel. Become aware of all the physical sensations in your body and the places where you still feel tension or stress. Observe your emotional state of being. Whatever there is, it’s okay. See if you can hold the space for yourself to let everything just be without judgement.
- Use your breath as an anchor to stay present in the moment, just follow the way your breath is moving through your body—every inhalation, every exhalation.
- Don’t judge yourself if your mind wanders, that’s normal. Thoughts will keep on popping up in your mind. You don’t have to go into these thoughts. Just watch them come and go and when you’re distracted bring your attention back to your breath.
- Become aware of how peace and calmness inside feels for you and where you feel this in your body. What are the physical sensations? Recognizing this makes it easier to reconnect with this place within in the future.
- Practice because having a consistent daily practice, in spite of changing weather in your life, enables you to get to know yourself better and gives you deep insights into the working of your mind. Practice with commitment and discipline. After a while you can increase the amount of time and maybe add in some contemplative practices as well. But for now, just keep it simple and tangible for yourself.
- Take your meditation practice with you throughout the day; just take a couple of moments during the day to stand still, be present and mindful of what you’re doing. Do things you would normally do on autopilot, like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, eating your breakfast with full awareness and focus.
Remember that storms will always be there, inevitably. Meditation doesn’t make them go away, but through meditative practices we’re able to find peace within that gives us the space to breathe and makes us stand strong in the midst of the inclement weather.