Time to Sit
In my last post (Thoughts Can Kill You) I talked about mental toughness. Today I want to talk to you about having mental toughness in the beginning when you first start meditating. Meditation is about learning to sit. It is learning to be quiet. It is learning to understand that the chatter in your head has no power until you let it.
When I first started sitting in meditation I had lots of rules: “I have to sit like this,” “I have to breathe like that,” “I have to act like this,” “my room has to look like that”. The “have to-s” alone were overpowering. Back then after I did all the “have to” rituals I would sit and then the chatter would start. The “really, are you serious” thoughts and “are we done yet” thoughts and…wait for it… “I am going to relive my day at work” thoughts would all start running.
After that it would be, “my body hurts, I am not comfortable” or “hey I’m tired, let’s call it a day and will go longer tomorrow” thoughts.
This is where mental toughness comes in. I was nuts back when I learned meditation. I started with a half hour. I sat there in a dark room fighting my chatter until a buzzer would go off. Maybe it was the way to go for me because I would not give up. I looked at my chatter as a parent sees a misbehaving child. You understand patience. That’s what you should have with yourself in the beginning. Actually I say always have patience with yourself. If you have ever practiced meditation you must be laughing right now because this is what you went through. The funny part is that I still go through these thoughts, this chatter if I choose to.
I have been meditating for a very long time now and here are some things I have learned that are helpful in making meditation feel more natural:
- Try to meditate about the same time every day.
- In the beginning find a way of sitting that is comfortable, but not so comfortable that it’s just another place to sleep.
- If it helps, use music and/or create a ritual that helps you meditate. The ritual helps you tell your brain it is time to meditate.
- As meditation begins to feel more natural to you, start to loosen up your rituals a little so that you can bring your meditation into your main stream of life. Practice reducing your ritual; if you use music learn to meditate without it. Keep removing the ritual from your meditation practice until all you need is your breath or maybe the sensations of your body or something like that which is with you all the time.
- Take your meditation on the road; meditate at the mall as you walk around, take it to work. Meditation is a practice to create silence. Eyes open, eyes shut, it does not matter. Meditation is real life. It is the eye opener of what you’re missing.
The key is sticking it out to make a time to sit in your life. You will discover your true self. You will not be disappointed.