So many people, myself included sometimes, find it incredibly hard to sit still, close our eyes, and turn out attention inwards by tuning into our body, our emotions, our energy, and that part of us which is eternally present, our Soul, yet which is so often swamped by our ever-active mind and compulsion to be busy.
Many people say :"I don't have time to meditate." Or, "I find it so hard to start, so I don't."
Many people also feel quite afraid of this stillness and non-doing. It raises real anxiety in people.
How is, I wonder, we have become so afraid of ourselves? Of our bodies? And of our true emotions and energetic states?
And how is it, so perversely, that we are all so addicted to doing and being busy? How is that THAT state has become SO familiar and comfortable, and the other so UNCOMFORTABLE and scary...?
To try to help those who fear going within and meeting themselves more fully, I have put together a simple list to facilitate starting this practice.
Here are my top meditation and body-awareness tips to those who feel this anxiety, or who's compulsions to not stop are very strong and persuasive:-
1) Think of meditating and spending time focusing within, as giving yourself a break. It is you taking care of yourself, give yourself a break of just a few minutes each day.
2) Reverse your thinking about meditation - from fear-based and time-consuming, to: "To sit in silence and stillness, with myself, to quietly go inside and meet with myself fully, even for just a few moments each day, is a DELICIOUS treat. A few minutes to fully savour myself and spend quality time alone with me and my inner-world." Viewing this practice as "delicious" and enjoyable, instead of difficult or scary, can create an invitation mind-set, a gift from ourselves to ourselves. Try this and see the difference in your desire to sit still and close your eyes, you might be surprised.
3) Literally decide to sit for just a few minutes - even 3-5 minutes each day can have a correspondingly much bigger impact on your state of stress and well-being levels. The beauty of meditation and body-awareness work is just this: That just a few minutes spent focusing on ourselves in this way, equals a substantially bigger benefit on the rest of our day, and lives over time. Not to mention how we then interact with others because we are coming from a calmer, more present and grounded place. Try setting yourself the goal of sitting for 3-5 minutes only. This will feel less daunting, more feasible in terms of "fitting it in" and I guarantee you will find yourself actually sitting for longer once the deliciousness of it takes hold.
4) Time spent quietly paying attention to each part of your body is a great way to start this practice. When you first sit, focus simply on your breathing without trying to change it, just notice it. Then scan from the top of your head through each part of your body down to your feet, and go beyond the ground to see how "rooted" you feel in that moment. You can do this either sitting or standing. (I recommend not lying down to body-scan or meditate as it can make you too sleepy which is the opposite desired result, as we want to cultivate more conscious presence). Once you have scanned your body, just sit, without any mental activity, and simply allow your body to be breathed; allowing your mind to quieten and take a break from it's busyness for just a few minutes.
By adopting these simple yet powerful mind-shifts and practices, we can alleviate any fears or resistances we have to this kind of practice. And give ourselves the much needed quiet space that our body and soul is crying out for.
Remember: Just a few minutes of this = A much bigger benefit overall, you can't loose, in fact, you gain so much as the benefits far outweigh the actual amount of time you tell yourself you can't afford to find for yourself.
And if you have horses, do this in their vicinity and notice their immediate and different response to you - their feedback is immediate and vivid when we enter this space of being rather than doing.
© Angela Dunning, 22 March 2016