Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meditation & the Monkey Mind

For the last couple of months, I have tried to be faithful in making time to meditate each day. It's not always easy, but it's important to me so I make it a priority.

I can't begin to tell you how often the conversations I've had go something like, "I've tried to meditate, but I can't make my mind stop." So, during this morning's meditation, my monkey mind (this is what I call my mind when it won't rest) decided to write a blog post.  It went something like this:
Deep breaths, in thru the nose, out thru the mouth, close eyes, listen to sounds around you, scan your body to notice how it's feeling, I think I need to write about how this can be difficult (monkey mind), breathe... breathe, I think I can title it (monkey mind) breathe...breathe.  I wonder how long it takes to get a doctorate degree, because the training can be that long to master this (monkey mind) breathe.  
You get the idea.  It's not always easy.  But I will tell you, it's so worth it.  I find I am calmer, less judgmental, happier. But I consider this a journey.
Miles Markey, son of Liz & Jason Markey
photo courtesy of Liz Markey
I use an app called Headspace.  Andy, the "guide" through these meditations has a very calming Brit accent and his voice makes it easy for me to start meditating. Plus, he's kinda cute! And the app is free to test drive it!

So let me quickly point out a few things I've learned about meditation, and hopefully you'll think about giving it a try.

  • It doesn't need to be 30 minutes.  It can honestly be as little as 5 minutes when you're in a hurry, but I would start with a 10 minute session.
  • You don't have to sit on the floor in a lotus position. You can sit in any chair.
  • Your mind will wander. A lot. Consider this training. You wouldn't expect to run a marathon if you haven't trained for it. Same thing here.
  • Many times, you start telling yourself that your mind is too busy to do it. But then you give yourself permission to have a monkey mind, it pays off when you stick with it.  Those often turn out to be my best meditations.
  • You can do it almost anywhere. Of course, it's better if the cat isn't trying to sit in your lap, or the dog isn't trying to lick your face but if it happens, you roll with it.  
All this is offered with a wish that your Christmas and New Year's celebrations bring you peace, in spite of all the chaos of the holidays. And whether or not you make resolutions, consider making peace and tranquility a high priority for 2016.  For each person who works at finding peace in their own lives, our world will be a little better for it.

Merry Christmas!!