So many times I hear people tell me, “I can’t meditate. Its too hard. I don’t know how to do it.
Let’s start in baby steps. First, “Do you know how to breathe?” There is no point in attempting meditation either by sitting still or being in motion and focusing on breathing if you aren’t even breathing properly.
Proper breathing is so important, it increases blood oxygen giving you clarity, focus, relaxation and life-energy! Proper breathing is when your belly comes down and out when inhaling and up and in when exhaling. Do not force it because then you are compensating with using muscles of your chest, shoulders and back.
The best position to teach yourself proper breathing is by laying down, in this position your back and shoulders are supported and your abdominals are relaxed allowing your diaphragm to really be the only muscle you use for breathing. So before bed tonight or when you wake up, lay there and become aware of how you are breathing.
Become aware of your breathing throughout the day, especially in moments of tension or stress when our breath becomes shallow, our muscles become tense, and no oxygen is getting in, therefore no clarity is coming through. Breathing slow, deep, proper breaths allows you to quiet the mind (ie this is a form of meditation!).
When you can quiet the mind by focusing on what’s going on with your body and breath, you allow space to become aware of your thoughts.
Even reading this blog, be aware of your thoughts:
Are you thinking this girl is full of shit?
Are you becoming annoyed?
Are you skipping sentences because you’re thinking about what you need to do tonight?
Becoming aware of our thoughts allows us to understand ourselves better. Do we appear mean, judgmental, critical, fearful, ashamed because our thoughts tell us to be?
Your thoughts do not define you.
They are just thoughts, some call this part of you the ego. It’s what we have taught ourselves to think over time. The world is a tough, scary place and our ego is a protection mechanism we create to survive.
When we become aware, we can then begin to shift, if we want to. Some of have become used to our egos, it protects us by keeping us disconnected, it makes us right by allowing us to be arrogant, it keeps us in the dark, and for those that don’t like change, this is a place of comfort and we don’t want to know any better. And that’s ok! Its your choice!
The rest of us want to shift our energy, our thinking, so that we generally feel positive, calm, relaxed, happy. This awareness of wanting better allows us to ask questions like:
I have everything I want, why do I still feel like a failure?
Why am I upset about this situation?
Why did her words make me feel angry?
Why do I say things I don’t mean?
Naturally when we ask questions…we want answers. Those answers start to come in the form of whispers. These whispers are messages from our higher self. The messages are so profoundly full of wisdom and yet simple enough to make us want to be vulnerable and real and better in every situation.
These whispers are constantly occurring throughout the day, in the car, in the office, in the bathroom, even while we are engaged in conversation, but we don’t hear it or we ignore it, because we are not aware.
Becoming aware of the whispers is like noticing the real you. The you that is vulnerable, sensitive, loving, peaceful, some might even say this is the part of you that is connected to God/Universe. This is the only part you enter this life with (that’s why babies are so fresh and innocent; they are solely an expression of their higher selves).
Over time, your higher self becomes masked and hidden based on life experiences, trauma and things that were said to you. This higher self is always alive in you, it believes in you, it knows your great potential and its been awaiting your awareness.
Becoming aware allows us to open up space in our hearts, minds, bodies, spirits, to hear its whispers.
And when you hear it, it says things like:
“Give her love, she is scared.”
“Say thank you until you mean it.”
You may not listen to the whisper the first time or the second or the 10th, but you are aware of it; And being aware of it is enlightenment!
Even Buddhist monks don’t start out by sitting still and meditating for long periods of time. They had to work up to it, they had to take baby steps. They had to learn that meditation is not just about sitting and breathing, its about becoming aware in every moment that you feel anything but harmony and love.
Know that the awareness will become your guide, your guru (fun fact: guru means bringing one from darkness into the light). The awareness will become your true voice, your true actions and one day, it will tell you its time, its time for your next step. Until then ….shhhh listen.