A quick message about meditation, or what I sometimes call the quiet game.
I think a lot of people, when it comes to meditation, find that they don't know where to start or think that they're not doing it right. After all, it can be very difficult to "clear your mind". In this day and age, when there are 1000 things to do and think about, it seems nearly impossible to clear your mind...but maybe I can help.
First of all, meditation is a practice. A practice. Let that sink in. It's not something that you do "right", because there's no right way to meditate. You don't need special music or mantras or incense or altars. You just need to sit and observe. So I offer you this; don't focus on clearing your mind. Who sits with no thoughts running through their brain?? Certainly not a 42 year old business owner who is both a Virgo and an INTP personality type, who absorbs information and conducts full-on debates in her own head like it's her job (that's me lol). So, instead of trying to "clear" your mind, I want to encourage you to redirect your thoughts. Sit quietly, close your eyes and redirect your thoughts to your breath, to the sounds around you. Bring your awareness to your breathing pattern. Don't focus too much on breathing "right", just become aware of how shallow or deep your breath is. Eventually, try to get into the practice of breathing more deeply. If it helps to have soothing music in the background that you can focus on, you can do that too. As I'm writing this post, the song Calling the Others by Anilah has showed up in my Spotify list. If you need something to focus your attention to, try that.
But first, I want you to just sit, with your eyes closed, for 5 minutes....without moving. Seriously, don't move. Your brain will try to tell you that something itches (I promise). Don't give in, gain control over your mind for that 5 minutes. Your nose isn't going to itch off - in fact, it doesn't need to be scratched - you just *think* it does. Focus your thoughts on sitting absolutely still.
What happens in these 5 minutes is that you gain control over your thoughts. I would argue that you can, in turn, use this in stressful or annoying situations. You learn to control what you think, *how* you think. You can use this to take would-be negative thoughts about a stressful or annoying situation and turn them into productive thoughts or just simply choose not to allow those negative thoughts to take up residence in your mind.
*this photo is one that we took at Cape Disappointment, off the southern coast of Washington