Nobody can argue that everything these days seems to move faster. We get information instantly and 24/7. Entertainment is on demand. We can fast forward through our lives, or we can learn to slow down a little and gain some peace of mind even when the world is spinning around us.
One of the best ways to find some balance in today’s hectic world is by setting aside some time every day for quiet. I’m going to go ahead and use the “M” word… Meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to be a scary concept. So, let’s look at some simple ways to make meditation a part of your daily ritual.
1. Find a Quiet Space: Finding a quiet space to be alone with your thoughts doesn’t have to be that difficult. A little corner with a comfortable chair or cushion is all you really need. Just let it be known in your household that when you head to your space, you need to be left alone for fifteen minutes.
2. Set Aside 15 Minutes of “You” time: Fifteen minutes sounds like a lot at first, especially if you have a family that is demanding of your time and attention. I have found that the most important thing for me in making meditation a daily habit is to have a regular time (and space) for it. This is where creative scheduling comes into play. For me, 8:00 AM works perfectly. I see the kids off to school, have my breakfast and then head to my quiet room for at least 20 minutes of quiet time. I have come to look forward to this time. I crave it almost as much as chocolate! Find a time that works for you.
3. Set the Mood and have everything you need handy: My tools for meditation are simple. I bring my iPod for my handy dandy playlists of soothing meditation music. I have a shawl in case I get chilly as I relax. I have a crystal I like to hold and I keep my journal next to me to write in afterwards.
4. Sit comfortably and breathe: Now all you need to do is breathe. At first, just breathe in naturally and then exhale naturally. Don’t worry if you find thoughts creeping in. That’s normal. One technique I use to try and quiet my mind is to focus on counting the length of my inhale and my exhale. If a thought pops in, I picture it flowing through me and as it does, I visualize it turning into sparkly dust.
Then, I simply continue to breathe. Try to do this for 15 minutes. At first, it may be really hard to sit still for so long. We’re all accustomed to running around all day doing things. Don’t stress out, just sit quietly for as long as you can. Make it your goal to extend the time you sit each day.
5. Take some time to come back gently: When you’re finished meditating, take a bit of time to wiggle your toes and get back into real life. This is the time I like to write in my journal. Sometimes, brilliant ideas come to me during a meditation. Other times, I spend a few moments writing down my intentions for the day and focusing my thoughts on positive aspects of my life. Starting the day from a place of calmness and gratitude is a fabulous idea for all of us!
6. Keep it up!: Now that you’ve started, keep it up. Make your quiet time a priority. It’s been said that we think about 60,000 thoughts per day. That’s a lot of background noise. Think about how nice it will be to silence those thoughts, or at least slow them down a bit, for just 15 minutes a day. I guarantee you’ll feel more serene, more effective, and overall happier!