In case you haven’t guessed, I do not come by peace and calm naturally. In fact, I am just the opposite. I have way too much energy and often feel way too much adrenaline oozing out of every pore of my body.
The truth is I have so much energy that I’ve been known to encourage everyone in my life (with great enthusiasm) to do exactly what I would like them to do and, more importantly, what I think they should do for themselves. Needless to say, it is not always easy being my child. Or spouse. Or friend.
Then, a few years ago, I began exploring the practice of meditation as a possible means of calming my interior – including my mind. But learning to meditate is no cakewalk.
The best way to learn mediation is to start with a short time frame. I began with 10 minute sessions each morning and evening, and found the morning sessions very easy to fit into my schedule. But by the time I got to my evening attempt it was almost time to go to sleep. So, the morning and evening schedule didn’t work for me then (and still doesn’t work for me now).
These days, my meditation practice is still in the morning, after breakfast and a shower, right before I leave for work. I’m better now than when I began, but I still consider myself blessed if I can sit quietly for a full 20 minutes.
Actually, the whole concept of being a little better today than I was yesterday is a very attractive benefit of meditation. The mere ability to set aside time each day, quiet my racing mind and direct the thoughts that float in and out is a success for me.
Meditation is not a religion. There is no need to pray when you meditate, nor do you have to believe in one deity or another. But it is helpful to believe in a universe that is kind.
Meditation does not demand that you do it like everyone else. Some people practice mediation in the dark, some do it with music, some practice in silence and others do it in their parked car during their lunch break. In life, you do what you can with the time that presents itself.
If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks and your body cannot handle the medications that can help, you might enjoy and embrace the art of meditation. Anxiety often comes from the mind processing far too much information, so the 20 minutes set aside for meditating gives your nervous system a chance to quiet itself and prepare for the onslaught of emails, phone calls, voicemails, meetings and other duties of each day.
Studies have also proven that meditation can lower blood pressure, control blood sugar levels and even strengthen your immune system.
If you’ve considered beginning a meditation program, but don’t know where to start, I suggest the online lessons from Wendy Koreyva at Chopra.com or the counselors at Maharishi Foundation USA. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, the folks at Healthline also offer a complete list of the best meditation phone apps.
Our world now presents a constant flow of information, allowing us to hear all the best stories and all the worst disasters within minutes of their occurrence. In fact, we not only hear about it instantaneously, but continue to review the photos and rerun the soundtrack repeatedly until the next big thing happens.
As women, we carry the problems of families and friends on our shoulders, along with the weight of our work and volunteer responsibilities. And “we carry these gifts, joys and burdens until the day we are buried.” (A direct quote from my grandmother).
The trick to surviving (and thriving) amidst this chaos is to carve out a little time for meditation, so we can continue to carry the load on our shoulders with a light heart. Life will still be waiting for you when your meditation is done, but you may discover you’re in a better place than you were 20 minutes ago.
You’ll find more information about mediation and other healthy lifestyle options in he Resources section of our site.