Busting Your Meditation Myths with Easy Tips to Get Started
Meditation is one of the most ancient practices in the history of the human race, with evidence dating back at least 5,000 years. Variations of meditation are used in almost every religion and spiritual practice (some refer to it as prayer).
I was introduced to meditation as a young teen, although I didn’t know it. The summer between middle school and high school, I spent in a children’s hospital having several pretty elaborate and intensive surgeries. At 13 years old, I had a full spinal fusion to address the scoliosis issues that had developed as a result of a T-5 spinal cord injury that I’d been living with since I was under a year old. Two weeks after the surgery, I got a staph infection and had to endure the entire surgery over again, plus IV treatment for an additional month.
Needless to say, the experience was traumatic on a young body. The pain was obviously challenging to deal with - but the emotional stress of anticipating procedures, enduring prolonged pain, and being separated from all of my peers the summer before high school was also a very real part of it. But, I remember finding relief when a recreational therapist would come to my room to do what she called a “hypnosis.”
She would pay me visit, either the night before a surgery or afterward, when I was in the most pain, and needed to relax. She’d play soothing music and walk me through some different visions. Sometimes we were at home in my kitchen, while I envisioned my mom cooking dinner. Other times, I escaped in my mind to a beautiful beach and let the sun rays warm my skin. She would ask me to try to use all my senses and pay attention to all the sensations while creating these imaginary experiences.
And, it worked. By the end of our sessions, I’d be feeling noticeably better, more calm, more confident and with less pain and worry - even though the circumstances around me hadn’t changed a bit. I realize, now, that was really my first exposure to a form of meditation and the power of the conscious mind.
Fast forward to today and mediation has become an invaluable practice in my life. The physical, emotional and spiritual benefits are too numerous to list. I do my best to meditate daily, and sure notice if I don’t. The longer I go without meditating, the more I can feel myself becoming less confident and organized, more agitated and impatient, and all-in-all, less committed to my purpose. Without meditation, my fire starts to dim and I become less-equipped to stay present.
I rediscovered meditation when I was in my 20’s and first embarking on my spiritual journey. I was on a mission to learn to meditate, but it really intimidated me. I thought it may require some secret, divine connection that I wasn’t sure I had.
I recall asking my acupuncturist how to meditate, reading articles and watching countless hours of YouTube videos by spiritual leaders. Finally, I found a 15-minute guided meditation that I really enjoyed. It’s a meditation series by Abraham-Hicks, that guides listeners through one of four different topics, depending on what you need to address in your life. After I got accustomed to those, I began listening to others and eventually found an instrumental audio file that has been the most transformational for me thus far. Listen here: Moses Code Meditation.
Like any other skill or task, meditation gets better with practice. When you learn to relax into it and and intentionally focus your mind, or better yet, be free of mental chatter - it becomes less of a chore and more of a crucial component to your being. Eventually, it will be a tool you can utilize anytime, anywhere - on a busy airplane, at your desk at work, under a tree or floating in the bathtub.
If you’ve been interested in meditation, but uncertainty, or fear, or excuses have kept you from doing it, this blog is for you. Below, you’ll find some common myths about meditation, as well as some tips to help you get started in your practice. Namaste!
Myth: My Mind is Too Active to Meditate
This is probably the most common challenge to people first learning to meditate. We live in a really hectic world that becomes more fast-paced everyday. Our brains are on overdrive trying to process information, manage our schedules and take care of our loved ones. Meditation is about quieting our mind - and that can be really intimidating when you’re sitting there, trying to focus, and those thoughts seem louder than ever.
In addition to that, we are constantly inundated with judgement and criticism in these human lives. When we feel like we didn’t accomplish our goal in mediation the first or second or third time, we decide that we’re just not good at it. We assume the people that have succeeded have some special power that we simply don’t possess. But, that’s just not true, and there are ways to develop your meditation skills.
Tip: Practice Being Present & Always Return to Your Breath
When you find your mind continuing to wander, softly shift your focus back to your breathing. Be present in your breath and notice what it feels like to fill your lungs with life-sustaining air. If you’re listening to a guided meditation, return your attention to the words of the speaker. If you’re outside, listen for the wind and the sounds of nature. And, keep breathing.
Often, people have an easier time meditating, especially at first, if there is a defined environment and ritual. Consider where you want to mediate, so you’re not looking for a spot at the last minute. Many use physical items to help focus and support their intentions, such as candles, essential oils, crystals and gems, meditation beads, feathers, sage and other sacred objects. These can create a familiar space for your practice and help signal to your mind that it’s time to focus and relax.
Myth: I Don’t Have Time to Meditate
As humans, we tend to often use this excuse to avoid activities that give us so much benefit. For some crazy reason, we convince ourselves that we don’t have time to do the things that are most important to our well-being and future, including working out, preparing healthier meals, getting proper sleep and meditating. But, we feel so much better and life is so much more magnificent when we invest our time where it counts.
It’s helpful to know that there are no rules in meditating. I have found that 20 minutes is how long I generally like to mediate, and it’s also a common length in some popular meditation styles, however, that doesn’t mean you are required to go that long. Even a five-minute meditation is still beneficial - and fantastic for beginners and days that we’re running behind.
Tip: Prioritize the Use of Your Time & Energy - to Benefit YOU!
The thing to remember is that meditation can help you become more focused, aware, creative, relaxed and open to ideas. So, in the long run, the time you spend meditating will likely save you time and energy in the long run. If you’re into manifesting and have been running into some blocks, you’ll be happy to know that meditation puts you in the flow.
If you’ve been wondering where to start, consider yourself lucky that you live in the age of the Internet. With a quick search on YouTube or Spotify, you can find hundreds of guided meditations and instrumental audio files to pick from. Take some time to sample a few and find a voice and/or background music that feels good and relaxing to you. You can imagine you’re filling yourself with golden light with every breath in. Or you can focus on mustering up specific, feelings, such as gratitude, love, joy and abundance - and try to suspend your being in those energies as you move through the meditation.
Now that you have some tools to get started, the rest is up to you. It all begins with the openness and willingness to heal and reconnect with all that is. Good luck in your spiritual journey!
To inquire about one-on-one life-coaching to help you learn to meditate, be more mindful, shift your perspectives and learn to tap into the law of attraction, contact Kristina here. To order high-quality essential oils, order here.