What a New Meditation Practice Can Do For Your Confidence & Clarity
"Where there is peace & meditation, there is neither anxiety or doubt." --St. Francis de Sales
A few weeks ago one of my former coaches & online lifestyle & marketing experts, Marie Forleo, did an episode on her TV show about meditation.
Now, I of course knew what meditation was, and even knew that it's actually something my personal spiritual value system needed and was taught to include (prayer AND meditation).
However, meditation was something I had tried and tried and tried and tried. And miserably failed at. I kind of felt like an idiot when I would try it. I couldn't concentrate, I didn't know what the heck I was supposed to be "thinking about" or "meditating on" anyway. What was the point?
After her episode aired, I downloaded her guided meditation audio. I also committed that day to myself and the future of my sanity, business, and lifestyle, that I would do it - every day.
Well, I haven't done it every day in all transparency, but I'm here today to tell you that I'm now successfully practicing this at least several times a week, and in fact, it has become part of my lifestyle.
When I feel super emotional, I meditate.
When I feel anxiety around anything happening, I shut everything down & meditate.
When I feel lonely, I meditate.
When I sense that there's something I need to receive or hear, and I know I need to be a different mental space to receive it, I meditate.
And there will be times during my day where I just feel it come over me - a sudden urge to just be quiet and shut everything off and listen.
Growing up a pastor's kid, all I ever heard about was prayer. Meditation, for some reason, wasn't taught to us, wasn't talked about, and certainly I never saw anyone I knew meditating. It was like it was left out of the conversation. They could teach us to pray all day, but meditation? No clue.
I always wondered why prayer was harped on so much, when the two were supposed to go together.
Surely everything couldn't be about talking to or at God all the time - that seemed selfish to me.
So now, as an adult who is discovering the power of meditation in her life, I wanted to impart this wisdom to you today. It will change a whole lot of things for you - please trust me in that.
I'm going to give you some guidance & pointers. The first and most important thing you should know however, is that meditation can be done a hundred different ways, and it will mold itself for you however it needs to. Don't do anything you're uncomfortable with, and make it your own. It's yourspiritual and personal practice.
For example, for me, I don't sit with my middle finger touching my thumb upside down - that just feels awkward to me. I sit with my palms facing down on my knees in Indian style - usually right from my couch or in the floor.
What I'm going to give you today can really center you and change everything for you - IF you make a decision to try it and stick with it. It has taken me about 2-3 weeks to make it something I love and am getting better at mastering.
If you don't like something I suggest, try something different.
I suggest wearing headphones unless you will be in a super quiet setting where you're positive there can be no other noises or distractions.
I turn these on my iPad and plug my headphones in and zone out. I'm actually writing today with this album playing - it's really the best album I've found, but there are thousands to choose from in the iTunes store.
I sit Indian style with my palms face down on my knees.
It's actually really not difficult. There's not a hundred or even 10 steps to follow. I just start by breathing in deeply through my nose & out of my mouth. I do that 4 or 5 times, just paying very close attention to the breath.
What you will immediately notice (thanks to our society of glorifying being 'busy' and incredible distraction), it might be hard for you to concentrate. In fact, I knowit will.
You'll be thinking of your to-do list, what you need to tell someone, why what someone said earlier in the day pissed you off, why so-and-so wore what she wore today, where you need to go, what's happening later, what's happening tonight, who posted on Facebook. On and on and on. It might seem like a lost cause, but don't give up!
It may be overwhelming at first, trying to silence your mind. But if you're like me, you'll have an "aha" moment that will change things. You'll suddenly realize how very distracted you are during the day and how undisciplined you might be in your thoughts - I know I was shocked when I first started at how distracted I was. I could NOT quiet my mind. As an introvert, that seemed natural.
But meditation has opened a space for me to quiet it - like nothing else I've ever done.
What I want you to do is just notice those thoughts and look at them as clouds. Don't fight the thoughts - let them come into your brain and float right back out, just like moving clouds on a stormy day. Into your brain, and right back out of it. Let them come in and release them to float right back out. Don't fight them.
As they float out, you're going to replace them with a mantra.
I practice what's called mantra meditation. It basically means that I repeat this "mantra" or belief or phrase throughout my 10-15 minutes meditating. So when a thought goes out & I have that moment of blank space that happens, I say my mantra.
Here are all the mantras that have come to me in the past 2 weeks:
- I am blessed
- I am God's daughter
- I am wealthy
- I am enough
- I have everything I need
- Things will change
- Things will be different
And, I don't know if it's unique to me or not, but every single time so far when I sit down to meditate, the mantra for that session comes to me.
It's been amazing! It just shows up immediately what I need to recite for that session. I know what I'm supposed to think on for those 10-15 minutes of time.
What has happened so far
You might be asking what all of this has to do with our (yours and my) confidence or clarity.
Here's some examples:
There's been a very difficult relationship I've been having to deal with for several months now - it's not an option unfortunately and it's not something I can avoid right now.
This person is deliberately out to clearly agitate me, and I've never really quite seen anything like it.
During those first two meditation sessions (mantras: I am blessed and I am God's daughter), I felt an immense peace come over me about the situation and this person.
I had no need to complain and no need to be anxious about it. I released it during my meditation. What happened is I immediately got clarity about how to deal and handle the situation. I couldn't believe I had so much clear thought about it.
During my wealth meditation, I felt strongly about starting to really transform my money story and relationship to it. Within 2 days of that meditation session, I received 2 unexpected checks in the mail and pulled together and entire info page, idea, and outline for Modernity's first live event.
I literally scared myself. I was like "where the heck is this coming from?"
Here's what I know:
Meditation has changed so much for me. It helps me stay focused during the day - I notice that I can more easily identify what needs to be done.
It keeps me joyful, happy, and my spirit clear throughout the day, and; BONUS, my mantra from my previous sessions come up ALL THE TIME throughout my days now! And when that happens, it's just so powerful.
The reason for that power is that these mantras that will come to you during your sessions become deeply ingrained in your psyche. And throughout the day, you'll hear them come up when you need them most.
Mediation keeps my emotional re-activity at bay, gives me an unbelievable amount of patience, and keeps me very positive. I've just never experienced anything like it. My mind is so clear to think about what needs to be done.
After about 10-15 minutes of allowing this process of thoughts-in-thoughts-out practice and replacing blank space with my mantra, my timer will go off.
Lately, since I'm getting better and shutting my mind off faster, there aren't as many thoughts that pervade & try to distract my time of meditating (this is why it's called a practice- you get better with time at disciplining your thoughts, which is the whole point).
So I will go 20-30 minutes now - or I'll just meditate for however much longer I want to.
If even 10 minutes is really hard for you at first, try 3 minutes, then 5, then work your way up to 10. Go from there. There's no pressure to be a pro at this - develop the practice in your own way. That's what I'm doing.
Your confidence will increase greatly because you'll feel a more clear space in your spirit and thoughts throughout the day. You'll find yourself being more patient, making better decisions from your truest value system, and honoring yourself in ways you never thought you could.
Other Notes to keep in mind:
- Sometimes I talk more than other times. So sometimes, I recite my mantra AND pray - that's okay if you want to do that. Whatever works for you.
- Sometimes, meditating is still really hard for me - I haven't mastered it. But I stay committed to it - if I can keep meditating, I will feel a breakthrough. The only way I can explain it is your mind clears up and something comes over you - it's very peaceful and you know you've finally broken through.
- Don't feel pressure to do this like anyone else does it - it will inhibit you from pursuing it.
- Meditation is now being proven scientifically to be SO powerful, that it's been proven to heal heart disease, decrease the thickening in artery walls, decrease anxiety, depression, anger, increased energy, and decreased gastrointestinal issues, among a plethora of other things. They're proving it's one of the most powerful things on the planet. Look how much healthier the Eastern world is from the Western world and you'll see it front & center. We're the worst at creating distractions for ourselves, then indulging in them. The Eastern world doesn't live that way.
- I've also noticed if I listen to meditation music (like I have been during my hour of writing this post), I stay focused much easier. There is a physiological change that happens in the body when we meditate and with the music that accompanies it.
So...all things considered, I'd love your input on if you are going to commit to trying meditation, what your experience has been, what your thoughts are, etc. I'm here to listen & help in any way I can.
All my appreciation for entrusting me to teach you this,