Lately, I’ve been lying awake in bed thinking that I really need to mediate. As a yoga devotee, I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve recently been neglecting my practice and… yes, it’s starting to take its toll. News of sad events (e.g., a friend passing away, a father’s illness) seem much harder to deal with lately because I have not meditated in well over 2 weeks. Bottom line is: I have not taken one moment to stop thinking about these events. I have not taken the time to sit in silence and breathe for 5 minutes.
Meditation should not feel like a chore. It is not something you can force yourself to do. And it’s certainly not something you should think about doing while you’re lying awake restless in bed. You can’t say to yourself (like I have): ‘I really should get up and meditate…but I’m so tired. Maybe I’ll just lie here a little bit longer.’
I obviously still struggle with making mediation a priority in my life. But it’s clear to me that when I do, everything in life becomes easier to handle. Meditation allows me to accept stress in my life with a greater sense of perspective and without feeling overwhelmed. More importantly, it helps me to maintain a positive outlook for the future.
My advice for meditation beginners is: don’t put pressure on yourself to relax. Don’t think ‘I only have 5 minutes to meditate so this better work.’ Instead, think of meditation as a gift to yourself. A chance to get back in touch with your physical body and an opportunity to quiet the chatter in your head. As the Dalai Lama says: “Peace of mind brings nice sleep.” Start finding your peace of mind by trying this Simple Meditation from Yoga Journal. With any luck, you’ll be able to work your way up from 5 minutes to 20 minutes a day. I’m sure hoping I can.