We all know the benefits of meditation. We’ve looked at the challenges and the reasons why you should try, but we’ve never really looked at how it feels to start. Until we took a meditation challenge
Catherine Sheerin is a holistic therapist who like us all is busy all of the time. So, she set out to slow down her mind with a 14-day meditation challenge. Sounds easy right? Was it?
Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite an organised person. I try to plan my time so that I can have a good balance for things. I set aside time for work, time for blogging, time for the gym, time for friends and family. In fact I plan my TV time, with all the programmes I watch neatly scheduled on my Sky planner.
However lately I’ve been feeling that my mind is the last thing that I’ve had time for. I’m always jumping from one task to the next, not actually thinking about what I’m doing but instead thinking about the next thing I have to do.
So, when I got an email from Mind Body Green inviting me to a try their 14-day meditation challenge with mediation teacher and all round guru Light Watkins I was intrigued. Could I really learn to slow down my mind? Could I learn to mediate correctly and let my thoughts be still?
It sounds simple to set aside 10 minutes a day to sit in silence doesn’t it? It wasn’t.
How it started
Firstly Light explained how to establish the right time of the day to mediate, the tools you need to help you through it (clock, blanket, water at the ready) and figuring out the best position to be in for the meditation. Surprisingly this doesn’t have to be a crossed legged hands in the air pose. It doesn’t matter how you sit as being comfortable is the most important thing.
The state of our body has a huge influence on the state of our mind so for example if I’m not in a comfortable position I won’t be comfortable while meditating and I’ll be distracted by that.
Next explained how to handle and manage thoughts during meditation by just letting them come and go, using the mantra ‘I don’t know and I don’t care’. This is great as thoughts are meant to come into your mind as you meditate. But when they do it’s important you don’t judge them or question why they have presented themselves. Instead, you just let t he thoughts flow in and out of your mind. The tip here is to think of it as a cleaning out session, your mind is detoxing itself.
Think of it like this. A good meditation helps the mind release deal with thoughts, which in turns helps the body release stress. So meditation is seen as a corrective measure for imbalances in the body.
How did I find it?
As the days went on I start to learn about using breathe as an anchor point, which I found this great as I could always come back to it if I felt like my mind and thoughts were running away.
I always liked to add an intention at the end of each session too as this helped me visualise where I wanted to be after the mediation.
But how did I know I was doing it right? Light had stated at the start of the challenge that it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about, as long as you allow your mind to get lost. In fact, the less you expect from the session the better it will be.
For me I realised that after a few days I begin to look forward to my 10 minutes mediation time. I looked forward to sitting in silence and letting my mind wander. I enjoyed seeing where it would go knowing I wouldn’t judge. I’m not going to lie and say my world changed dramatically in those 14 days, but I did find that I was calmer afterwards. That my mind and decisions were clearer and that I felt like the world had slowed down a bit . (Even for a little while).
I have continued my daily mediation since this challenge and each day is different, some days it’s five minutes and some days it’s 10 but I don’t judge my mind. It knows what it wants and I allow it that time to just be. To detox. To reset and to just breathe.
Catherine Sheerin is a holistic therapist based in Oranmore, Co Galway. She’s also at The Holistic Toolkit, where she blogs about treatments, live with arthritis, healthy eating, mindfulness and exercise. Visit her blog here