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Meditation 101 - The Simply Style

I don't know if I've ever, or recently, explained this concept of The Simply. I'll dive into it in a separate post, but the basis of the idea is that, as humans, we have a tendency to complicate everything. The harder we work for something, the better the results must be, right? Wrong.

My purpose with The Simply is to provide tools and services for life to be simple!

More on that in another post...for now, onto the topic at hand: Meditation.

A lot of the times that I say I meditate, or talk about my meditation practice, I am met with a rebuttal, verbal or nonverbal, about how meditation is hard and they've tried or know they "should", but they aren't able to.

I want to share with you my meditation practice, because it is simple and, I hope, unintimidating!

I started a regular meditation practice only about a year ago. Prior to that, I had practiced with my mum when I was a teenager, and had casually meditated through yoga practice and teacher training.

I started a regular practice through a challenge with either WanderlustTV or Deepak and Oprah. Preferring to meditate first thing in the morning, personally, I knew there were going to be at least two mornings a week where I wouldn't be able to practice first thing due to other commitments. In advance of the challenge, I gave myself the permission to either skip those days or to practice in the evening before bed.

I set myself up for success!

It wasn't a case of missing a day and giving up - so many people do that!

Give yourself permission to feel successful even when you're not "perfect" (whatever that means).

After the challenge, I think I rolled into another challenge, then into a meditation teacher training. This helped me keep the momentum after the initial baby habit formed. A habit like a daily meditation practice may not come in 30 days.

After the challenge, I needed a way to make it easy for myself. I knew that having too many choices and options wasn't going to work for me, especially with an early morning practice. Ideally, 20 minutes felt like the right amount of time for me to meditate in the morning - this is personal, choose your own duration! I also knew that some mornings, 20 minutes wasn't possible due to early morning commitments. Instead of not meditating those mornings, I decided that I could fit in 10 minutes.

Make it easy for yourself!

I use the Insight Timer app and although I like using guided meditations sometimes, I find that the easiest thing for me is to set a timer for 20 minutes with a 10 minute interval bell. And I saved it as a Preset so there is nothing to think about.

Allow yourself to feel comfortable!

I used to think that I needed to sit on a cushion on the floor, but for a morning practice, all I could think about was my back feeling sore and stiff. I tried a little yoga, then sitting on the floor, but that still didn't feel quite right - and I struggled to get myself directly onto my mat first thing. I've also tried leaning against pillows in bed, but found myself dozing off more often than not. Eventually, I discovered that sitting on my couch in a cross-legged position with a blanket around me was the best comfortable, but awake position for my meditation practice.

Here's my morning practice - and yes, it is a P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E. It is not perfect, nor do I feel it needs to be.

  • I set my alarm for 6am; when I wake up, I'd like to roll straight over to my couch, but to be honest, I usually snooze at least once.
  • If I'm having a hard time getting out of bed, I remind myself why I enjoy my morning meditation practice and the benefits I feel from it.
  • I put on a cozy pair of sweatpants and wrap myself in my blanket to sit on my couch; and press start on my app.
  • And then I sit - allowing it to be perfectly imperfect.

Here is The Simply trick:

My breath is my anchor, but I am not rigid about it.

I give my mind FULL PERMISSION to flow. When my thoughts feel rigid, I move my awareness back to my breath, but I allow my thoughts to dance around inside my mind.

So many people grasp onto this concept of meditation where you cease your thoughts, or you stay consciously and unconsciously focused on a phrase/mantra, but I've found that is counter-productive to the purpose of meditation, at least for me - and beginners.

I want meditation to feel easy and accessible for you.

And, you're still doing it "right" if you just do it!

This morning my mind was jumping all over the place. I sat down, turned on my timer, closed my eyes, started to feel my breath, then I noticed a thought and I held onto it, then I noticed the sound of a fly between my window and curtains and held onto it, then a text came in on my phone, then I focused back on my breath, then I noticed the fly again, then I looked at my timer wanting to stop, then I turned my attention back to my purpose for meditating and closed my eyes again making the conscious choice to be in my meditation, then I had this idea for a post and felt myself writing it in a grasping type of way, then I realized the difference between allowing my thoughts to flow and grasping onto an idea/concept/thought, then I turned my attention back to my intention of feeling expansive and at ease, then I noticed my breath, then my timer went off.

Grasping thoughts: this is the feeling of needing to know where the thought is going and controlling it; this is what our conscious mind does during the day.

Flowing thoughts: these streams feel easy and joyful; you watch these thought flows with curiosity from the perspective of the observer.

This practice is far from perfect, nor does it need to be perfect. In fact, I love how imperfect it is! That's where the growth comes.

My purpose for meditating is that it grounds me, I feel a connection to the energy around me, and I may gain insight or inspiration from a meditation. I also find that journalling after a meditation allows a more flowing stream of thoughts.

My offering for you is to allow yourself to start where you are and make it simple for you. Play around with it, allow it to be imperfect. I have found that the more complicated I make it, the more likely I am to quit.

Feel the ease of simplicity!

Namasté,
~Alannah

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