Perhaps you are one of many who finds it hard to sit cross-legged in complete stillness. Or maybe you believe that switching off your mind is ridiculous or even impossible. And therefore you may have given up on meditation, convincing yourself that it is not for you, and is a waste of time.
But guess what? IT’S NOT!
I am going to present you with three easy approaches that can still give you the benefits of meditation.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way you are right” - Henry Ford
I love this quote as it is applicable to many spheres of our lives, and for meditation as well.
Before convincing yourself that you can meditate and be still, try to understand why you would even do it. What are the benefits and goals of meditation? Is there even a goal? You perhaps heard or read about many successful people who meditate regularly, and so you too were inspired to try it for that reason - to become successful like them. If that is the reason you took it up, you just missed the whole point of meditation.
Misunderstandings about Meditation
A common question from people is, “How long do I need to practice meditation to reach my goal, after which I can then stop doing it every day?
The answer is that you can NEVER stop! It’s the same as you asking your nutritionist how long you have to stick to the prescribed diet for weight loss, so you can go back to eating junk food afterwards.
The good thing is that in both cases, you became more aware of the changes happening inside you, and began understanding how your previous lifestyle had been impacting you negatively. Once you grasp that and experience it, it’s hard to go back and be abusive to yourself again
So, meditation is not a short-term solution. On the contrary, it should be accepted as a new lifestyle.
Meditation is NOT an exercise, it is a way of living.
The first “goal” of meditation is to become conscious or aware. If you have heard or read of expressions like “a higher consciousness” or “higher awareness”, that is precisely what it means — to become more aware of the things inside of you and things that surround you.
How to Obtain Consciousness Without Meditation?
In Hinduism consciousness is called Atman or practice that helps you become aware. Awareness is not a thing that is located in a specific part of our bodies, even if we tend to believe it comes from our brain/mind. We do use our brains to translate all activities and senses on a physical level. However, things that we will start understanding when following this practice might not be tangible or even rationalized through our brain.
Let’s not go too far, and better start with some practical advice on how to obtain awareness even without sitting down and meditating.
Start With Observation
These practices will help you master the skill of observing. It will help you train your concentration muscles and become more aware of feelings, emotions, situations, the experience inside but also outside of you.
1st — Observe Your Breathing
Today many people don’t think about their breath. They consider it as something that the body does naturally (unconsciously). And even without realizing, most people’s breathing patterns have changed from when they were babies. Instead of breathing from the abdomen, they breathe from their chests instead, and each breath is much shallower too.
Your breath is directly connected with the amount of oxygen you put in your body. Body cells use oxygen to transfer the energy stored in food to a usable form. This process, which is called cellular respiration, allows the cells to harness energy to perform vital functions such as powering muscles (including involuntary muscles such as the heart) and the movement of materials into and out of cells. Without oxygen in the body, cells can function for a limited period and long-term oxygen depletion leads to cell death and eventually death of the organism.
It follows therefore that if you start bringing more oxygen into your body through longer and deeper breathing, you will begin thinking more clearly and feel better overall. We bring this into practice with observing our breath and in terms of meditation, this means that we will be practicing focus and becoming aware of something that we usually do unconsciously.
For some advanced breathing techniques, check out the video below.
2nd — Remove All Low Vibrational Thoughts
Dr. David Hawkins, a psychiatrist, who experienced several life-altering events throughout his life, believes that every word, every thought, and every intention creates what is called a morphogenetic field, or attractor field.
Following each personal experience, he noticed a change in his state of consciousness from an ego-based/mind focus to a completely overwhelming state of overpowering bliss.
In order to investigate the causes behind all these changes, he created a way to measure these energy fields. This process tests the sound, light, and electromagnetic waves coming off of the morphogenetic field of the human heart when someone is thinking, emoting, or creating.
He presented a vibration scale that consists of a hierarchy of levels of human consciousness on a scale of 1 to 1000, where 1 is simply being alive, and 1000 is an advanced state of enlightenment.
Now when we are aware which type of emotions and thoughts are of low vibration, we can get rid of them. There are many ways of doing this, but I’ll give you the most practical one.
From this very moment, I want you as many times as you can per day, to acknowledge and capture when low vibrational thoughts are going through your mind. When that happens, start counting inside yourself (in your mind) — 1,2,3,4,5,6… and so on.
I know it sounds ridiculous but it is very effective because the moment you start counting you can’t have other thoughts. When you begin with this practice you will be aware more and more of your negative thoughts, and you will start competing with your mind counting every time when the thoughts arrive. 1,2,3,4,5,6 …. 1,2,3,4,5,6… 1,2,3,4,5,6…
At some point, you will get bored with having just numbers in your head and you will begin searching for the way to stop counting and stop having low vibrational thoughts at the same time. There are just two ways to do it — to think about something nice/positive or to quiet your mind.
We tend to think the most when we are the least active. This is why stillness is hard for many people. But let’s say that you are on the bus on your way to work and that you will have 30 minutes or more to be with yourself. And then thinking starts — you think about the meeting you’ll have in 2 hours, and you start going through all the scenarios where something can go wrong, and you have started worrying about something that hasn’t even happened and so on.
And before you know it, you just spent 30 minutes on work without getting paid for it, plus you filled yourself with negativity.
So, counting doesn’t seem that ridiculous now, does it ?
3rd — Drink Water With Attention
If you thought I will give you just one strange practice you are wrong! Drinking water with attention sounds strange but it’s deeper than you think. What I want you to do here is to drink water and notice the following things:
- What the temperature of the waters
- Whether it has a smell
- Whether and what taste it has
- How it makes you feel physically and emotionally
- Then flow with the water, feel it in your mouth, throat, chest region and your stomach
And this is it. Now repeat it every time that you drink water.
Once you get good at practicing with water, you can try the same procedure with food, then while showering, sunbathing, riding a bike, walking, dancing, etc. Be aware of your body and sensation you have at each moment.
Now you have three simple techniques you can use to achieve the first “goal” of meditation (to be aware) without sitting still, without forcing yourself. Truth be told. these practices are considered as meditation as well, because there is not only one way to meditate.
Author: Ivana Veljović
Business and Marketing Strategist / Apps and Startups Whiz/ Light Worker / Reality Hacker