The meditation challenge comes to an end…
A more accurate title would read “The meditation challenge comes to an end…well, sort of” however, I thought that title was a little too long.
So I should explain why I added the “sort of” to the end of this post title. I actually missed a total of 6 days of meditation this month. Why? To be completely honest, I just forgot. It is hard to integrate a new element into your daily routine, however, setting a reminder on my phone did help. So, in truth I am not yet done the challenge and have almost one more week to complete. Yet, I wanted to share a few insights and experiences about the meditation challenge thus far.
1. Meditation is hard. I was never able to have a complete 10 minutes of empty mind-space, but I had flashes of it. When these flashes happened I felt incredible. I know this will sound funny, but during these moments I felt as if I was levitating. I look forward to more of these moments.
2. I learned how to bring my mind back to centre/focus. This takes practice. While I still have trouble with this, the practice during my meditation sessions actually carried through to my everyday life. I found I was better able to calm and quiet my mind during periods of stress or anxiety. This is something I have never been able to do before.
3. Sometimes humming helped to bring my mind back to focus.
4. I had my best meditations after a day filled with good food (greens, lean meats, fruits), a lot of water, and not too much caffeine. I know we hear about eating well and cutting down on caffeine all the time and it can get preachy. However, making these changes in my diet really did influence and improve my meditation session so I can only imagine what it did for body.
5. I did my meditation at night right before bed. I am not sure if this is the right time as I forgot 6 sessions due to fatigue. I would encourage others to seek out different time points and experiment. I will definitely be doing this in the coming week.
6. Meditation is rewarding. When I first started I was opening my eyes to look at the time after 4 minutes and thinking “how the heck am I going to this for another 6?” Yet, after about 2 weeks I was able to get through a full 10 minutes without looking at a watch and in the last 2 weeks I have been able to go for longer than 10 minutes. It takes time, but the improvements you will make and feel are extremely rewarding.
7. On bad days (busy or anxiety-inducing days) getting into the zone was difficult. Don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty about not achieving a zen state. It’s not always going to be possible, especially when you are just learning.
8. I sat in a comfortable position – cross-legged with my hands resting on my knees with my eyes closed. I would often focus on keeping my back straight and muscles relaxed. This helped to keep my mind relaxed, yet focused.
9. Smile while you meditate – it feels nice.
10. Sometimes I honestly didn’t want to do it. I wanted to read, or sleep, or watch TV. When I had these moments I reminded myself that I was doing something extremely positive for both my mind and body. It is important to remind yourself how important you are and that you need to take the time to care for yourself.