Stepping Stones to Silence – A Kaizen Approach to Meditation
In today’s world, we sometimes get so busy it feels impossible to stop.
The nagging voice in our head urges us to make another list, to schedule another play date or dinner, to get the laundry done before we head out for the long weekend camping trip. The voice inside our head leads us through a barrage of tasks, stripping us of the joys of spontaneity, yet enticingly defining us as “master multi-taskers”.
We grin and bear it. We post another instagram pic of ourselves in the shirt that says “Goal Digger” or “But first, coffee” or “Run Now, Wine Later” or “BeastMode”, like we have to be balls to the wall 110 percent of the time. Then later we’ll get wasted to forget this hellish day. It’s exhausting just watching this chaos. And we seem completely unaware of how to slow down.
Of course, anyone who is into health & wellness at any level has heard of this one thing that can really help to calm the crazy. This powerful practice, with the immense ability to help us quiet those voices in our heads, and let go of all the things.
Say it with me now – MEDITATION. Yes, yes, that’s the one.
Now you might read this and think a lot of things. You might have a lot of justifications why meditation isn’t your jam. So I’m here to unpack some of your stories for you.
Top 3 Meditation Excuses
- “Oh ya, nope. Tried it. Didn’t work. Not for me.” – I used this line. Before discovering that – AMAZINGLY – just because you tried something once and didn’t succeed, doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t try, try again! So the day/time/position/method/setting you tested out meditation in didn’t provide the results you were seeking… Lucky for you, there are many many methods of getting out of your head and into your breath (keep reading for a few options).
- “I’m too busy to meditate” – You know who is huge into meditating? Tony Robbins. Ever heard of him? Massively successful motivational speaker who’s written 4 best selling books, and generally kicks ass every 12-14 hour day spent motivating the masses? Ya that guy finds time to meditate. Know who else meditates every day? Oprah. You know that lady must have a pretty full plate. Knowing that people like them find the time kinda made me feel silly about using this line. We’re not too busy, we just don’t make it a priority (also, I discovered that the “I’m too busy for xyz” line almost always translates to “I’m not making that a priority”).
- “I can’t stop thinking” – This is a full on message that meditation is what your body sorely needs! Overthinking is merely a habit, just like all the others things we do in a day. But it is 100% possible to retrain your brain to not only settle into silence, but to LOVE it.
There is a zen proverb that says:
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
Now, I won’t accept a lot of justification in not having any kind of meditation practice, but oh my goodness I can certainly say with two kids under 5, a full time job, YHC Certification training, starting a business, and writing these beautiful blogs… I do not have 1 hour in which I can place priority on meditation.
Luckily for us there are many beautiful steps on the path to the perfect meditation practice, all of which provide ample benefits.
The Stepping Stones to Your Mindfulness Practice
- Yoga Nidra Sleep Meditation – There are endless free recordings online to help decompress, quiet your mind, and breathe into all areas of your body, preparing you for restful sleep. This is a great place to start because it doesn’t take any time out of your day. When you’re ready for bed, just pop in your headphones and drift off to peaceville.
- Guided Morning Meditation – Guided meditations are a beautiful stepping stone to a solid practice. Filled with kind words, generally including some positive affirmations; short guided meditations are great for starting the day right. By listening to the voice of someone else, you can effectively quiet that little voice inside you.
- Meditating on a Topic – This could otherwise be referred to as brainstorming, but with enhanced intention. Come to your meditation space – this could be the end of your bed, your living room carpet, your backyard, basically anywhere you won’t be disturbed by people or technology – and bring your notebook. Choose your topic (eg; my next blog post, my kid’s birthday party). Sit down and breathe, allowing thoughts on the topic to flow freely. As good ideas come up, break to jot them down so you can expand on them later. As unrelated thoughts come up, just let them go. Just a heads up – you might get insane levels of creative in these sessions.
- Moving With Mindfulness – Choose a task that you complete without much thought, such as brushing your teeth, doing dishes, folding laundry, eating, or to a certain extent, driving. Now just do that thing, and breathe. This one was mind blowing for me. It is wild how many random, useless, and mostly negative thoughts I had floating around in my head when I actually paid attention to them. Now I’m getting pretty good at moving with mindfulness, catching myself in the thought spiral, and letting it go with a smile.
- Timed Meditation – starting with 1 minute even. Set your timer so you don’t have to worry about whether you need to get up and check your phone. Just commit to breathing for that one minute. Then go to two. Then 5, and so on.
AND THEN – try going it alone, no guidance, no movement, no timer. And if you’re ready, prepare to receive true bliss.
Do you have a secret to letting go and sitting in silence that wasn’t listed above? We’d love to hear about it. Share in the comments below.