Meditation for Monkey Minds i.e. Normal People
So you want to meditate but you can’t stay focused on your breath for more than 3 seconds before your mind is all wandering and making grocery lists and reminding you to make that appointment you forgot ten times this week? Same here. Same everywhere. No one’s good at meditation, that’s the point. You’re getting there. The getting there IS the point.
Meditation is so beneficial for the mind and body, that there’s too much to even list here. If I told you that I have a miracle pill that will make you better able to focus, sleep better, feel better about yourself, decrease cravings for fatty foods, alcohol, also it’ll make you better at time management, dealing with emotions and better at your work and life would you take it? Hell yes! Well it’s called meditation and it only takes 10 minutes a day.
It’s a slow burn meditation. A big elephant. So how do you eat this beast? Well, one bite at a time of course.
Here’s some simple tricks to get a regular meditation practice going.
- Meditate at the same time every day. First thing in the morning is the best (even if you have kids, that’s no excuse). Wake up ten minutes early and sit with your back against the wall on the floor. You can cross your legs or keep them straight, it doesn’t matter, just make sure your back is straight and your eyes are closed and you are sitting (not lying down in bed)
- Meditate for 10 minutes every day. Just ten minutes. Set an alarm, sit down, close your eyes and focus on your breath
- Your mind is going to wander. Accept it. It doesn’t matter how much it wanders, only that you catch yourself doing it and bring it back to focus on the tip of your nose where you breath enters and exits
- If it’s still too much for you to concentrate for ten minutes, then try a chakra cleansing breath: breathe in through your nose for a count of seven, then hold your breath for a count of three and then exhale for a count of seven and hold for a count of three when you’re empty. Keep doing this, picturing the breath running up and down your spine the whole time
- You can also try mantra (I love mantra now but at first I felt weird), a good mantra is chanting “Om” over and over. It’s pronounced AUM so keep that in mind when you’re chanting. Om is the original sound of the universe (God) and the sound and vibration together make up the benefit. You can chant it in your mind if you don’t want to be heard, but it’s really best to do it out loud
- Mala: A mala is a beaded necklace with a tassel on the end (it’s where the Rosary comes from), it has 108 beads and is a helpful tool with mantra and meditation. Just like a rosary, you take each bead between your fingers (with your eyes closed, your back straight and focused on your breath) then you chant your mantra, then move to the next bead. Depending on the mantra you choose, you will probably do the mala in about ten minutes, so this can really help you with your meditation practice
Start with 10 minutes a day for the first month. When you’re ready to sit longer, then increase by 5-10 minutes. Remember that it’s better to do 10 minutes every day than sit for an hour once or twice a week.
If you really get into meditation, you can join a group. There are TONS of free ones in every major city (well they usually like donations), any Buddhist temple will have a community sit once a week. Go there, meditate in a group, it’s way easier with friends. After, mingle a little. Maybe you meet some other mindful chums you can get together with for food or laughs.