I’ve always had unrealistic expectations of how meditation would feel... How I should sit... What I should think (or not think)... I gave it a few tries, and always felt a twinge of failure each time a thought crept into my mind while meditating.
It wasn’t until listening to the "Sarah’s Day" podcast: The Health Code with Rochelle Fox (a renowned meditation teacher) that I began to see a more realistic and accepting way in: There isn’t a set formula of what meditation looks like, and the world doesn’t stop for you when you sit down to meditate.
Small little distractions and thoughts will creep back into your mind: You’ll hear the birds chirping, cars driving by… but it’s how you react to those situations that can make all the difference in your journey with meditation. With this mindset, I decided to take on morning meditation every day for a week.
It’s a beautiful, sunny morning (yes, the birds are chirping outside my window) and I sat down in a spot in the sun. I leaned my back up against a wall, my back mostly straight, my knees slightly bent, and my hands on my legs. I had always thought that in order to meditate, you needed to have your legs crossed, hands out to your sides: the “typical” picture of meditation if you will... But the podcast I mentioned before (linked below) also stated that, if it’s not comfortable for you, don’t do it! It’s up to each of us to find a comfortable position that doesn’t distract from our practice.
Today, I chose to do a guided 10-minute meditation from YouTube called:
Calm your thoughts & Overthinking Morning Meditation
As I began, the gentle voice of the guide calmed me right away. I focused on my breath but naturally, thoughts came creeping back into my mind: Thoughts of the work I need to do today, the coffee that is waiting for me once the meditation is over… “Should I go on a walk later today?” All of these thoughts were coming and going as the guide said:
“Practice simply observing your thoughts… there’s no need to interact with any of your thoughts. Just observe them, and allow them to pass without following them.”
This really helped me and I found myself back with my breath, simply visualizing the air flowing in and out of my body.
That’s when it hit me… an urge that I couldn’t ignore: I had to go to the bathroom. Getting up and having to pause my guide video was the last thing I wanted to do, but as another minute went by, I was far too distracted by my human bodily functions to be able to continue. I got up, took care of business, and returned to my spot. The next few minutes went by quickly as I was able to fully focus on breathing and letting go. Before I knew it, the video had come to an end and my first day of meditation was complete. I got up feeling motivated and refreshed, and immediately hit “go” on my coffee maker - ready to take on the day.
Waking up to a cover of clouds (plus having overslept a bit) wasn’t as uplifting as yesterday, so I was ready to start my meditation and channel some positive energy. Today, I tried a new meditation video, and I believe that trying a new one each day will be beneficial.
Powerful Morning Meditation to Start Your Day
I found it much easier to keep my mind from drifting today. I had a very productive day yesterday and checked a lot off my to-do list. Having that peace of mind helped me to relax and let go.
Today’s meditation focused on breath. I followed the voice of the guide and took big breaths, in and out, focusing on breathing through my abdomen, and then through my chest. When breathing through my chest, she pointed out the sensation of feeling energy flow throughout my body, as this type of breathing encourages the body to create more energy. I definitely felt that, and noticed feelings of gratitude and appreciation for a new day. These feelings manifested in the back of my head and down my back.
Although I still feel a bit tired and unmotivated, it is comforting to reflect back on my feelings of gratitude and channel that positive energy as I get this day going!
Okay… I’ll be honest here… Day 3 didn’t happen. It was one of those days where one thing after another kept piling onto my plate until the day got away from me. I could’ve just skipped this day and counted tomorrow as “Day 3” but I believe that this honesty is more beneficial:
Even with the best of intentions, things will not always work out as planned. Don’t let it get you down. Tomorrow is a new day.
Another dose of honesty: It was hard to keep my mind from wandering today. This meditation turned into what I had always been afraid of before. Thought after thought crossed into my mind. However, instead of feeling like a failure, I accepted my busy mind and just did my best to let thoughts pass by as they came along. I tried my best to focus on my breath and channel feelings of gratitude. One key phrase that stuck with me from this morning’s meditation is:
“When we express gratitude, we feel the ripples of love and thanks coming back to us.”
10 Minute Morning Positive Energy Guided Meditation with Gratitude.
My meditation looked a little bit different today. My boyfriend has been feeling a bit down and stressed lately, so I invited him to join me and hoped that it would be beneficial for him. Throughout the meditation, I found myself wondering what he was thinking, if he was enjoying it, or if it was helping him.
10-minute energy cleansing guided meditation
It was a bit tough to focus on my own meditation with someone else next to me. However, when it was done, I was excited to hear that he enjoyed it and that it helped him to refocus.
“That didn’t feel like ten minutes!”
Although I prefer meditating alone, I believe that practicing with a friend, family member, or significant other is a healthy way to recenter and introduce another individual to something that can bring joy to their lives.
This was definitely one of the most peaceful meditations I’ve experienced this week. The voice of the guide was very soothing, mixed with beautiful music, and the sounds of birds chirping. It pulled me in right away with the words:
“The world will not come to an end because you are taking time for yourself.”
This really helped me to let go of any stress, worry, or frustrations I was holding onto. This meditation focused a lot on visualization: picturing beautiful surroundings like the beach or the desert. I’ve found that visual-based meditations are best for me, as they really help me to escape my day-to-day thoughts and focus on restorative time for myself.
10 Minute Guided Meditation to Ease Anxiety, Worry, Overthinking & Urgency
For my final day of morning meditation, I chose to revisit the first guided video from Day 1. The words of the guide felt new and fresh, as though I was hearing them for the first time. Although I am still far from “perfect,” I noticed that my mind was much more at ease than the first time. The more that I practice simply observing my thoughts rather than participating with them, the easier it is to just “be.”
10 minutes flew by, and I opened my eyes feeling amazed at how far I had come in just one week. I’ve taken little bits of wisdom from each meditation with me, and I’ve made progress. Making progress doesn’t necessarily mean “mastering” meditation. Progress, to me, simply means finding more peace, joy and balance each and every time.
Over the course of this week, I learned that meditation comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.
There is no “right or wrong” way to go about it - and the more that you practice, the easier it is to find what you like, what you dislike, and what works best for you. Over time, I hope to transition into longer meditations, and maybe even try out non-guided meditation. But for now, it’s great to have structure as I learn.
No matter how my mediation looked, I always benefited from taking those moments for myself. The purposeful stillness was comforting, and it also made me appreciate the beauty of productivity and all of the little things we do each day.
Overall, I was proud of myself for listening to my body and doing what it needed, even though it didn’t always fit the picture of what a “perfect” meditation should be. I’ve learned that we each get to paint that picture for ourselves.