Day 2: Try a 10 minute meditation before bed.
When I was introduced to meditation I was skeptical…
I remember watching a movie. In the movie a person clonged a bell and started humming. I thought to myself, uh huh that’s what meditation is.
To me, that’s how it looked…
Well what is meditation?
According to Psychology Today (2019):
Meditation is a mental exercise that trains attention and awareness.
I was introduced to meditation. Although I was skeptical I was open to hearing its benefits. Here I was, needing something for my mind and my body. It wasnt only for me but for those around me. I wanted those around me to enjoy being around my energy. I wanted to give off calm and positive vibes.
The first technique I tried. I was sitting in an upright position, I closed my eyes, relaxed my body and focused on the ding of what I now know was a Tibetan Bowl. I focused on the noise without straining, my breathing relaxed, my body became less and less tense.
Sound bath meditation: This form uses bowls, gongs, and other instruments to create sound vibrations that help focus the mind and bring it into a more relaxed state.
The second technique, was guided meditation.
In guided meditation, a teacher guides you through the basic steps of the practice, either in person or via a meditation app
I closed my eyes, relaxed my body and listened to a calming women’s voice. She spoke positive affirmations, she spoke all positive things. Although that was an interesting experience I noticed when she was speaking I started wondering if she was reciting a poem. Her words sounded so poetic.
I couldn’t relax.
My mind was jumping here, there, and everywhere! For some individuals that practice of meditation may work out beautifully but I’ve noticed that that doesnt work best for myself.
How do you know what will work best for you?
Try it with a person who is skilled and can help you understand and practice meditation.
Later that week, overwhelmed and frazzled I decided to turn on a calming instrumental. No words, no clong of a Tibetan bowl, just soothing music.
I closed my eyes and slowed my breathing…
I fell asleep…just kidding! I didnt fall asleep but I wanted to!
I inhaled and exhaled….
I felt grounded, I felt calm, I felt like I was able to catch up to my running thoughts and cradle them to sleep!
You see, I am very cautious and mindful of what I put into my spirit. I encourage you to be as well. Im super big on staying in tune with Jesus Christ, anything that rubs my Spirit the wrong way gots to go. I understand some of you may not have the same belief, but for those of you who do, I strongly encourage you to learn before you practice and seek Him for guidance. For those of you who do not have the same belief, I encourage you to still be mindful of the spiritual energy you allow into your space.
Personally, I find more comfort listening to calming and relaxing sounds such as water or soothing music, it helps me to slow my breathing and slow my pace. If I can explain it in words, it makes me feel like the distant sound of waves crashing against the shore.
YouTube has plenty of videos to help you meditate whichever technique you decide to use.
FYI I do not specialize in meditation, I am sharing with you what I’ve experienced and what learning. Please consult a well trained professional if you have any questions about meditation.
Since I figured this would help, here are a few methods of meditation! This was taken from Headspace.
- Focused attention. This form of meditation is fairly straightforward because it uses the object of our breath to focus attention, to anchor the mind and maintain awareness. Notice your mind starting to wander? Simply return to the breath.
- Body scan. Often, our body is doing one thing while our mind is elsewhere. This technique is designed to sync body and mind by performing a mental scan, from the top of the head to the end of your toes. Imagine a photocopier light slowly moving over your body, bringing attention to any discomfort, sensations, tensions, or aches that exist.
- Noting. Whether you are focusing on the breath or simply sitting in quiet, this technique involves specifically “noting” what’s distracting the mind, to the extent that we are so caught up in a thought or emotion that we’ve lost our awareness of the breath (or whatever the object of focus is). We “note” the thought or feeling to restore awareness, create a bit of space, as a way of letting go, and to learn more about our thought patterns, tendencies, and conditioning.
- Visualization. This type of meditation invites you to picture something or someone in your mind — we are essentially replacing the breath with a mental image as the object of focus. It can feel challenging to some, but it’s really no different than vividly recalling the face of an old friend naturally, without effort. And so it is with meditation. By conjuring a specific visualization, we not only get to observe the mind, but we also get to focus on any physical sensations.
- Loving kindness. Focusing on the image of different people — it doesn’t matter if we know them or not, if we like them or not — is integral to this technique. We direct positive energy and goodwill first to ourselves, and then, as a ripple effect, to others, which helps us let go of unhappy feelings we may be experiencing. Below is a video with more instruction on how to use the loving kindness meditation technique.
- Skillful compassion. Similar to the loving kindness meditation technique, this one involves focusing on a person you know or love and paying attention to the sensations arising from the heart. By opening our hearts and minds for the benefit of other people, we have the opportunity to foster a feeling of happiness in our own mind.
- Resting awareness. Rather than focusing on the breath or a visualization, this technique involves letting the mind truly rest; thoughts may enter, but instead of distracting you and pulling you away from the present moment, they simply drift away.
- Reflection. This technique invites you to ask yourself a question: perhaps something such as, “What are you most grateful for?” (Note that asking yourself a question using the second person — you — will discourage the intellectual mind from trying to answer it rationally.) Be aware of the feelings, not the thoughts, that arise when you focus on the question.
Today’s challenge is to meditate for 10 minutes before bed, whichever way you choose. Maybe you want to try the techniques I shared or maybe you want to meditate on the Word of God (Joshua 1:8), lets check in tomorrow to see how it worked for you!
You deserve peace. You deserve happiness. You matter.