Author of The Fearless Path: A Radical Awakening to Emotional Healing and Inner Peace
Many of us we want calmer minds, better sleep and less anxiety. We’ve heard that meditation can actually help achieve these things, but meditation doesn’t often make it onto the daily “must do” list. Besides the fear and intimidation of meditation, the hype around it has made the practice seem more complicated than necessary. Practicing meditation is actually one of the simplest things to do once we can move past our excuses. Fear stops us from a lot of things, and it also stops us from meditating. A lot of our fears are about what we might discover if we are quiet enough to listen. When we are not swimming in a pool of distractions, we are faced with the stark reality of our inner world: our feelings, thoughts and memories. If we have unattended hurts or constant negative thinking, our inner world can be a scary place. To avoid these fears, many people tune out with distractions. But in a very simple approach, you can learn to sit with yourself and just be present. No fear, no judgment, just acceptance.
"We don't need to make every meditation session a mystical event. Forcing it to be more than what it is becomes another distancing mechanism based on fear."
Here are the benefits of a simple meditation practice:
Better focus at work.
Deeper rest and sleep at night.
Feeling more at peace.
Experiencing less anxiety.
Becoming more mindful.
Fewer reactions to the world, more intentional responses.
Having time to listen to your thoughts and feelings and grow.
We don’t need to make every meditation session a mystical event. Forcing it to be more than what it is becomes another distancing mechanism based on fear. We don’t need to pay for a fancy mantra, play special music, wear particular clothes or sit at expensive altars with shiny crystals. These things have their place, but they are not necessary for an effective practice. Meditation is free and can be done absolutely anywhere with absolutely no tools. Start by focusing on your breath as it enters through your nose. Each breath is the meditation. That’s it—just sit and bring your awareness to the simple breath. Close your eyes if you want to (it can be nice in there once you get familiar with yourself) and allow a few minutes to just be. Being present allows your mind to shift from outward thinking about the world to conscious, mindful thought: being aware of the moment, of the breath, of your inner experience. The more you do this, the deeper the effect of the practice. When you find this safe place within, you can retreat there any time to feel safe and at peace.