I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fully “get” meditation … yet. My attempts at meditating have simply been to sit still, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing as to not get distracted. Clear the mind. De-stress. Take time for myself. All that good stuff.
And as I find myself still struggling with adding the role of Mom to all the other roles I play, the timing of Sheila Singh‘s workshop about Mindfulness Meditation couldn’t have been better. I needed some pointers. I am constantly distracted by other thoughts, wishes, negative emotions, and feeling disconnected to aspects of my previous childless life. I spend more of my meditation time trying to fight my inner self than, well, meditating.
As the workshop began, Sheila talked about being present to the moment. (And since I wanted to be present, I ditched the idea of taking notes and asked her to send them to me after the workshop.)
Mindfulness is essentially being with what is present right now.
Meditation is self-reflection or familiarizing yourself with the nature of the experience.
Mindfulness Meditation is familiarizing yourself with the nature of the experience by attending to this moment.
It seems like it should be such a simple thing, right? Being present and noticing yourself in the experience is like asking a bunch of teenagers (or adults!) to close their laptops and put away their phones. What do you do with yourself when left with nothing but… your inner self? This seemed to be my biggest barrier. The temptation to let my mind wander is very strong.
Sheila made a great point that we are so conditioned today to constantly be stimulated – email, text messaging, and social networks are never-ending distractions, notifying us of something new we must see NOW. Because of how we let technology infiltrate every minute of our days, we have to train ourselves on how to let go, turn inward, and be part of the experience.
Of the mental notes I took, these were things that stuck with me:
- Find time and space to pause.
- Let go of expectations – whatever you think meditation should be, let it go.
- Don’t immediately react.
- It’s okay to experience discomfort and distractions. Notice and then release it.
- Give sensations, thoughts, and feelings time to play out – without dwelling on them. Many times, what might be uncomfortable or distracting will eventually neutralize.
- Invite relaxation and find ease.
I thought the idea of allowing sensations, thoughts, and feelings to run their course was interesting. I’m the type of person who would let something bother me and get under my skin until I want to scratch my eyes out. So meditation is definitely a lesson of patience.
In my next post, I’ll share the different methods we practiced during the workshop and how I fared. (Spoiler: My leg completely fell asleep!) In the mean time, check out Sheila’s blog.