One Other Thing You Need to Know…

There are five essentials of meditation that will help you be successful with any meditation practice. When you’re not aware of these five things, you may assume that you’re doing it wrong or set yourself up with unrealistic expectations. The following five things are key:

1. Thoughts are okay during meditation. The goal isn’t to “stop your mind from thinking.” It’s about redirecting your mind back to the breath or whatever your focus is. It doesn’t matter how many times you need to do that.

2. Stick with it. Even if you don’t feel the benefits right away, it is working. Thousands of research studies have proven that. It’s also important to stick with the time that you committed to. That’s why we start with 5 minutes and build up from there. You can do it!

3. Be kind to yourself. As we sit in meditation we get up close and personal with our mind and our thoughts. As we’re working with our mind it’s like we’re training a puppy. With kindness and consistency.

4. Don’t try too hard. The point of meditation isn’t to try so hard that you get a headache. It’s a gentle and soft focus on the breath.

5. Let go of expectations. This is a huge one. We have all sorts of ideas about what should happen when we’re meditating and when it doesn’t happen we get disillusioned and either think we can’t do it or it doesn’t work. It’s vital to let that go. The point is to do the practice and then get on with your day.

(Adapted from Sarah McLean’s teacher training resources – The McLean Meditation Institute).

Remember: We’re going for progress, not perfection!!!!!

One more story I’d like to share. One of my clients, I’ll call Betty, had an inner knowing that her marriage was in trouble. She had two young teenagers and was experiencing a great deal of emotional distress when she thought about whether her marriage was going to work out. She spent a great deal of energy trying to pretend that everything was okay and kept hoping that things would get better.

She was feeling so much emotional distress in her life that she decided to go to her family doctor to discuss it. Her doctor decided to put her on antidepressants and suggested she go and see a therapist.

Betty went for therapy and after a while began to feel like she was going in circles and still couldn’t make a decision. Her health was beginning to suffer and she developed chronic back and knee pain. She then started going to see a chiropractor and also receive acupuncture to relieve the pain.

Betty felt like her life was spiralling out of control and so to unwind at the end of the day she’d have a glass of wine and then pop a sleeping pill in order to sleep at night.

This was when I met Betty. Betty, like so many of us, decided that she needed to get a handle on what was going on inside of her. She began a meditation practice and slowly she began to get clear about what she needed to do. The meditation practice shifted her out of “survival mode” in order to begin to see her life from a clearer perspective.

As her mind settled, she could hear her inner voice that she had been ignoring. She knew what she needed to do in terms of her marriage and while it scared her to death she moved forward one step at a time.

Betty faced her fear and listened to her inner wisdom and in the process, she began healing. She came off antidepressants, started an exercise routine and has never looked back. Betty is the first to say, “it wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.” She now feels like she’s thriving.

I know that it’s hard to believe that 5 minutes a day can begin to create this ripple effect of healing, but it can and it does. I believe it’s because the universe responds when we turn our attention inward in order to do the inner work that we’re meant to do.

Loving ourselves enough to create space for ourselves is what we are being called to do. As Thich Nhat Hanh so beautifully pointed out:

“Go back and take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your
feelings need you, your perceptions need you. Your suffering
needs you to acknowledge it. Go home and be there for
all these things.”

Meditation is about returning home to yourself. I’m so grateful you’re
on this journey home with me!

One Other Thing You Need to Know…

When you’re not aware of these five things, you may assume that you’re doing it wrong or set yourself up with unrealistic expectations. The following five things are key:

1. THOUGHTS ARE OKAY DURING MEDITATION. THE GOAL ISN’T TO “STOP YOUR MIND FROM THINKING.” IT’S ABOUT REDIRECTING YOUR MIND BACK TO THE BREATH OR WHATEVER YOUR FOCUS IS. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU NEED TO DO THAT.

2. STICK WITH IT. EVEN IF YOU DON’T FEEL THE BENEFITS RIGHT AWAY, IT IS WORKING. THOUSANDS OF RESEARCH STUDIES HAVE PROVEN THAT. IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO STICK WITH THE TIME THAT YOU COMMITTED TO. THAT’S WHY WE START WITH FIVE MINUTES AND BUILD UP FROM THERE. YOU CAN DO IT!

3. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. AS WE SIT IN MEDITATION WE GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH OUR MIND AND OUR THOUGHTS. AS WE’RE WORKING WITH OUR MIND IT’S LIKE WE’RE TRAINING A PUPPY. WITH KINDNESS AND CONSISTENCY.

4. DON’T TRY TOO HARD. THE POINT OF MEDITATION ISN’T TO TRY SO HARD THAT YOU GET A HEADACHE. IT’S A GENTLE AND SOFT FOCUS ON THE BREATH.

5. LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS. THIS IS A HUGE ONE. WE HAVE ALL SORTS OF IDEAS ABOUT WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN WHEN WE’RE MEDITATING AND WHEN IT DOESN’T HAPPEN WE GET DISILLUSIONED AND EITHER THINK WE CAN’T DO IT OR IT DOESN’T WORK. IT’S VITAL TO LET THAT GO. THE POINT IS TO DO THE PRACTICE AND THEN GET ON WITH YOUR DAY.

(Adapted from Sarah McLean’s teacher training resources- The McLean Meditation Institute).

Remember: We’re going for progress, not perfection!!!!!

One more story I’d like to share. One of my clients, I’ll call Betty had an inner knowing that her marriage was in trouble. She had two young teenagers and was experiencing a great deal of emotional distress when she thought about whether her marriage was going to work out. She spent a great deal of energy trying to pretend that everything was okay and kept hoping that things would get better.

She was feeling so much emotional distress in her life that she decided to go to her family doctor to discuss it. Her doctor decided to put her on antidepressants and suggested she go and see a therapist.

Betty went for therapy and after a while began to feel like she was going in circles and still couldn’t make a decision. Her health was beginning to suffer and she developed chronic back and knee pain. She then started going to see a chiropractor and also receive acupuncture to relieve the pain.

Betty felt like her life was spiraling out of control and so to unwind at the end of the day she’d have a glass of wine and then pop a sleeping pill in order to sleep at night.

This was when I met Betty. Betty like so many of us decided that she needed to get a handle on what was going on inside of her. She began a meditation practice and slowly she began to get clear about what she needed to do. The meditation practice shifted her out of “survival mode” in order to begin to see her life from a clearer perspective.

As her mind settled, she could hear her inner voice that she had been ignoring. She knew what she needed to do in terms of her marriage and while it scared her to death she moved forward one step at a time.

Betty faced her fear and listened to her inner wisdom and in the process, she began healing. She came off antidepressants, started an exercise routine and has never looked back. Betty is the first to say that “it wasn’t easy, but it was necessary”. She now feels like she’s thriving.

I know that it’s hard to believe that five minutes a day can begin to create this ripple effect of healing, but it can and it does. I believe it’s because the universe responds when we turn our attention inward in order to do the inner work that we’re meant to do.

Loving ourselves enough to create space for ourselves is what we are being called to do. As Thich Nhat Hanh so beautifully pointed out:

“Go back and take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your
feelings need you, your perceptions need you. Your suffering
needs you to acknowledge it. Go home and be there for
all these things.”

Meditation is about returning home and I’m so grateful you’re on this journey home with me!

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