Before I dive into how to meditate without meditating, I’d like to welcome you to another intro of me whining about not blogging as much as I’d like. I always miss it here so much! My monotonous excuses for not writing enough make me think of the quote “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” It’s so interesting that this is such common sense, but I feel an overwhelming aha moment relating this to my life right now. Obviously if I don’t consistently change my habits I won’t produce different results: Obviously. But time keeps passing and I find myself stuck in some of the same ways. I know exactly what to do to be where I want to be, and know exactly what’s holding me back. It’s just up to me to make the moves. We are so much smarter than we own up to be and the wisdom we have within let’s itself surface eventually. So, here we are. With no excuses (and much enjoyment), I am finally back on zee blog. Thank you for being here and listening to my self-created drama.
For so long, Meditation was a practice I admired from a far. It was one of those things that sounded transformational, refreshing and virtuous. Something I’d defend, but I never actually experienced myself. This is because any time I would attempt to meditate, I couldn’t do it. It was boring and frustrating for me. I didn’t know how to meditate, or what it was truly about. Based on other people’s recounts of meditation, I expected to sit on my pillow and feel free of all problems and worries. I expected bliss and to quickly transcend into a higher state of being. Maybe I even expected the Universe to whisper sweet nothings into my ear that would give me answers to my deepest life questions. I have no idea. This is not what I got in the slightest. So many times I sat “meditating” and wondered if the entire idea was a load of nonsense that everyone pretended to go along with, but no one actually felt anything from. It wasn’t until a few years later that I truly began to understand and reap the benefits of this practice. I promise meditation isn’t just a buzzword in the spiritual community, or a fad for new-age hippies. It is actually backed by many scientific studies that prove the benefits it has for our overall well-being, including our brain function. ~because science said so~ Not to mention many Eastern cultures have held strong beliefs in it’s benefits for an estimated 5,000 years. Whoa.
What I lacked understanding in is how meditation truly works for us. The benefits of meditation happen once we’re off the meditation pillow. They flow into our lives and affect us after we practice, not during. Benefits of meditation include heightened self-awareness, reduced stress, improved concentration, mental clarity, emotional stability, more focused attention and positive boosts in mood. It is remembering we are a human being, not a human doing. It gives us that sense of Self that gets lost overtime. To me, one of the most intriguing benefits of meditation is the affect it has on our amygdala. This is the part of the brain responsible for stress responses, and is our “fight or flight” center. Studies show that the amygdala of those practicing mindfulness meditation actually shrinks. The part of our brain responsible for causing us stress and fear becomes smaller while our pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for higher awareness, focus and decision making) thickens. In conclusion: The more you meditate, the less stress and fear you’ll experience. ~again, because science~ Ahhhhhh, so awesome. Fear is one of the most powerful drivers of negativity and limitation in our lives. We could all use less.
If you’re looking to experience the benefits of meditation, but have not been able to figure out how, it is time to recognize how to meditate without meditating. I uncovered something that can change the way you look at the practice: the benefits of meditation come from being in the state of meditation, and not the act.
Meditation, by definition, is a practice where an individual focuses their mind on a particular object, thought or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. It is experiencing a true state of presence and mindfulness. Traditionally, we think of sitting in silence on a meditation pillow to achieve this state, but other activities can also bring us here. The trick to “meditate without meditating” is to simply practice being mindful. During a mindful state, we are fully engaged in the present moment, but not overly reactive or overwhelmed with our thoughts and emotions. We achieve a feeling of calm awareness. It’s when we just be who we are and do what we’re doing. Though it sounds simple, our modern-day lifestyle promotes anything but mindfulness.
To experience this state without actually meditating, participate in types of activities that you are focused, while you get lost in the moment. The ones where you allow your mind to become still and tranced. This can include simple doings like bringing awareness to your breathing, but it can also be found in other creative and enjoyable activities. The exact activities that work best will be unique to each individual, but I’ve concluded all creative ventures have meditative affects. Writing with passion, drawing for the joy of it, practicing music for hours, cooking leisurely: When done with mindfulness, all of these things have meditative affects. The key is to be mindful. Don’t let your mind become distracted. Don’t think about other things you believe you should be doing or let your mind wander to the future, your bad haircut, what you’re having for dinner or your deep dark worries. Don’t judge the moment or your progress. Just be present and calmly focused on the activity at hand. Bring attention into your body and out of your mind. Many people do not allow themselves the chance to be this free. Can you think back to a time you engaged in one of these activities, and gained some type of clarity and contentment? Like playing an instrument for hours, letting the time pass, focusing on nothing but the present. Not getting lost in your mind, but instead feeling with your body. Doing these things without putting pressure on the outcome produces the same affects as a meditation session. The feeling is wonderful. Studies show that the affects of creative expression promote higher-processed thinking. Our brain is affected similarly from creative expression as it is from meditation. How awesome is that? We can all stop trying to be robots and live into a pre-determined societal mold. You now have yet another reason to spend more time challenging yourself to creative endeavors. #HOBBIES!!! #getsome
Allow yourself to do these things with your mind turned off so you can get the most out of life when your mind is turned on.
While it is totally amaze and wonderful that we can gain the benefits of meditation in other ways, the most powerful benefits will come from adopting a true meditation practice. There are many types of meditation exercises to help you get started on your journey. I suggest starting by implementing mindfulness activities, and then transition to two minutes a day of meditation. There are even apps to help you out here, or you can search the good ole YouTube for some digital assistance. Slowly, it becomes easier. And the benefits become stronger.
“Our best ideas come when we are not engaged with the outside world”.
From a present state of mind,
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How To Meditate Without Meditating was first posted on March 8, 2018 at 3:33 am.
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