Meditation not relaxing?
Hang on, what?! Then, what’s the point of meditation you ask, if not to relax and calm the “F” down?!
YES, we want to relax and calm our nervous systems regularly (for a whole host of healthy reasons) and meditation is definitely the place to start….
BUT, here’s the secret. (not-so-secret): meditation is not always a relaxing experience!
And that’s because mindfulness meditation asks us to sit alone in stillness with our thoughts, the stories we tell ourselves, our judgements and worries…and Yikes! That’s often extremely noisy, and can feel incredibly cluttered and messy, or emotionally and even physically painful!
We think we aren’t ‘doing’ it right, we focus on what isn’t happening, versus what is, we get distracted by any and all manner of outside disturbances, we beat ourselves up with negative self talk.
Yes. Decidedly Not Relaxing.
And sure, there are many kinds of meditation practices but primarily what meditation offers and allows, is space to observe and be curious about who and why we are.
It offers an honest peek into all our repetitive thoughts, emotions, beliefs and biases.
Throughout any given day, our mind is consistently pulling us into the past or future, robbing us of the present moments that make up our lives. Mindfulness meditation asks that we simply observe the chaos without getting caught up and consumed by it.
Again, not relaxing or even comfortable, but such self reflection requires our attention, compassion and care if we hope to feel more consistently centered, relaxed, less reactive and more emotionally free.
It is work, my friend-staying present with disturbing thoughts and emotions is hard! It takes practice to progress, but it is worth it.
It’s worth it for the opportunity to align from within by observing your mind activity for what it is -mind activity- and let rise, what needs to arise, and notice how your mental body is interwoven with your emotional body.
Our thoughts cause our feelings and when we can get still enough to notice, we can begin to let go of some of those automatic negative thoughts, beliefs and biases. And we want to, because they keep us small and limited in our thinking and in our ability to move forward in mentally and emotionally healthy, productive ways.
I promise, it’s worth the journey.
Once you can get past those first few minutes of panic or boredom or irritation, what being present to whatever arises reveals, are gifts beyond what you can imagine right now.
Because when we can better understand ourselves, we can attune and orient toward all the possibilities for our life beyond any current circumstance.
All day long our consciousness flits between past and future, rarely landing for extended periods of time in the actual present. A regular meditation practice begins to train your brain to be more present, more often. And over time, this equates to more life-affirming appreciation for your life- more gratitude, joy, ease, personal empowerment and freedom.
When we can be present more often in our daily lives, we enjoy more clarity, resilience and compassion. We become more in tune with our inner knowing through regular meditation, so we can stop wasting time second-guessing our decisions and instead, move forward with more focus and passion for what lights us up.
Meditation is permission to feel and allow emotion to move through us fully without rushing past, ignoring or burying.
Pain, suffering, fear, all of it, expresses itself in lots of different ways and getting still enough to notice how it shows up in our minds and bodies, allows us the opportunity to move through the natural process of hard emotions, freeing us from their chronic hold on us.
We’re all very well practiced at ‘doing’, but to simply notice the state of our inner landscape, is to practice the art of ‘being’ and help us recognize and observe without judgment, how we are, who we are and what we need to become more fully alive.
It’s training our brain to be more resilient, at ease and be in more compassionate connection with our body and our emotions.
You get to define your life on your terms and meditation is the best place to start to sift through what’s real versus what’s a made up story in your head, or an old story from your upbringing that simply isn’t true. Regular meditation can help you get real and stop bypassing difficult emotion so you can live more honestly and fully, without lugging around or hiding all your baggage.
So yeah, meditation isn’t always relaxing, but it can be.
Some days we’re able to sit and BE and other times, we fidget and create internal conflict. That’s okay. The key is to focus on what does arise, instead of what we think should arise in meditation.
Think of meditation as this amazing opportunity to become more alive and more connected to your emotions, your passions, and to the causes you care about.
And with more consistent practice, you’ll begin to attune your spiritual body too, but first, we gotta clear some of the clutter, to see the forest through the trees.
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. But sometimes it is.
If you want to learn about how to start a meditation practice, reach out here and let’s get to the relaxing part!
For now, just begin.
Pick a time that fits your life
Pick a physical place
Add something special to the place you choose
Set a timer for 7 mins
Then sit (chair, floor, couch, bed) everyday, same time of day