I was skeptical too. Ten Minutes?! Yeah, right!
But really, I wish I had learned this in my 20's or even better, in kindergarten.
It took me 48 yrs to figure out this simple, Ten Minute activity!
I've always been a a hard and true pragmatist in every facet of my life. My guiding force was always a practical and realistic approach that "made sense."
My decisions were based on fact and logic, sometimes even scientific proof. In other words, my head ruled my life, most specifically the left, analytical side of my brain.
It worked for awhile. I was driven. Followed the rules and was fiercely independent. The down side (and there were many) was that my mind would not turn off. I would overthink EVERYTHING!
Having reached and exceeded middle-age, I craved something different but wasn't sure exactly what that was. I didn't know if I wanted a new job, a new home, a million dollars, or to just "feel" differently.
What started the shift for me was coach training at IPEC, and an introduction to centering, meditation and following your heart (seriously?) yeah more on that later.
I resisted all of it at first. Thought it was all "woo woo nonsense," but played along in class, kept my head down and blended in.
After one of the centering exercises on day 2, I actually felt calmer and well, more centered. Now I knew what it was supposed to feel like and I wanted more.
Having practiced Bikram Yoga for a couple of years, I was used to the intense focusing for 90 min, so I could surely meditate for five minutes, right?
Perhaps the concentration in Bikram had more to do with survival than meditation. Trying not to throw up or pass out in the 105F degree room was clearly the objective, NOT meditation.
I took a break from Bikram and started my own home yoga practice with my favorite YouTube Instructors (SarahBeth & Adriene). I discovered that I was a bit calmer after my practice and was even "Namaste(ing)" back to my virtual instructors.
Hey, that was real progress - as my realist, cynic mind was still poking fun at me for falling for this phony, self-righteous, hippie-like exercise.
I could see my flexibility improving and my overall mood was even better. I was more patient and felt happier (most of the time).
This yoga "nonsense" was sort of working!
It was then that I decided to seriously learn more about meditation. If this yoga stuff was actually improving the quality of my life, what could adding a meditation practice do?
After devouring a ton of books (did I mention I was a book addict?) and trying out different mediation styles and apps, I decided to put the books down and sit my butt down to actually do it. Not wanting to embark on this journey alone, I narrowed my app choices down to Headspace and dowloaded it on my phone.
I also got a really cool meditation pillow to help with the commitment part.
With this awesome British Guy's voice (Andy Puddicombe) who got me through the basics and guided me through my daily mediations, it was crystal clear that it wasn't as easy as I thought. I clearly struggled!
The first few times I meditated, my pragmatic self was so damned skeptical and mean that I could feel it trying to sabotage my practice. It would tell me I was wasting my time. Stop doing NOTHING! You have so many things to do, get up and do them!
Eventually, I fought through this ugly Gremlin! Little did I know, it was a NORMAL experience!
After a couple of weeks meditating with Andy, where it was okay for my thoughts to wander, (as long as I acknowledged them and brought my awareness back to my breath) it was becoming actually relaxing.
I was starting to get better at it, and a different feeling was beginning to develop and grow.
I can only describe this feeling as a calmness. I started slowing my thinking down and became more aware of my choices regarding how I wanted to think, feel and act.
That was so amazing and strange to me! Ten minutes of sitting with my eyes closed, focused on my breathing and I can actually feel better?! It's crazy!
Ten minutes of meditation per day grew to 15, 30 and then 45 minutes. I frequently go back to ten minutes (with or without Andy) and it's enough to calm my mind and help me to remember to live in the present moment.
My life continues to get better, and it only takes Ten Minutes a day! It's been a couple of years since my meditation practice started and I rarely go a day without it (even if it's in my car while parked in a grocery store lot).
I'm still pragmatic and realistic, but I overthink so much less than I used to. I'm calmer, less stressed out, and to me, that equals more happiness.
Another surprising benefit has been the ability to dial into what my heart is telling me. This is new for me since my head always ruled my decisions.
My goal now is to follow my heart and THEN check in with my head. It’s still a bit foreign but the results are much more meaningful.
Mediation isn't going to fix everything but it may help you reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, sleep better, have better relationships and most importantly, it can help you live a better life.
If you’re interested in enhancing your meditation with healing crystals, I’ve listed a few here are really helpful:
Read more about these crystals in our crystal guide.
If you've already discovered this life changing tool, I'd love to hear how it's changed YOUR life. Let me know if you have any questions or need a jump start to get going. You can reach me at Cindy@Calmerspirit.com
These books were helpful to me in understanding the pragmatic side of Meditation: 10% Happier and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics both by Dan Harris