Over the past year, I decided to seriously commit to a daily meditation practice.
I had previously tried meditating a few minutes here and there and would meditate consistently for awhile – until I didn’t.
This time around, I wanted daily meditation to stick. So I decided to sign up for a weekly course to set me off on the right path. The course included a weekly 2.5 hour class, a silent retreat and varied types of daily meditation as homework.
I was curious how consistent meditation would feel and what impact I might notice.
My time spent in meditation brought me deep within myself and into a deep state of relaxation. This extended beyond the time actually spend in meditation. My kids kept telling me that I was being weird. I wasn’t becoming stressed when they weren’t getting dressed for the school bus. I was taking more time to cuddle with them on the couch without worrying about the dirty dishes in the sink. The relaxation and letting go from my time in meditation was extending to my daily routines.
My experience through my meditation course also developed a mindfulness of small moments of my day that I had lost. It brought a state of awareness of myself and the world that seemed almost child-like.
It brought me to a level where I was simply being – and noticing.
So often we are so deep in our thoughts that we fail to notice the things around us. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but it starts to affect us when we stop noticing ourselves. Especially when doing menial tasks, we step into “automatic mode” and don’t necessarily stop to check how we feel (both physically and emotionally). We become so focused on the tasks at hand that we forget to check in with ourselves and see how we feel, what we need, or what we want.
My course helped me enormously to get in touch with myself. Getting in better touch with my feelings has refined my intuition in different situations. It has brought me better awareness of how I am feeling during interactions with others, which has enabled me to set better boundaries when my needs are different than those of someone else.
But how does this apply to you?
Think back to your drive to work this morning, or any other activity you might have done that required attention. Try to think back and realize how you felt then, how you were breathing, what the world looked like around you. Was it snowing? Could you feel the warmth of the sun on your face? What about your drive do you actually remember?
Were you mindfully noticing these elements in your surroundings, or were your thoughts whirling, taking your awareness away from what was happening around you in the moment?
So how do you start shifting your attention to the present moment?
- Pick a task that you do daily.
- Observe yourself doing that task.
- Don’t remain with one thought for too long, and don’t judge your feelings or actions, rather just observe them.
Next time you are driving, or having a meal, practice being hyper-aware of yourself and your surroundings. If you are feeling calm, observe that feeling. Live it, breathe it. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, notice how your breathing changes. Notice the muscles in your face. Are they tense? Is your jaw clenched? Can you taste all of the ingredients in that recipe?
Just being aware of what we are doing can help regulate our emotions and allow us to be more gentle with ourselves when we need.
Simple as that! Doing this regularly will help you be more connected to yourself. You will be on your way to a path of self-discovery.