By Andi Evans
For me, the idea behind meditation is not to follow any specific rules, it is to allow myself a break from the world we experience outside ourselves. Any way you can find the time to do that is meditation. It may mean a quiet walk without headphones in nature, where you allow yourself just to listen, and ask the clutter to back off for a bit. You’ll tend to those thoughts later. It may mean while you are washing the dishes or folding laundry, you completely focus on the act of what you are doing. You choose to be fully present, breathing in and out slowly and mindfully, and excusing other thoughts. You may even choose to have a mantra in your head while you do this. It is up to you!
If you would like to sit and meditate in a quiet room, and really devote some time to it, here are a few tips that help me, and I hope they (or your interpretation of them) will help you!
(By the way, don’t worry about time. If you can devote just a few minutes to this, you are giving yourself a magnificent gift)
1) Set up your space. If you have an alter, or table you can use as an alter, set up this space with pieces that mean something to you. You may choose things like: candles, books, oracle cards, gemstones, photos, religious symbols, keepsakes or some sort of aromatherapy. Have this area be devoted to your spiritual beliefs.
2) Light a candle and say a prayer of intention. You may choose to ask for assistance during your meditation, to help you quiet your mind. Or maybe you just express gratitude for this time of connection with the Divine, and your higher self.
3) Write down your intention. This is very powerful. Gift yourself a special book in which you write down what you are grateful for, and your intentions during your meditation. Write down your intentions as though they have already happened, and you are grateful for them. So if you intend to have a peaceful meditation, you may write something like: Thank you for this loving meditation I have received today. I also include a mini version of my ‘vision’ board, or the things I would like to see in my life. I write them as though they are already here. And usually, they are!
4) I love gemstones and they hold great meaning for me, so I hold the ones that I resonate with that day in my hand, and declare their vibration and my vibration are aligned. You many use a religious symbol, mala beads, a card or photo that has great meaning to you. Whatever you choose, trust that it is the right symbol for you.
5) Make an agreement with yourself to allow your meditation time to be what it is. If thoughts or outside disruptions happen, it’s ok. Try not to become frustrated, acknowledge them and let them pass. Try not to judge yourself on how much time you devote to your meditation. Whatever it is, it is what is meant to be that day.
6) Take a deep breath and imagine what it would feel like to let all the thoughts in your head get together in a group, hop on a cloud, and float away. Another visual I find helpful is to imagine that my thoughts are weights on my shoulders. I imagine the weights being lifted, one by one, and with each breath, I feel lighter and lighter.
7) I then take my temperature (in my mind). How am i feeling today? I may choose to imagine my chakras open and in complete alignment. Or I may ask myself how much happiness and joy am I allowing in today…and imagine that amount increasing. You may choose a visual, like a cylinder. Imagine it being filled with air (joy) and sand (what could be joy, but is in the way!) Imagine with each deep breath, the air (joy) grows, and the sand gets pushed out of the cylinder, leaving more room for joy. Maybe you can rid the cylinder of sand altogether. I promise you, you will smile with each breath, and feel lighter and lighter, and more joyous.
8) Now that you have put yourself in a joyous place where you feel comfortable, repeat a mantra in your head. As you repeat your mantra slowly, (it can be whatever feels good to you that day) focus on the breath coming and going through your nose. Stay with that mantra and be kind to yourself. If other thoughts come to mind, just acknowledge them, and let them go. They are not in your way, they are just passing. Continue with this mantra until you feel it fading, and allow yourself to experience quiet and stillness. You may acknowledge the prayer or intentions you have written while preparing for your meditation, but just by writing them (or thinking them before you begin), they part of your spiritual practice.
And now, you are on your way. Enjoy the stillness, trust and love.