Meditation is simply an action done to quiet and take charge of the mind.  If you’re not taking charge of the mind, the mind will take charge of you.  When the mind is quiet, you become a better listener and communicator.  You’re more open to new possibilities, you’re able to accomplish your goals more easily.  You can also choose how you want to feel, and you'll have the ability to lead a deeper, more meaningful life.  When you're not meditating regularly, the mind will take charge of you.  This means your mind can chatter uncontrollably, negative emotions can get the best of you, and you can easily fall into negative patterns and habits, allowing depression, or even addictions, into your life.

 

As you’re learning to meditate, it’s important to understand the mind.  When I teach meditation, I often give this example:  picture the mind as an spoiled two-year-old child who wants constant attention and acts out or throws a tantrum if he doesn’t get what he wants.  Mediation gives guidance, boundaries and direction to that child (the mind).  Meditation is like a gentle, yet firm parent.  At one time or another, we have all experienced that “spoiled two-year-old”.  It doesn’t feel good, and it can make you feel completely out of control.  On the other hand, a mind that is calm and focused feels amazing.  Every aspect of your whole world shifts and becomes more clear and defined.  

 

If you're new to meditation, your goal is to create your meditation style around something you enjoy.  When you like what you're doing, you'll want to do it often.  It won't feel forced.  

 

When scheduling time for your meditation, think about you and your needs.  Do you need to have a set routine?  Or do you like more of a free flowing schedule?  Free flowing is great, as long as it’s not an excuse to put things off.  

 

When you begin meditating, I recommend starting with only 5-10 minutes, especially for a seated style of meditation.  5-10 minutes is a do-able amount of time for just about anyone.  Seriously, you can squeeze it in first thing in the morning or last thing before you go to sleep.  

 

When creating your meditation practice, making sure you have an intent is key. Your intent will set the direction for your meditation.  It will give your meditation purpose.  Without an intent, you'll feel like you didn't accomplish anything, because you simply didn't have a reason to meditate. 

 

Active Meditation

There are many different ways you can meditate.  One kind of meditation is an active style, like walking, writing, or quietly being creative.  Active meditation can consist of basically any activity you like, as long as it calms your mind and doesn’t engage the mind.  Let's say you wanted to ride a bike for your active meditation, but you also wanted to make sure you're getting a workout.  Your mind might be more on the workout and keeping your heart rate up, than on being quiet, in the moment, and taking note of your surroundings.  A good remedy would be to do the active meditation phase of your ride first, then go into the workout phase of your ride.

 

An active meditation is done with you and only you, all by yourself.  This is your meditation time, so you can be with your thoughts and energy in the moment.  This also means no cell phone, music, or texting.  I know this can be challenging at first.  So be patient and remember, this is your time.  Be kind to yourself.  Go step by step.

 

Meditation brings you into the moment.  Your mind will be right there, sensing how your body feels, looking at your surroundings, and even noticing the scents and smells.  Your senses become alive and heightened in the moment.  When you’re not taking charge of your mind, your mind will wander into the past or the future.  

 

During your active meditation, you’ll need to make sure that the “spoiled two-year-old” is entertained in some way.  We are ruled by the mind.  So, in essence, the mind needs to be part of your meditation.  You'll want to give the mind something to focus on, something to look at, or “play” with.  If you’re taking a walk, focus on your intent as well as your surroundings.  This may be a challenge if you are just beginning your practice.  Know this, and stay focused on what you are doing in the moment.  Be that gentle yet firm parent to your mind.

 

Seated Mediation

Meditation can also be more passive, like a traditional, seated style of meditation.  With this style of meditation, you may choose to incorporate music or candles, or you may want to hold something in your hands as you meditate.  These tools/objects will help you keep your mind occupied (remember the spoiled two-year-old).  They’ll give your mind something to focus on, so you can meditate.  Otherwise, your mind may try to interrupt you with thought after thought.

 

Any time is a good time to develop or deepen your meditation practice. If you've felt out of balance and unfocused lately, your mind has a lot to do with that.  Meditation is the perfect remedy.  As you develop your meditation practice, remember to create your own style, keep it short, have an intent, and make it enjoyable.  Soon, you'll find it easy to stay calm and focused, your life will become deeper and more whole.  Every aspect of your whole world will shift and become more clear and defined.  And your mind acting like that two-year-old child will be a thing of the past.

 

 

When you can relax your mind a little each day, you will begin to see more and feel more. Your life will become more whole. You will become empowered.