It’s not always easy in the beginning, I know. Getting comfortable with a mindfulness or meditation practice is like learning any other life skill… it can take a bit of practice.
When we all sit in group together and you’ve got a relatively quiet space away from your normal busy-ness, it’s easier. When you have me or some other teacher guiding you along, it’s easier. When the lights are soft and there’s soothing music, yes… it’s easier.
Then you head home or back to the office with its noise, crowded spaces and (yes, I know) other people! Finding your meditation groove in the “real world” can be harder. So it occurred to me that I could help you by talking about your meditation support team. These are things you can use to boost that chill factor wherever you might be. This is not intended to be your amazon shopping list… but there might be one or two things that might resonate with you. Some are sitting at home just waiting to be appreciated.
When you’re sitting chilling at home or on lunch hour in the park, music is a great way to create a buffer between you and the world around. No one ever said, well, okay, I’ve never said, that you can’t meditate with head phones on. Find some background music that is calming but not distracting to you. White noise generators can do the same thing for some. We’re just helping dull the distractions coming in thru your ears.
- Visual focus
It’s easy for me to get distracted by things around me at home. I can see work that I could be doing. Closing your eyes works well but a visual focal point is good too. Many people meditate to a candle. It’s gentle light and soft motion is interesting and very in the moment. Some have a favorite stone, statue or even painting that can engage the eyes as they calm the mind and relax.
Mala beads or rosaries have been used by meditators for centuries. Sliding your fingers gently over the surface of the beads gives a focus without distraction. Some use prayer beads as a counting tool, repeating a mantra or just a wish for love or peace on each bead. Touch is just one more sense that if calmed can help you relax into your meditation practice.
A friend gifted me with “meditation balm” that she had made. That was something new for me but on trying it, I understood. Taking a small bit and rubbing in the palms is tactile and soothing but then the scent of essential oils rises. The sense of smell is so connected with our mind and our nervous system. Think to put a drop of your favorite essential oil in a small dish or on a bit of paper towel and allow that sweet essence to add to your meditation experience.
In addition to these ideas, never shy away from using tools like recorded meditation, apps on your phone, dvd’s or youtube videos. Shamanic traditions use a steady drum beat to induce deep meditative states. Who knows, maybe having your purring kitty sit in your lap while meditating will get you where you want to go. Anything that helps you access your calmer self is fine. In time, you’ll find yourself more able to calm yourself as needed, wherever you are.
Meditation is a tool to help you, not just one more thing on the to-do list. There are many styles and practices for the many sorts of personalities we come with. Be creative and use what works for you. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.