I suck at sitting still to meditate. During savasana in yoga class, the instructor often taps the space between my eyebrows, indicating that I am furrowing my brow. Apparently I don’t know how to let go and do nothing.
What I’ve learned is that meditation doesn’t have to be sitting still with your eyes closed. Meditation is simply getting out of your head and being in the present moment (thank you Eckhart Tolle!). I’ve found that these 3 methods make getting out of my head much easier:
1. When you are doing something, put full attention on it.
Washing the dishes, walking the dog, eating a meal… Whatever it is, focus on that one thing and apply all your senses to it – sight, smell, sound, taste, touch. Get into the body and out of the mind. It makes doing anything enjoyable.
This morning I brushed my hair. I mean REALLY brushed my hair. Looking in the mirror, I brushed it for 3 minutes. It felt so good on my scalp that at some points I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to stop. Normally I go through the motions quickly and my mind is already on what I want to do next. This time I gave it my full attention.
2. Take a (really) deep breath.
My hippie friend Jay used to tell me to stop and take a breath whenever he saw I was frustrated. He would grab me and say, “Stop and just trust me! Take a deep breath!.” I would pull away and say “No!” and continue being grumpy. He never fought and accepted where I was. Jay Pullano – you were right all these years. One deep conscious breath works wonders. Thank you. Having hippie friends has it’s benefits!
3. Stop talking about it.
Sometimes when I’m having an emotional breakdown, it’s hard to focus. The thoughts keep coming and I feel stuck in a story that this happened, and that’s why I feel like shit.
What I have found works well is to STOP talking about it because that keeps me in the same place. If I want to vent, once is enough (twice if it’s really bad). After that I make the conscious decision to move forward.
What really helps to also is – sit down with a friend and ask, “Can we talk about you? What’s going on with you?.” People always have stuff going on, and if it’s a problem, even better. When you listen to someone else’s problems, it’s easier to recognize that everyone has silly stories. It also makes you realize how selfish you are being when you are upset about something, because all you are thinking about is how everything is affecting you. It’s a big world and there is a lot going on besides whatever is going on in your head.