For many years now I have wanted to add daily meditation to my lifestyle. The benefits of meditating are well documented. Decreased stress, improved concentration, lower blood pressure, and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, just to name a few.
A lot of the people I follow and admire are always talking about how beneficial meditation has been and continues to be for them. Close personal friends who I never believed would be able to quiet their minds down are doing it now. So, I’m trying again to add meditation to my daily routine.
In the past I’ve watched YouTube videos, played a video game with Deepak, or just sat silently with my eyes closed breathing and trying not to think. None of these things felt satisfying or calming. Quite the opposite, I would be so aware of my wandering thoughts, I would become very frustrated. Meditation was always an exercise in frustration, anxiety and failure, probably raising my blood pressure and increasing my depression rather than helping me in any way. I would quickly admit defeat and move on to something else.
But deep down I longed for that peace and calm, that ability to centre and connect with spirit and earth. So I would periodically give it another try, experimenting with different apps and following various practices. And finally I think I may have hit upon the app that will change it all for me!
One of the benefits of being an Amazon Prime member is that you get to borrow numerous books from the Kindle library. Earlier this summer I borrowed a book called Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness by S.J. Scott. One of the things I love about this book is that he includes lots of links to resources that he uses or that he has tried and can recommend. His website is also full of great tips and suggestions and even more links to resources.
Habit #53 is Meditate and one of the resources suggested either in the book or on his website was an app called Aura. At this writing I’ve had 21 mindful days using this app. I like that most of the guided meditations have a short and longer version. If I’m having a particularly anxious moment I can quickly search for meditations to ease anxiety and in three minutes calm myself down. Every day I receive an email with suggested meditations for me to practice. But it’s not just about meditating, there are stories and relaxing music tracks and a gratitude journal. It’s about being more mindful, more present and connected to myself.
The exciting part is that I think I’m starting to see some results! Like this blog for example, I rebooted it once again after months of silence and set myself a goal of one post per week. But this week I can’t seem to stop posting! I’m writing and scheduling posts in advance. I’m getting ideas in the middle of the day and emailing myself notes for future posts. And you might think, so what?! It’s just your ramblings! Who cares?! But this is my dumping ground, my test zone, the place where all the rest of my creativity is born from … if I’m blogging, that means I’m thinking creatively, seeing the world through my creative lens, experiencing life on a more creative and spiritual level … and that, my friends, comes through in all aspects of my life, not just here. It follows me into my daily life and feeds me throughout the day. This is the root of my zest for life.
Another result is my sleep. I’m getting more deep restorative sleep. At night I’ve stopped using Aura for sleep meditations and stories because I purchased an audio book from Audible called Deep Meditation for Healing by Anita Moorjani. It’s an hour long meditation and I’ve been putting it on every night at bedtime. It’s okay if I fall asleep, she says. I will still hear her words and get the benefit. Every night I stay awake just a little longer and consciously hear a bit more. Most nights now I wake up just as the meditation ends, feeling refreshed. I think it’s helping me.
So, I’m finally learning to meditate! Or at least I’m trying on a regular basis and not giving up. And I think it’s having a positive impact.
Drinking: dark roast, cooled to room temperature
Listening To: the fan on my computer, big trucks on the highway
Hair: every which way tousled