It's been nearly a year since I did one of S.N. Goenka’s Vipassana meditation courses. I sat in meditation for 11 hours a day for 10 days. It was awful and amazing and cleansing and disturbing and life-altering and very, very hard.
I loved and hated every minute of it. I wanted both to walk out every day, and also never to leave. I knew when I drove away on the last day of the program that I would be back; this couldn’t be my first and only course. However, I haven’t practiced Vipassana meditation for a single day since.
I’m ok with that though; I don’t think it matters how we meditate. It just matters that we do.
What is Meditation?
Existing in and referencing a broad variety of practices, meditation is a habit which builds internal energy and develops positivity in love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. The singular idea that we might have when we think of meditation -- that of a monk or long-time practitioner -- is a very ambitious form of meditation, particularly for beginners. However, this is just one of many ways to meditate.
Resilient living expert, Dr. Amit Sood, suggests that while turning inward is effective in dealing with direct external threats, some of our most direct threats in modern society are actually internal. This means that choosing an external path is often the easier option.
Mindfulness is about inviting compassion, kindness, gratitude, and forgiveness into our thoughts. ~Cath Witten
Meditation, then, becomes about being mindful, and mindfulness is about being present. It is about being in the moment.
Here are 5 easy and fun ways to bring mindfulness into your life.
1. Give thanks.
An attitude of gratitude is one of the greatest predictors of overall happiness. I have been keeping a list of “really good things” for years, and it has changed my life. Being mindful of what we are thankful for is also a great way to bring our attention to the moment and to what is in front of us.
2. Notice details.
Notice the scent of your partner’s shampoo, the colour of the sky, the smell of the rain of the earth beneath your feet. Feel the solid ground and the texture of the sand or the grass. Notice the air on your skin, the texture of a petal. Stop and smell the flowers, literally.
3. Savour food.
Eating is a joy and a necessity! However, preparing meals can often feel like a chore, and we eat in a rush. Try slowing down and savouring the experience. Prepare food with love, then sit down to eat and really taste your food. Doing the dishes brings the meal to a complete end.
4. Celebrate moments.
Be in each moment completely. If you are sitting with your partner, turn off your phone and be there. If you are reading to your kids, do so without running your to do list through your head. When you are at work, focus on your tasks wholly, without wishing you were somewhere else. When you’re not at work, let go of all the stuff that’s waiting to be done. Be present. Celebrate each moment.
5. Be loving.
Love is the magic ingredient in everything, so give love in all that you do. Work with a loving heart and take loving steps towards your dreams. And love, love, love your people. Through giving love, you'll feel your heart expand.
Even short and quick moments of mindfulness have so much to offer, so try tapping into the present today. Do you find time to meditate? What are some ways you nourish your inner self? Share your tips in the comment section!