How I Meditate
Taking 20 minutes a day to replace the clutter in my mind with quiet is essential to my business practice and life routine. I find on the days where I do not meditate I feel as if I did not get a good night’s sleep and my day is impacted accordingly. Meditation helps me with everything from bag designs to choosing the best things to eat for my body. There are countless studies showing the health benefits of meditation, including how it helps lower blood pressure.
This is how I do it.
1. Morning Meditation is Best
I find it most effective to meditate when I get out of bed in the morning. Right after awakening, I feel my brain is not yet in full swing. I am still a little hazy, and I feel this is the best time to open up the portals, if you will. I am not a coffee drinker, but if I was I would definitely do this prior to coffee.
2. Remove all Possible Disturbances
I then make sure there will not be any disturbances. I turn off my cell phone, and I make sure anyone in the house knows I need 20 minutes disturbance free.
3. Sit on the Floor
Sitting on the floor helps me feel grounded. I find a comfortable place, sit cross-legged on the floor or in a comfortable chair with my feet firmly on the ground, and light a candle as a small symbol (and ritual) of starting my meditation practice.
4. Start with a Breathing Exercise
The key thing for me is to start with breathing. If I have not meditated for a while I will spend five of the total 20 minutes focusing on my breath. During this time, it is helpful for me to set a timer that does not click, but will have a little alarm when five minutes is complete. (Many cell phones have timing features that work perfectly for this.)
During these five minutes, I breathe in for five counts, counting 1, 1000 then 2, 1000, etc.), and then breath out for seven counts in the same manner. The inhale is a full breath, breathing into the upper chest, the middle chest and the belly. I hold for 1 count and then slowly exhale. When this seems too difficult for me, I breathe in for three counts and out for five. Exhaling for longer than I inhale helps me relax.
If I am doing meditation frequently, I do the initial breathing exercises for approximately 10 breaths instead of five minutes.
5. Visualization During Breathing Exercises
As I am taking those initial breaths, I visualize a cord that goes down from the center of my head between my eyebrows all the way through down my body, out my pelvis and feet, and deep into the ground beneath me. I then imagine this cord anchor about 20 feet or more into the ground underneath me, and visualize this cord coming back up through my body, out my head and far into the ethos above me.
I find that the cord color often changes from session to session. If you are doing the same exercise, I would encourage you to be open to seeing how the color evolves as you move through this practice.
6. Dropping into Meditation
When I complete the breathing part of the exercise I then say aloud, “Universe, I invite any information or imagery that would be appropriate for me to know or be aware of, to come to me now.”
I then continue to focus on my breaths coming in and out of my body.
When a thought comes in my head, which it inevitably does, I say hello to it, and that I wish it well, but that I am not available to consider it in these moments.
There comes a time when my brain goes quiet and I realize without knowing it that I’ve dropped into the meditative space. Once I’m here, I don’t want to leave this “expansive zone” as time and space evaporate. Before I know it, the timer chimes and it’s time for me to get on with my day. I often go straight from meditating to sketching or writing to “download” what just revealed itself. Or, creative ideas may pop up through out the day. Regardless of the creative flow download, I am more relaxed, calmer, energized, and often have more great days than not-so great days.
For beginners, this may take a while (and possibly many sessions) to quiet the “monkey mind”, but I encourage anyone to stick with it. It really does work!
*It’s also interesting how animals respond to the calming aspects of meditation as my energy and the energy in the room shifts. My dogs often come find me from other parts of the house and sit near me as soon as I “drop into the zone” to reap the rewards. It’s a nice validation that a meditation practice positively affects more than just me!
More Meditation Tips:
I find meditation is most effective after I do yoga.
I also find meditation to be an even more powerful and effective experience when done with others who are meditating, such as, part of a yoga class or meditation workshop.
I keep a notepad near me during meditation, so if I find myself too distracted by a thought while doing it I can write it down and continue with my practice.
When thoughts come in my head I sometimes find it useful to envision a pretty box stored in my closet to put them in for later consideration.
iTunes also has some great meditation music to help drown out any distracting noises.
Apps to help you with meditation:
Personally my favorite meditation app is the Insight Timer. It is free and offers a silent timer with peaceful chimes to start and indicate the end of my practice. There is also a community feature, which allows me to see a map of other people around the world who are meditating at the same time, as well as options to join meditation communities.
Although I do not use it myself, a friend of my mom recommends the Headspace app. Unlike the Insight Timer, it offers instruction on how to do different meditation practices. From what I am told it offers 10 days of instruction and is great for beginners.