I recently learned the importance of meditating from Dr. Deepak Chopra himself. He explained that meditating was like pushing the reset button. When you sleep, your body gets to rest and recover, right? But your brain still dreams and is in high gear. So meditating is making a conscious effort to stop or slow your brain down.
Why stop thinking, you ask? Coming from a someone who’s brain always goes in turbo mode at first, my reflex was NO! It’s good for your brain to keep firing off because each time you learn something new or think new thoughts you’re sending electric current into your head. I read somewhere that you get more brain cells that way. Since I do my fair share of killing brain cells (so what? I like wine – don’t judge!) I thought I would want to keep my brain going to get smarter and smarter.
Well, slow down their cowgirl. Just like a muscle that can’t constantly lift weights, you also can’t constantly fire off your brain. So put the weight (thoughts) down for a moment. And just stop.
Don’t worry you won’t be dumber afterwards, I promise. In fact, a lot of the mumbo jumbo and inability to focus seems to die down. Then the real stuff, the good deep stuff that may have been fostering inside, surfaces. You kind of find out what is really important to you just by stopping all the other stuff.
So here’s how you do it – find a comfy pillow, a chair, a rock, a beach, or a couch to sit on. I like lighting a candle when I’m indoors but you don’t have to. Just get real comfy but I suggest you keep your back straight and not leaning against anything. Set your alarm for 20 minutes and push start. Then simply begin deep, slow breaths from your nose. This is used to help set you body and mind into meditation mode. Your body will slow down with each breath. Try to have the heat from each exhale hit the back of your throat before it comes back out your nose. I was given a mantra by a lovely woman at the Chopra Center and that is a set of words in sanskrit that have no meaning to me but they’re something to repeat to get my brain to stop thinking about other things.
The idea is to have silence in your head. That’s near impossible for the entire 20 minutes but you may get moments of it throughout the allotted time. Whenever a thought enters your head, acknowledge it, then let it exit. For example, I kept thinking of what I wanted to name my website so during meditation different names would pop in my head. I acknowledged them then let them float away. In between those thoughts were those special moments of silence that serve as the reset. I was able to the write down some of those names that popped into my head immediately after the 20 minutes was up and it helped me see the common theme of what I wanted my website to be about. Cool, huh?
I’m not saying you’ll have your lifelong questions figured out with each meditation session. I’m just saying it’s good for your head to chill out a little bit.
But, something I noticed quite a few times is I fall asleep, or at least I think I do. I wake up startled at the sound of my alarm then I just cozy up on that same meditation pillow and go to bed. I asked the Chopra Center people about that and they said that just means you’re tired. Your body needs the zzzzz’s. So even if you actually fall asleep during meditation then you’re still doing your body some good. But, coming from a meditazzzzzer I suggest you keep your meditation space far from your bed so that you still have to get up, brush your teeth, and put on pjs before you actually get your real zzzzs. You don’t want your body to always be accustomed to sleeping each time you set that 20 minute alarm. Happy meditating!