Beginning A Meditation Practice


Beginning a Meditation Practice

Beginning a Meditation PracticeI never thought I would be the type of person who meditates.

In fact, a few years ago, I would have completely scoffed at the idea and written it off as being new-agey mumbo jumbo.

It wasn’t until very recently that I finally decided to actually give it an honest try, and I am finally beginning to see huge results.

My first taste of meditation came about five years ago when I was still living in Dallas. I had just begun outpatient treatment for my eating disorder, and I was so completely lost.

While I have never considered myself a religious person, I have always felt that spirituality plays an important part of my life. At the time, I needed to turn somewhere, and a Buddhist meditation Center seemed a good place to start.

My main source of therapy at the time was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is highly focused in teaching mindfulness. My therapist had also suggested yoga, and I was beginning to experience how pleasant it was to pay attention to my body and let my brain take a break from thinking about life. Meditation seemed to fit in perfectly with my goals.

The Meditation Center was quite like anything I had ever experienced. I wasn’t open about my treatment at the time, so I mostly kept this part of my life a secret as well. I didn’t know how to explain to my friends that I was suddenly interested in spending my Sunday mornings chanting barefoot with a bunch of strangers.

Obligatory Fake Meditation in Nature Picture
Obligatory Fake Meditation in Nature Picture

I can’t say that I really took away anything from that experience as far as meditation goes, but I can say that it served as a nice escape for me once a week. I really tried to clear my mind and follow along with the guide, but mostly I was just thinking about how cool it was that I had this private little secret all to myself.

5 years later, and I once again find myself needed to satisfy that spiritual gap in my life. Perhaps it’s because I’m back in therapy and back to regular yoga practice, or maybe I just desperately need a way to quiet my mind-but I’ve plunged back into the world of meditation.

I’ve only been practicing daily for about 3 months now, like I said-I’m no expert- but this time around I’m really finding it helpful.

My life is so incredibly busy that I initially thought it would be impossible for me to find time in my day to meditate. I can barely find time in my day to prepare meals and eat-but I really wanted to give it an honest shot.

So every day after I leave the radio station and before I head to my afternoon job, I turn everything off and get into a comfortable position with my feet on the floor and my hands in my lap. Everyday I focus on my body for ten-fifteen minutes and try my best to turn my attention to my breath. Everyday I become more and more aware of my thoughts, and it is becoming easier to just let them be without judgment.

Everyday, when my 15 minutes is up, I feel a little more relax and in tune with what’s going on inside of me.  I’ve also noticed that I’m getting better at noticing my thoughts throughout the day. I am getting better at dealing with uncomfortable emotions and the little surprises that life unexpectedly hands me.

Not only that, but I’m proud of myself for sticking to something that doesn’t come naturally for me. My brain, by nature is a whirlwind of anxious thoughts and worries. They’re still there, but I am beginning to understand that I am not my thoughts.

If you’re interested in starting up your own practice, here are some references that helped me a lot.

The Power of Now- Eckhart Tole. Great for anyone who’s interested in mindfulness or meditation.

Untethered Soul-Micharl A. Singer. This is probably my favorite book on mindfulness so far. It’s beautifully written and with so much insight.

Mindfulness : An 8 Week Plan Finding Peace in a Frantic World-Mark Williams and Danny Penman. This one really got me started this time around. It even has guided meditations and a plan to stick to that is not overwhelming and easy to stick to.

Headspace App: Great app for beginners! The first ten guided meditations are free, and I just sprung for the paid version because I love it so much. Plus I like the ability to have a guide with me wherever I am. Definitely a must if you have a busy schedule!

There are a LOT of books on meditation as well as a TON of apps. I’ll be reviewing some more in an upcoming post, but these should get you started!


What about you? Do you meditate? Does it come easy to you? How did you start your practice?

 

 

 

 

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  • ElleSees.blogspot.com

    i cannot clear my mind to meditate. i try all the time. it’s like my mind won’t let me rest. btw –possible trigger alert–i know a young girl who is currently being treated for anorexia. she’s a gymnast and just thought she was eating healthy. she’s in a treatment center and isn’t doing well–her first time ever being away from home without family. any tips i can give her or how to help be there for her? i want to say the right thing and do whatever i can. she is actually losing weight and they’re worried she needs a feeding tube soon. thank you.

  • http://meetat-thebarre.com/ Amanda Elizabeth

    I took a meditation class in Grad school and it was such an interesting experience for me. I don’t think I have been really fully able to get to that level but at least being able to stop and clear my mind was a great takeaway from it!

  • Biruté Eva Sim

    My goal is to start meditating too :) Thanks for sharing your experience and the references.

    http://golovelife.blosgspot.com

  • http://www.audielou.com Audrey

    Oh man, I miss the days of meditation. I took a yoga class when I was in India and it helped me cope with the stress of culture shock. I also practiced yoga A LOT when I was planning our wedding. It’s definitely something I’d like to get back into! I’m glad you’re finding some peace with your practices!!

  • http://aladygoeswest.com/ Ashley @ A Lady Goes West

    Hi Carissa! I NEVER mediate, but I know I would get a lot out of it if I took the time. Thank you for the inspiration! :)

  • http://mwaonline.blogspot.com Mwa

    I started on a Mindfulness course, and it totally changed my life. Forever. Completely. For a start, it cured me of most of my illnesses. I don’t practise enough – I really should – but the mindset stays, even when you don’t. Hurray for you!

  • http://alyssawithana.blogspot.com/ Alyssa Guttendorf

    This is so interesting… I have been intrigued by the idea of meditation for a while now (especially from doing yoga/shavasana), but I struggle with how I would implement it into my daily routine. Do you find that middle of the day is the best time for you to meditate? Also (the big question here haha), do you have any tips on “clearing your mind,” so to speak?

  • http://www.businesslifeanddesign.com/ Jenn @ Business, Life & Design

    I always thought meditation was spiritual, foofy stuff, and I wasn’t terribly interested, but I finally tried it (because another blogger recommended it, of course!) and I found some definite benefits. I like doing it before bed, because the calmer my mind is, the easier it is to drift off to sleep, and it’s really relaxing, too. But I’m not great with discipline when I’m tired, so it gets skipped more often than I would like. I think the mindfulness aspect is the most useful throughout the day. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I tell myself not to focus on anything except this moment, and what’s going on right now, and then it doesn’t seem as big and scary.

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    Ah man, I’m so sorry about your friend. The best thing you can do is just be there and let her know you have support. As much as it sucks, there isn’t much good in telling her what she’s doing is wrong, I’m sure she already knows. Hopefully the treatment center will provide the help she needs. I’m glad she’s getting help. I know for me, my eating disorder had such a way of making me feel all alone, and it has really helped to just have widened my group of support. I know most people don’t understand completely what I’m going through, but I know that people care about my well-being and that does wonders-especially when the disease is constantly telling you that you aren’t good enough and you aren’t loved. Hugs.

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    I’m by no means an expert. I think even just taking 30 minutes out of my day when I’m not doing anything is really helping.

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    Good! You should definitely give it a shot! It’s helping me a lot!

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    You should get back into it! For so long I thought it was hokey but it really does help with stress!

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    Ah thanks Ashley! You should give it a shot!

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    You should do it again! And good because I don’t keep up with anything for long. But I would like to TRY with this.

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    Hmm for me the middle of the day is really the only time I have. I work at 430 am and there is no way I’m getting up earlier than I need to. As far as clearing your mind goes, I’ve had pretty good success with guided meditations that either focus on your breathing or focus on the sounds around you. You mind is going to wonder no matter what, the key is to just recognize that it wondered, and gently go back to focusing on breathing. Sometimes I count to ten, placing the number at the beginning of the breath and that keeps me focused. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    It definitely helps with mindfulness, that’s the main reason I started! I’ve found myself being able to focus better, or at least noticing when I’m not.

  • http://realtalkwithkb.typepad.com/blog/ Kathy@RealTalk

    i don’t meditate but my dad used to…..although no one really knew because he was retired and meditated during the day while everyone else was at work or school. he would do it in the shavasana position and one day i came home early from school, went upstairs, saw him lying on the floor and i freaked the hell out. i rushed over to him shouting ,screaming and crying with the phone in my hand dialling 911 because i thought he was dead or having a heart attack or stroke.

    i have thought about mediation but not sure if i could have enough time to myself to actually do it (family, kid etc).

  • http://www.thenewwifestyle.com/ chelsea @ the new wifestyle

    this is great! i’m totally in the same boat as you with meditation being new to me. i started it back in august and i have found that if i get even just minutes or seconds of calmness in my mind, it’s worth it. glad you’ve found it so helpful!

  • http://www.leadingedgeadvocate.com/ Lea

    Ha! We have that in common. Before I couldn’t see myself meditating but now not only am I doing it, I’m suggesting it to my friend lol.

    I started it because I was just to the point where I needed something to work and figured I’d give it a try since many people I know swear by it.

    It really helps me clear my mind, especially after a rough day or having to deal with a lot of negativity. I only wish I started doing it sooner. I find that it also has helped with my focus.

    Lately, I haven’t been doing it as much as I should but you’ve reminded me that I should get back into it. :-)

    ~Lea

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    It really does work to help focus and stress! And you should get back into it if you know it works for you! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    Oh nice! I’m glad it’s working for you too! I need to keep it up! When do you usually meditate? I’m so curious about what other people do because I feel like I’m totally winging it.

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    I totally get the time thing. That was why I put it off for so long, but I finally decided to make the time. I started with 10 minutes per session and when I have the time I do 20 or 30. Even 5 minutes makes a difference though! That’s so funny about your dad. I would have freaked out too!

  • Kersten @fitandtasty180.com

    That’s great that you are doing this! Meditation is something I’ve been failing big time. I tried it for couple months, even went to couple of meetups but it was so dang hard for me to empty my head. I know it takes patience though. You’re awesome!

  • http://sponsoredbycoffee.com/ Connie

    I absolutely love this post. I’ve tried to meditate, but it’s so hard. I started about two weeks ago, but every time I tell my husband that I’m going to the basement to do so, he always ends up making so much noise that I can’t concentrate. I know I should probably start doing it outside in nature now that the weather has finally warmed up.

    Connie | Sponsored by Coffee | Bloglovin’

  • http://www.champagneforeveryday.com/ Jill @ Champagne for Everyday

    Great post girly!! I have actually been doing Transcendental Meditation since I was 6. Not sure if you are familiar with it, but you’re taught the technique as well as given a personalized mantra by a teacher (it’s the technique the Beatles used, as well a lot of celebs). What I like about it, is that it’s okay for thoughts to pop into your head, but you use a mantra not as a word you “say” to yourself, but as a sort of sound-vibration you half think/say to center yourself when your mind runs away. They’ve done a lot of studies on it, and the impact on brain waves which is really cool! I think any meditation routine you can stick to is super worthwhile. I will have to write about my experience with TM sometime!!

    xx Jill

    Latest Post: How to Wear Crazy Leggings – From the Gym to the Street!

  • http://www.kati-rose.com/ Kati Rose

    I’ve recently gotten really into meditation and try to do 5-10 minutes of it a day. I’ve already noticed a HUGE difference in my overall mood and stress level. I’m at the stage where I love doing research on it, want to try a meditation center, and am making the perfect meditation space in my place. This post came in perfect. I’m also glad I know now of a resource that I can ask questions to!

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    It’s hard for me to clear my head too, I think it’s hard for anyone! I think the key is just recognizing your thoughts and being ok with your mind wondering? I don’t really know haha

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    I totally get the distraction thing. Yesterday there was a lot of yard work going on outside which made my dogs go crazy which made me crazy. Outside is always better!

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    Thanks Jill! I don’t’ know much about Trancendental meditation but now I want to learn more! I like the idea as using a mantra as an anchor and I hope you do write about your experience. Now I’m intrigued.

  • http://www.carissajaded.com Carissa

    Yay! I’m glad its helping you. I still haven’t found the perfect spot in my home, I’ve been trying to do it outside whenever I can. Interested in keeping up with your progress!

  • http://www.thenewwifestyle.com/ chelsea @ the new wifestyle

    i’m always curious too! i try to do it first thing when i wake up in the morning after i take my dog on a walk! i know you get up super early so that would be nuts but it seems to be going well!