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  • Writer's pictureDarcie Long

Why Your Meditation Hasn't Been Working

Let's start with meditation... by demystifying it. Often, beginners have difficulty finding effective results in meditation because they don't understand what they're meant to be doing and so they don't continue. While it may seem so, it's not complicated. It's actually the easiest thing in the world to do; You're doing nothing. What's so hard is that we're not used to just being. The way to move through that learning curve is to find ways to guide yourself into the mindset of an effective meditator. Here are five of the best tools to use in beginning your meditation:

+ Maybe the best and easiest way to begin meditation is by listening to a guided meditation. That way whenever your mind starts to wander, you can simply pay attention to the voice again. The voice is walking you through the meditation. At the end of the guided meditation you can sit in silence for 5 or 10 minutes to get a taste of a quiet self-driven meditation.

+ Awareness of the sounds around you can help. In other words, it doesn't have to be completely quiet, you can simply pay attention to the sound of the AC or the hissing heat or the trucks outside. It is all paying attention to the now.

+ Awareness of your breath: listen to your inhalation... exhalation... inhale... exhale...

+ Paying attention to your body and how it is feeling will help you bring your awareness to the moment. Is your body feeling cold or warm? Tired? Sore? Or is it feeling at ease? Just notice.

+ Listening to meditation music can help you let go of thoughts. Music helps you to let thoughts pass through, not to dwell on them for too long the way you would in every day life.

Any of these things are helpful to use in training your mind. You can use just one or use them all interchangeably as they seem helpful.

I recommend finding a guided meditation and listening to that while sitting comfortably or lying on the floor.

Your mind will wander to remembering things, planning things, feeling discomfort. These are all perfectly fine and normal states of your mind.

When you notice that your mind is planning or remembering or feeling uncomfortable that is your cue to come back to the voice of the guided meditation or to the sound of your breath.

Each meditation session will be different in your ability to let go of thoughts, sometimes easier sometimes harder. That's ok, just continue to notice what is happening and you will be meditating.

Another helpful way to handle an arising thought is to imagine that thought on a cloud and imagine it drifting by slowly like the clouds in the sky. And you know how there are more clouds that come into your field of vision after that cloud drifts by? And then they are drifting by too? Well that is what you can do with those thoughts that keep coming up as you sit or lay in meditation . Such a peaceful thought!

Paying attention to just what is happening to you right now is the practice of meditation. This is the process that will allow you to tame your always thinking mind. It is not complicated but it takes practice.

Use a timer of some kind so that you can be reminded when your time is up. You don't want to be looking at the clock or your phone while you are meditating. I use an app called Insight Timer which you can set to have nice meditation bells to begin and to end your meditation. If you are listening to a guided meditation then you will have an end point already.

People feel relaxed right after meditating but that calm feeling wears off quickly when the rest of life comes at you. If you meditate almost every day for two or three months you will notice a more consistent effect. You might notice that you are not as bothered by things that used to annoy you or throw you into anxiety. Pay attention to your emotional reactions and you'll be surprised.

"Pay full attention to what you are doing. When the mind wanders from what you are doing, bring it back. Repeat this step several billion times."

from Breath by Breath by Larry Rosenberg

Click to go to guided meditation

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