Being mindful of my meditation practice:
I don’t know about you, but I have a monkey mind and it drives me crazy.
Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, it chatters to me non-stop. Like a restless monkey jumping from branch to branch, my thoughts constantly swing from this to that, refusing to give me a moment’s peace.
I’ve been trying to tame this wayward creature for many, many years, and I’ve finally found something that is really helping.
The idea of meditation has always appealed to me, encouraged by countless stories of how this wonderful (and free!) tool has changed lives, and how it can help ease stress and anxiety.
I’ve tried it so many times, and have given up as my monkey mind triumphed every single time.
Until I spent a couple of months in a yoga ashram in India.
Meditation was an integral part of our daily routine. Initially I struggled and my monkey mind fought for all it’s worth. But I persisted and practiced every single day.
Then I had a lightbulb moment.
I realised it doesn’t matter if my monkey mind makes an appearance. In fact, I think you’d have to be a Buddhist Monk living in a cave for decades, NOT to have any thoughts enter your mind while meditating!
I discovered that the key is be aware of when it starts to chatter. To not get angry or frustrated or give up in defeat. To gently, kindly, and lovingly bring attention back to the breath.
Even if my monkey mind is quiet for just 30 seconds of a 10 minute meditation, I still feel the benefit.
It all counts, honest.
I wholeheartedly believe my daily practice is doing me the world of good. In general, I feel a lot calmer, more centred and grounded, and because of this, feel I am able to cope with the ups and downs of my condition a lot better.
Now that meditation has finally become part of my daily ritual, I find that if I skip my practice for a day or two I really miss it. I notice the difference in how I handle stress: i.e. not very well!
I try to vary my practice using guided meditation CDs, walking meditation, or by simply focusing on my breath.
Every Monday, I join a few friends from around the world for a virtual group meditation session. There’s something really special about connecting with others through meditation, and it always feels more powerful in some way. I have a deep sense of gratitude for this experience and treasure our Monday Meditations.
With this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful of my meditation practice.