By Lauren Golen
I have meditated and I have, even at times, maintained my practice for a few weeks consistently. But, overall, I have also spent many weeks and months not practicing at all. I’ve learned many techniques and even attended a few retreats where I learned a specific technique of meditation. I would go home with every intention to practice this form every day for the rest of my life. It didn’t happen.
However, over the years, I’ve practiced and stopped practicing and learned different techniques, I’ve learned to allow myself different techniques that work at different times and to be easy on myself, understanding that sometimes just a few breaths for a few minutes is better than nothing at all. The idea is that I desire the practice and I do understand from practice that it is something I will continue to do for the rest of my life…
Here are 5 things to try that can help you learn to practice meditation and relaxation:
1. Go on Youtube and search “guided meditations.” You can use specific words, as well. For instance, if you could use some help falling asleep, search guided meditations for sleep. If you are feeling anxious, search for that, and so on. There are endless people that have created videos from as short as a few minutes up to an hour or more that guide you on a meditation with words, visuals, music and sounds. You could easily find one for every day.
2. Breathing. Keep it simple. Inhale and exhale for the count of 50 breaths. Commit to a count and when your mind begins to think about other things, go back to focusing on the breathing and counting the breaths.
3. Set a timer and scan your body, each part from the toes to the top of the head. Having a timer helps to alleviate anxiety over time, so you know there is a beginning and an end time that you will be alerted of. This allows you the freedom to relax deeper and only focus on scanning your body. This is a great technique to train attention and mindfulness. You can go from focusing on bigger parts of the body such as the leg to then focusing on the pinky toe on the left foot to the left nostril. As soon as you catch your mind wandering to something other than scanning the body, simply bring your mind back to scanning the body.
4. Do some coloring. Yes, coloring in a coloring book can be very meditative. This is my favorite one. My mother recently sent me a coloring book in the mail. I opened it up and it included coloring pencils as well. I had been looking for a new job and was feeling a bit anxious and worried about the interviews I had coming up. A few days later, I sat down on the floor with my coloring book and began coloring. Before I knew it, almost an hour had gone by and I found myself relaxed and focused primarily on the book. Who knew? Actually, there are some great coloring books out there now with inspirational messages, so when you are complete with your drawing, you can even hang it on your fridge to inspire you every day. Just stop into your local bookstore or search online for ‘inspirational/spiritual coloring books” and you will see.
5. Keep it simple and make it about you. You may try things that you just don’t like where it doesn’t even help you relax. Try as many things as you can and just do the ones that feel good for you. Don’t worry about how it’s supposed to be done… you will know when you feel relaxed and good and peaceful.
So these are just five great tips that I use to inspire my meditation. They make it easy and simple and do-able and if you also have found meditating difficult… give them a try!
Editor’s Note: For detailed information and practice methods fro doing Daoist Meditation and cultivating your Internal Elixir (life force energy), have a look at the book Internal Elixir Cultivation: The Nature of Daoist Meditation.