The thing about having a dream, or even just setting a big goal, is that it can stop you in your tracks. You freeze. I’ll show you how practice is the key.
“I don’t know if I could ever do that!”
“That just seems unrealistic. How am I ever going to start?”
A voice that you hear finds every possible doubt that lingers in the energy of your thoughts, (and that’s all that your thoughts are, after all).
The result is that you stay motionless. Motivation deserts you as you look across the dream chasm, unable to move.
“I’ll never manage that. I just don’t have the talent.”
We give ourselves plenty of justification as to why that particular goal or vision is too unattainable and how we should just stay where we are. It’s often because our psyche seeks safety and comfort it prefers staying put and not moving at all.
“I can’t really change this relationship, I should just stay where I am.”
But beware of the shoulds. Mike Dooley often talks about the ‘cursed hows’. Well I’m talking about the ‘loathsome shoulds’.
There is a really good way to tackle them and to move from inaction to action. To render the ‘loathsome shoulds’ impotent.
Through doing the practice.
Doing the practice is making the small steps without worrying about the big G-O-A-L.
Put your helmet on and start doing the thing that will begin to shape the dream. It’s not the final dream vision itself, but the fuel that will run the engine to get there.
If it’s writing, then write; building a website, then start working with code,;meditating then start sitting and following your breath.
I always tell people who I work with that when you practice you are not on stage, therefore practice isn’t the performance. You don’t have to look good and you don’t have to impress anyone or gain approval.
You are practicing, pure and simple.
Work out the kinks, find your voice, play with the line and see where it takes you.
Doing the practice builds your discipline and gives you a path. Don’t look for the top of the mountain yet. Watch your feet and find the footholds in front of you.
This isn’t being busy for busy’s sake, or spinning your wheels to give you the illusion that you are working. This is building a habit of practice that will carry you almost unnoticeably forward with a quiet certainty.
Each day moving. Each day doing the practice.
Not More Hacks!
I don’t really care for hacks. All that short-cut, time-saving ideology.
I don’t want to short change my experience just so that I can cram more into an hour. Run faster, get more done, be busier.
Enough of doing more.
But on this occasion I’m hacking how to meditate so that more people can use it and get over their fear of it.
I’m specifically hacking ‘meditating properly’ because it came up for one of my clients. It came up so much that it had hampered his own meditation process. He felt that he should be meditating properly to feel okay about who he was, to feel approval for how it’s going.
So this hack is going to help you see through this. Because, you’ll be pleased to know, there is no ‘meditating properly’. There are meditation techniques and there are the results of meditation and that’s it. The important one is the second one, the results. The benefits and the gains. The how to meditate techniques are just to get you there.
in Osho’s Book of Secrets there are 112 meditation techniques and he asks that if you want to learn how to meditate you just pick one that you fancy and then try it for 3 months. Just pick one. it’s not important. All that is important is whether or not it works for you.
So choose Transcendental Meditation, choose mantra meditation, choose yoga, choose mindfulness, choose breath observation, choose body scan, choose sitting, walking, lying, standing. Choose active meditation, choose sound.
You see. the meditation technique is just a tool to get to see through the illusion. Your thoughts are not real.
How to Meditate
When you meditate you begin to see, you become aware. When you meditate you are breaking the train of everyday thoughts. The thought spiral. Meditation is breaking the train of everyday thought and letting go of impulsive thinking.
You let go and awareness enters. You break the train of thought and you see the space. You feel present. You react less and respond more.
This is the goal. The body and mind are resting. They are not doing, doing, doing. You are not lost in thought exhausted.
The brain burns so much energy to keep thinking. We run it ragged just chasing our tails with our thoughts of approval and judgement.
What to do instead
How you get there makes no difference. As long as you aren’t hurting others then take your pick. But not meditating and watching TV. The inaction as you sit is vital to the meditation process. The still space lets that awareness bubble up and the thought spiral is revealed.
So, when you are learning how to meditate don’t worry whether you are meditating properly. That is just more thinking to take you away from your presence. Instead choose a technique that suits. That is the hack. Aim for a break in everyday thinking and allow your awareness to swell within you.
If you want more help get in touch or check out my coaching programme.
Many people come to me for ways to use meditation to help them with relaxation.
Stress and anxiety are huge realities for a number of them and seeking a way to relax is an understandable aim. Usually I give some starting techniques to introduce calm.
Soon after I will begin to develop these and suggest ways to deepen their meditation practice. There is an enormous power available through meditation and I have always believed that relaxation is only a single starting response. However, as I have deepened my reflection on this I think that relaxation can actually benefit us in ways that aren’t usually considered. The effect is actually similar to that of a meditation session.
This might seem obvious but it is possible to achieve some of the benefits of a structured meditation session by simply relaxing properly.
This doesn’t even have to be relaxing in the typical way although that is fine as well.
The key, in fact, the secret to this relaxation process is to allow the mind to quiet and for your thought processes to slow down.
Once you can get into a state where your inner dialogue doesn’t hold you in its grip, you will actually start to feel fairly content and upbeat. This is true relaxing. Not fighting, not struggling but developing an acceptance about the way things are.
You get into the place where you are allowing yourself to enjoy life as it occurs. In the moment, you are aware and not seeking something else. It sounds a lot like a meditative state but you can achieve it by just allowing yourself to really relax.
You might find that you can relax whilst working hard on something, or playing with your kids, or even watching a movie. The point is that you take an intentional break from worry and judgement.
Think about the things that you like to do that absorb you and that you find relaxing and find more ways to bring these into your weeks and into your days. It doesn’t matter how long you get to do this, any full relaxation is better than none and will benefit you as you build on it.
Keep choosing to do some relaxing things and don’t think about what others think or about what you should be doing. Pretty soon you notice that you are not so bothered by the need for approval and are more interested in enjoying what is going on for you now.
If you are finding it difficult to find time for meditation then you are not alone, often it is a struggle to find space for any kind of meditation in your life. Like all things, it is only once you establish an action as a habit that it starts to feel vital to your day. These ideas can help you cut down the distractions that pull you way from your time to just sit and be.
Turn off the computer, email, social sites, and funny cat videos. It is amazing how tempting this technology is and how much it distracts us. Please wait until you’ve read the whole of this article though
2. Turn off the television
Another of the great time killers. You can always catch up on that episode of ‘Elephants That Ski’ but if you miss your meditation session, it’s gone. This is a great way to begin to learn about becoming aware of what you do with your time, moment to moment.
3. Get a timer
Okay, I’m not saying we get so obsessed about time here, it’s just that when you raise your awareness of how you are spending time it opens up vastly in front of you. Using a timer is a great way to establish a committed meditation practice. Get a timer, set it. Sit. 5-10 minutes. It’s enough.