Welcome to Day 9 of 21 days of mindfulness with Leonie Percy author of the award winning book Mother Om.
Over the past few days you have learnt how to manage stress and how to release stress by relaxing your body and mind. Today you will learn what meditation does for your mind, what to expect in meditation, how to find the right one for you and how to create space in your life to meditate as a busy mum.
The best analogy I have come across about what meditation does for our minds is from Dr Christopher Willard’s book Child’s Mind. Imagine a blackboard or whiteboard.
At the end of the day the board is quickly wiped but marks remain from what has been written and drawn there. But when the board gets cleaned properly with a cloth, all the marks are completely gone and the board is clean.
This process can also apply to your busy mind. Removing all the fragments of your daily thoughts cleans your mind to give you a fresh, clean board each day to work with.
Meditation helps you to understand and observe your thoughts.
You can choose if you want to indulge in your thought patterns – if you have a negative thought, you can simply just acknowledge it and think of something else.
Like clouds in a sky, thoughts come and go. They are temporary.
Choosing a meditation style
There are different types and styles of meditation.
What may seem easy for some people will be more challenging for others.
Just as you may respond better to sounds rather than images, you may prefer a similar meditation technique. For some, listening to healing music allows the mind to become calm; others will prefer to focus on something visual, like a candle.
What to expect in meditation
As you progress further along this path, you can start to focus on the silence between sounds or the space in between your thoughts.
You can practise meditation sitting on a cushion or lying down. You can close your eyes and focus on all the sounds around you.
You can do a walking meditation, go for a run, surf, listen to music, dance, stomp, shake; do whatever helps clear your mind.Using a mantra is very helpful for calming the mind.
A mantra is a word sentence or sound that is used to aid concentration in meditation.
For mums it is great practise because when you feel challenged it allows you to take a moment to let the feelings pass and brings you back into the present moment so you remain calm. The below mala mead meditation will be a guided meditation released on day 18.
Your mind will wander.
It is made to think. The trick is to let go of expectations – just observe and accept whatever arises in your mind.
The average person has about 70,000 thoughts a day, so in a 10-minute meditation you might experience 486 thoughts.
Do not panic: this is normal. You can distract your mind by focusing on the breath, or you can silently repeat a mantra.
As you inhale, you can mentally breathe in peace, and as you exhale, you can breathe out calm. Or breathe in strength and breathe out negativity. Or simply focus on your belly: as your belly lifts, silently say “Rising”, and as it falls, silently say “Falling”.
Facing your thoughts by allowing your mind to settle can be a daunting experience; being bombarded with the story of your life can be overwhelming.
Training your mind can be like trying to train a puppy – the more you try to restrain it, the more it jumps all over the place. But you can put the puppy on a leash.
It will still try to run in many different directions, but with practice you can train your mind to ‘sit’, to find stillness.
Create a space
Set up a special place in your home for meditation.
Add a cushion, a yoga mat, some flowers and a candle. A cubby house is great for kids to relax in and have quiet time.
School-aged children will love doing this. For younger children, have a calm-down box and get them to put in things that make them feel still and good inside.
Put it in a place where they can take a moment to control their reactions and feelings. And when you feel yourself getting angry, you can go and sit in the corner with the calm-down box to set a good example.
This special place can be used for story time before bed and time for you to be present with each other as a family.
Make this your unplug and play area and an electronic free zone. Another wonderful way to be unplugged and present is in the bath.
Places to try meditation
- In your car – play calm music
- In a park – practice mindful seeing and listening
- On the bus or plane – close your eyes and do a guided mediation
- On your lunch break – eat mindfully
- With your legs up against a wall – practise deep belly breaths
- With your kids – hugs and kisses.
- With your partner – sacred intimacy
Tomorrow I will teach you how to practise mindfulness using your senses.
- Mindful seeing
- Mindful listening
- Mindful tasting
- Mindful smelling
- Mindful sensation
- Mindful thinking
Thanks for reading this article. I would love to know if you are enjoying the videos and articles.
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