Simple Tricks To Make Meditation Fun by Sophie Dalton
Knowledge of the benefits of meditation is quickly spreading, but the actual practice remains aloof. Just another self-care chore that we know we “should get to.” The reigning perception is that to become a meditator one must be able to sit in a perfect lotus position and completely clear the mind, a task requiring hard work and practice. The unfortunate irony of this belief is that it undermines the goal of meditation: to relax into the Now (The Power of Now). If you approach meditation as something that must be done instead of a small shift that can make your day 10% Happier (10% Happier), then of course any meditation “goals” will be hard to stick to.
Here are a few simple tricks to allow your meditation practice to be fun and easy.
Make yourself comfortable
If the meditator is uncomfortable trying to force “meditating” position, they are missing the point. When beginning a meditation practice, it helps to clear as many distractions as possible, including physical discomfort. So sit using one pillow, ten pillows, or even lay down. Use relaxing sounds and smells either by being in nature, using essential oils, or nature soundtracks.
Don’t try to clear your mind
Sitting down to meditate hoping to totally clear the mind is like picking up a tennis racket for the first time and challenging one of the Williams Sisters. Remember again that the goal is to relax into the moment and enjoy life. As the inevitable thoughts and emotions arise, let the meditative objective be to acknowledge those thoughts and gently let them pass out of your mind. Loosening attachment to thoughts and emotions invites in the blissful understanding that we are not our thoughts, deeds, emotions, or history.
Give yourself an activity
Unless you are an alien, it is likely that you are currently experiencing a human problem. Whether it be jealousy, anger, discontentment, or frustration, your meditation can be sitting with that experience and attempting to see how it is a good thing; What might you be learning? What understanding might you be gaining? How can you take ownership of your feelings and separate yourself from this experience? Do not try to force any answers, just witness what you are feeling and open yourself up to the possibility that there is something to learn. Meditation is simply becoming aware of the Now. When we better understand our feelings the less they control our reactions, the more power we have in every moment.
There is no cheating in meditation. Again, the only goal is to practice being increasingly present in the moment instead of caught up thinking about the past or present or letting the present be ruled by thoughts and emotions. Do anything that makes meditating more enjoyable- Use apps, incense, essential oils, meditation classes, youtube videos, meditation pillows, mala beads, journal prompts. The meditation should be tailored precisely to the meditators’ needs.
Different breathing techniques, or “Pranayamas,” can be immensely helpful to focus and calm the brain, but can also seem strange and overwhelming at first. Begin by becoming aware of your breath. Try slowing the breath without holding it in at the top or bottom of the breath, breathing only through the nose. No judgement here, if your breath becomes arrhythmic or doesn’t want to slow, don’t worry, you’re meditating! Simply by noticing the breath, you are an exceptional meditator!
Make it active
Meditating becomes a great success whenever you can notice changes in your daily life. That is why meditation in action can be such a powerful tool- because you’re already taking it out into the world! Start by taking a habituated activity, like walking or eating, and make it more mindful. Give yourself 5 minutes to slow down and try to be fully present eating your sandwich. What is the texture, taste, smell, how does it feel to chew in your mouth and then as it hits your stomach. Slow down as you are walking up your driveway coming home from work. Feel what part of your foot hits first, feel the weight shift between each part of your foot and through your body as you move forward. Meditation is simply taking a mundane moment and turning it into a full sensory experience. It is in this way that we see that meditation is not a chore but a potential bliss ride of enjoyment.
The key to it all: Gratitude
The root of it all, of meditation and of life, is to turn around whatever problem we have and become grateful for it. When making a list of the good things in life, it is critical to include the current challenges being faced. The more we can see obstacles with appreciation, the easier they will be to navigate. Gratitude melts problems into sweet lessons, placed by the Universe to help us grow. It is easy to look back and see what we gained or why we had to face certain challenges, but becoming grateful for them in the present is the key to increase the peace in the individuals life.
Making meditation a joyful practice is imperative to letting it be more effective and longer lasting. Growing long beards and sitting in caves for months without food is certainly not accessible to the common citizen; Meditation is a marvellous tool that should be made the meditators own. No version nor style of meditation will be long-term effective if it is forced. Remember to make it your own and have fun! Life is meant to be enjoyed!
Want to hear more from Sophie? Check out her website here.