Before I started a regular meditation practice, I used to think that meditating meant sitting for a half hour every day, which seemed to me like a weird concept to grasp. I knew I needed to start, just wasn’t sure how. So a couple years back I downloaded an app that offered 10 days for 10 minutes. I thought, man, I can totally do that!
I remember sitting out back in the summer putting my phone on do not disturb. it was a guided meditation but it was still awkward and uncomfortable. To sit completely still and not do ANYTHING except breathe. Weird. I kept telling myself I GOT THIS!
I stuck with it for about a year. I purchased the year subscription, which was $5 a month, because I thought if I pay for it, I will definitely stick with it. As the year went on, I noticed that I was disinterested in the guided chatter and wanted to try to just sit. Just for a couple of minutes a day.
Allison Sobel leads our monthly Intro To Meditation workshops at Sol. She says the magic number is 7. 7 minutes a day. That’s it! The more I sat and committed to a daily meditation practice, I realized I looked forward to that time every day. It was getting easier! I was sleeping better. I felt like I had more hours in the day. I will say too that I definitely feel a difference on days that I don’t meditate. I feel heavy and tense in my body, and way more reactive to the littlest of things.
I guess what was eye opening was spending 9 days in Costa Rica with very little cell service. No emails or social media to be bombarded with. I wasn’t stimulated every second with worldly news, the latest blurb on facebook or what’s trending on twitter. I was away from it all and realized how much it changed my entire being for the better. As a society, we are overstimulated and too busy. We’re bombarded with negativity from all angles, whether it’s social media, the news or people in our lives that feed off of gossip. It’s everywhere!
Meditation is our chance to just sit, breathe and disconnect. The only thing that I can say is that it works. If you put in the effort, the reward is huge. Check out this story that happened to me recently and how I realized just that!
I had my family over for my mom’s birthday around the holidays. I have a big Italian family so there were a bunch of us. My husband and I just purchased new furniture and had the whole first floor painted. We had a candle lit on our new ottoman, which probably wasn’t the best idea with the kiddos running around. My niece is 10 and loves yoga and gymnastics. She comes into the room all excited to show me her latest backbend. As she literally starts to dive into it, her hand goes RIGHT IN TO THE LIT CANDLE! No joke!
The candle goes out. Her fingertips up to her elbow were covered in green wax! We’re all kind of stunned by it. I looked at her and the first thing I said very calmly was “Are you ok?” She shook her head yes, obviously upset. She too was shocked by what just happened. There is green wax everywhere, all over the new ottoman, the floor, the freshly painted walls… Everywhere. I calmly got up, took a deep breath and said out loud, “It could have been worse. She could’ve gotten hurt or it could’ve been a fire.” I was really relaxed.
My whole family was stunned at MY reaction. Now I have to admit, a couple of years ago I would have lost my shit in that exact scenario. I would have hung on to that story telling everyone and anyone I could about it over and over again.
It didn’t even phase me what had just happened. The reality of it is is that it is all just stuff. What’s important is she wasn’t hurt and there was no fire! What I realized from that experience was my reaction was pretty awesome. I was shocked at how calm I was. That’s the meditation. All the days of sitting for 7 minutes in silence, whether I could shut it down or not, is where the work pays off.
I hope I can inspire you to at least try. We all need meditation in today’s chaotic world. Maybe 7 minutes is too much to start. I get it, totally cool. So start with 2 minutes and build up. Maybe add a minute every couple of days and see how you do. The main thing is to just start. Set time aside each day to just sit and be still. Whether it is first thing in the morning, on your lunch break or after work, just do it. I promise you the rewards are huge if you commit! It has changed my life and I want you to reap the benefits too! Please feel free to share your stories as your meditation practice starts to unfold!