Meditation... Easier Than You Probably Realize. And Cheaper.

Little known fact about me: I pray every day. Usually before I fall asleep, while lying in bed. And it pretty much consists of me lying on my back with my eyes closed, appearing to be sleeping... Silently making requests of the Universe/God.

Some people have told me "prayer" is like "meditation." For me, that is incorrect. And I very much have wanted to add meditation to my daily routine.

I've also had people tell me that meditation is about "quieting your mind" and "thinking of nothing." I have also found this to be incorrect. As it is freaking impossible to "think of nothing." 

The best form of meditation I had found, for me, to this point was my hot yoga class. (Yes, I now call it "hot yoga." I refuse to call it the other thing.) Thoughts come into your mind, sure. But they exit just as quickly as they entered because the heat and the torture of holding the posture forces you to move on mentally from anything bothering you. It is wonderful and therapeutic.

But still, I envied - badly - those people who could sit still and truly meditate. Emptying their minds for 20-30 minutes at a time? How incredible! How wonderful for their spirit! How jealous am I?

I was at one point so desperate to learn to properly meditate, I even attended a Transcendental Meditation information session in Toronto. While I didn't find the TM crowd to be "cult like" as some others call it, I did find the teachers available to teach it in the area completely lackluster and flaky. None of them that I met at the sessions seemed like they truly had a grasp on how to explain meditation. And when they would tell me, "I have to show you in private or group sessions. And for us to teach you, you have to pay $1500," I laughed.

Oh how I laughed. And laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

I had given up on properly trying to figure out how to meditate, despite downloading numerous apps and even buying a CD at Whole Foods.

"I'm such a phony!" I said to myself. "I will never have a peaceful mind or collect the rewards from daily meditation. I can't sit still!"

But a few weeks ago I came across an article online that confirmed my own findings on meditation and how difficult it seems. It pointed out, however, that all it requires to be successful at is being in a comfortable position...

Allowing your body to relax, as well as your mind... And letting any thoughts that come in and try to consume space, shove them out. Let them come in, acknowledge them, and then let them pass on through. Become aware of what is going on inside you.

Music, white noise or nature sounds do provide a continuous background that let's you focus on breathing and passing of thoughts. So I would recommend downloading a white noise app, as there are tons of them and they are free. As are a few meditation apps.

The important thing for meditation, I have learned, is to not hold on to thoughts. Even if it's just for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 90 minutes... Letting thoughts pass through and not clutching them to you mentally does a world of good for you. And that's all it takes to meditate. For me, anyway.