This week I want you to focus on making your mind quiet with concentration exercises and meditation.
Being in a meditative state and practicing concentration in this way opens you up by shutting your mind off, and actually makes you more mindful and in the moment.
By developing the practice of quieting the mind you get a chance to switch off and a chance to get to know yourself better. Some people might find this scary, but its actually a good thing. Concentration practices and meditation is going to give you better insight into what makes you happy, sad, anxious, scared, angry, enlightened, and a whole host of other feelings across the spectrum.
By replacing lack of concentration with mindfulness and meditation you are gaining space. This is the space between you and the world. This space also allows room for your inner world to unfold and open up more. This gives you more room and more space to let you in and get to know your most inner desires more intimately.
Start by creating an alarm on your phone in the afternoon with a reminder to check in with yourself, how are you feeling? And as a reminder to pause, even briefly, to breathe deeply for a second, and say thank you for what you have and where you are in that exact moment. This is the easiest step to take because you are literally relying on someone else (you phone) to remind you to take a second to concentrate on your breath, surroundings, and yourself.
Level this up by using a trigger as a reminder to practice concentration and meditation.
This is a more difficult habit to build, especially because you have to remember what the trigger is and what you’re suppose to do in the first place. But there is a way to move forward. Try leaving yourself a sticky note that says “concentrate” or “meditate on this” and put that sticky note on something that you grab for multiple times a day. I like to put trigger notes on my coffee or tea mug, water bottle, and pen case or journal. This will give you the opportunity to develop concentration and meditation in practice. Each time you grab for whatever your trigger item or action is, take a moment to check in and practice this new habit.
When I use this trigger method for reminding myself to meditate or concentrate, I like to put this sticky note reminder on my water bottle or mug. I write “meditate on this…” on the note and each time I grab for my drink I have a mini meditation and concentration session.
It’s super easy, I promise.
I just close my eyes and focus on the feeling of the vessel in my hand, is it cold… hot… slick like ceramic… or textured like steel? Then I inhale what ever it is that I’m drinking and focus on the aroma and how it makes me feel. As I take a sip, I let the liquid wash over the different areas of my tongue and focus on its taste. I take a second drink and concentrate on how it feels as it travels down my throat. At this point I usually sigh in happiness. Then I open my eyes and look at my drink and meditate on it for a moment, where did it come from? How did it get to my hands? Am I drinking this because I want to or because I feel like I have to?
After this brief concentration practice and mini meditation, I go back about my day again. The whole process takes as long as it takes me to take two drinks from my mug. A microsecond of the entire day. A mini moment that is reserved just for me, that I get the chance to repeat every time I grab for my trigger, in this case, my water bottle or mug.
In my personal experience I have found that it was really easy to start concentration practices and meditation with a trigger like this. The difficult part was peeling myself away from work sometimes to take literally a minute and a half to myself to practice meditating on my drink.
things to remember…
- Drop what you’re doing.
- Tune into how it feels.
Building new habits, especially concentration practices and meditation habits are not always easy, but you have a choice and have taken the first step by clicking on this Weekly Spirituality Tip.
By developing my concentration practices and meditation practice, I have found that I feel less stressed. I’ve been able to disrupt my anxiety and the busyness of the day, by interrupting the grind with moment of mindfulness and pause. Although these moment are brief, sometimes on lasting :30 seconds, I have found that they can pay back to you a trillion fold. These moments are even paying it forward to others, because they make you calmer than you would have been if you’d been grinding the ax all day at work.
By stopping the practice of NOT stopping and practicing pausing for these mini moments of mindfulness, I feel like a better version of myself. I feel like the version of my self that I want to project. I feel like my ideal self. And when I don’t take time for these mini moments of concentration and meditation, I am a different more tightly wound person. My Anxiety and O.C.D. often flair up, and some days, the Depression seeps in.