When I started meditating I had the idea that I was going to clear my head, sit still and just become completely empty. Because meditating means sitting quietly, like a monk with a bald head and an orange dress, right?
That was my 'image' of meditation. So I started with a prejudice, an image, an interpretation. Do you know that? That you start something new and already have a picture in mind of how it will all go. You have, as it were, put together an entire film set with actors who show you how it works.
And then you sit there, on a cushion, with a guided meditation on your head. I follow all the guidance and find out that things are very different, my thoughts don't stop... I follow the guidance carefully and after the first session I am completely confused...
Can't clear my head? Can't stop my thoughts? How should that be done now?
Meditation is not about ' emptying ...'. No, it's about 'noticing that'. Noticing that your mind is wandering, noticing that you're distracted, noticing that your attention is somewhere other than the conversation I'm currently having with my best friend... "Sorry, what did you say?"
But if it's meditation, mindfulness in this case, so basically just 'noticing that...', then I can do that anywhere, right? Then I don't have to sit on a cushion in dead silence, do I? Besides, I don't have time for that at all! I have many more things to do than sit on a cushion for half an hour in my purple dress (I don't have orange).
That's right! Over the past few years I have been concerned with how you can learn to meditate without meditating. Do you understand?
Let me explain:
Meditation is training your attention!
That's it! Without judgment, without frustration, just notice what is happening and return to the moment. Experiencing something consciously, experiencing something REALLY. Because what a shame is it if you miss the beautiful moments in life? Or you're not paying attention during that conversation with your best friend because you see someone next to you eating a delicious piece of cake and you wonder if it's vegan.
Sorry, one more time, what did you just say?
It's that simple. And that's what we want: simple AND applicable in YOUR life, in YOUR way. Because everyone is different, right?
Ok here is my assignment for you:
Do something you do every day, something you normally do on autopilot, now with your full attention.
To make coffee. Become aware of all actions, the smell, the sound, the warmth of the cup in your hand when you pick it up, the smell when you hold the cup under your nose, the first sip, the warm liquid that flows into your body . And so on.
Or maybe you drink tea in the morning. Or milk or whatever. The idea is that your attention stays on this moment. Instead of thinking about what's waiting for you at work, the laundry you still have to do, grabbing a quick bite to eat before you have to leave or thinking about what you actually want to eat tonight, keep your attention in this moment.
You can of course also choose something else, such as brushing your teeth (feel your brush on your teeth, the taste, the smell, the movement) or washing the dishes (feel the warm water, the smell, the things sliding through your hands) or maybe you walk to work and focus on the walk. Maybe you will do today's yoga class very consciously and move completely in the moment!
The goal here is to let you experience that not all of us can sit down and meditate like a monk for hours to experience the benefits of meditation. The benefits occur as soon as you live more consciously, do things more consciously and do the things that you always take for granted on autopilot with your full attention.
Allright, have fun!