Meditation: What The Fluff Is It All About Anyway?
‘Have you tried meditation?’ is one of my first responses when people tell me they’ve been feeling like crap, or that they don’t like spending time on their own, or that they’re stressed out, or that they can’t switch their brain off, or that they’re anxious and overthink everything.
Some people respond with ‘I tried it for a week but then I didn’t carry on’ or ‘I keep meaning to but I don’t really know how’ or, my personal favourite: ‘I don’t have time for that!’
There are a few things YOU might be thinking right now too: you’ve either heard it before and rolled your eyes, and are doing everything in your might not to let those eyeballs go up again. You’re actively doing it on and off and not sure why or how it works or if you’re doing it right. Or you’re nodding your head along in delight because you’re also an advocate of meditation and it’s hot damn gone and changed your life, too.
Whichever one of those you relate to, I want to tell you now: meditation is effing gold.
It’s no surprise that it’s raved about by the greats of the world. It’s not a coincidence that the richest, happiest, most successful people on the planet have tapped into this little magic tool and refer to it on the daily.
Meditation isn’t for everyone, and neither does it *do* the same thing for everyone. So I want to share a few things about what meditation can be…
Meditation is a tool in which you can use to quieten your mind, so you can actually listen to yourself and what you want.
When you’re putting out your next steps to a panel of others for their judgements and opinions, meditation is a way of helping you to trust yourself and your own decisions.
Meditation is a way to tame the ‘can’t’ in your head and begin to see it as what it is: just thoughts. Helping you to bring back the power you have over those thoughts.
Meditation is a way of helping you observe your thoughts, as though they were clouds in the sky, rather than running off with the stories and what ifs, that often dictate your behaviour and entire life.
Meditation is a way for you to connect with yourself and realise that you are alive, in your body, that your heart is beating for you like magic, that you are a human being on planet Earth floating in space and it’s a fucking marvel that you’re here breathing in this air right now, and none of those things you’ve been stressing about really matter at all.
Meditation is a way of tuning into your very best ideas that you’re brewing deep within your subconscious mind. (You know how you have the best ideas that you ‘must remember’ right before you’re falling asleep? They’re the ideas meditation can help you conjure up on demand.)
Meditation can help you make decisions, know the answer, find that thing you’ve lost, know when something doesn’t feel right, conclude how to make the £5000 you want for your new car.
Meditation is 2 or 5 or 10 or 20 minutes to give your brain a flipping rest.
Meditation is the antidote to our crisis of being ON all of the time. Facebook notifications while you’re having your dinner, checking emails during your midnight wee, whatsapping your friends on your phone while watching a youtube video on the laptop on your knee with your latest Netflix binge watch playing on the TV in the background.
Meditation is our olive branch to connection, in a time where we can feel so very, very disconnected: to ourselves, to others, to the world.
Meditation can be whatever you need it to be, whatever you want it to be, and it will be a multitude of all of these things the more you become practiced at it.
When I first started meditation three years ago I squirmed, I was angry at myself for all the thoughts that popped in, I got frustrated and I actually cried a lot because I didn’t ‘get it’ or didn’t think I was ‘doing it right.’
But I persevered. And now it’s something I love and do every single morning. And for what was once a constant angry merge of beeps and yells and tyre screeches of a New York’s 52nd Street the week before Christmas in my head all of the time, my mind is now more like an ocean. It’s still full to the brim with fish, but they float past more often. Sharks still show up, and sometimes they bite, but I now know how to punch them in the nose until they swim away. Giant ships of cargo still roll in uninvited sometimes, blasting their almighty horn and dumping their unwanted goods, but when they do I know how to sift and sort through the mess, how to best communicate with the captain so it doesn’t happen again, and soon wave them on their way.
This doesn’t mean I’m floating around like a fairy on a cloud - though my Mum would beg to differ - because I still get shit done. In fact, I’m way more focused and productive now. But it just means I’m not so reactive to every little thing. That I don’t let every intrusion, email, comment, remark, opinion, perceived opinion bubble up inside of me like a chemical reaction until I explode. They just kind of, bob off, swim past, float in as quickly as they float out. And if one gets stuck in the net, I might take it out and have a look at it, and work out if I want to eat it, or let it free.
So, think you can give meditation a try for 10 minutes in order to access even the slightest ounce of any of that?
Great. Here are some brilliant ways I’ve found to get started:
This fabulous app was the first I used to start easing into meditation. It starts you off with a free 10-day trial so you can get used to it, and the process and benefits of meditation are all explained in an easy to follow way, too.
2. Mindfulness Classes
I once tried out a mindfulness meditation class which was really great, the instructor was there to ask questions and to guide us through. She was the person that helped me ‘stop beating myself’ if I didn’t quite ‘get’ it straight away. There are plenty of classes like these around!
Yoga is something that a few years ago I would go along to and say ‘I don’t get it!…’ But now I’m such an advocate for yoga! It’s a form of meditation which I absolutely LOVE because while you’re moving your body, I really do feel that yoga is mostly for the mind! You’re so immersed in focusing on the poses that you step out of your class realising that you haven’t thought about anything else at all other than yourself and your practise - and that is a golden feeling!
Visualisation is a type of meditation I absolutely love, as it helps to get you into a different state, where you can access and enjoy your feel good feelings, all by exploring what’s going on in your mind. You can physically change the way you’re feeling by adjusting the pictures in your mind and focusing on the things you want, how you want to feel, what you’d like your life to look like. Not only does it give you focus and tells your subconscious mind what to support you in working towards, but also reminds you of your desires and gets you all fired up!
5. I’ve designed some meditations, visualisations and pep talks to support you with all of the above, from feeling GREAT, to calming your mind and filling up your confidence cup. You can get them over here: sophiefrench.co/shop/
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Is meditation something you do already? What’s your experience? Will you be giving it a go? <3