"The goal of meditation isn't to control your thoughts, it's to stop letting them control you."
- Gitarani Sahu
Meditation often looks like eyes closed, body still (in an uncomfortable or difficult seated position), and mind clear of thoughts or distractions - or at least that’s how many of us expect it to look when we sit down to practice. The reality is that meditation looks unique for each person, and there is no one ‘right’ way to meditate. Yes, the goal of meditation is to silence and calm the chaos of your mind, but that can be done with eyes open or closed, while walking, sitting, or laying down. Remember that meditation is a practice that affects you not only in the moments of meditation, but throughout the rest of your day, as it brings grounding and clarity. As Deepok Chopra says,
Meditation is a practice which gives us an opportunity to anchor in the present moment, focus on our breath and cultivate space around thoughts and feelings in order to meet the ups and downs of any given day. Meditation does not always require us to be perfectly still and it does not mean we experience no thoughts - in teaching mindfulness it is important for me to demystify the idea that there is one way to achieve certain states of presence or equanimity. We are diverse in expression and practice, and there are a huge plethora of ways for us to begin to dive into meditation. This breath-centered practice linked below is just one.
Lengthen the spine, root down through the seat.
Take a long slow inhale, and a long slow exhale.
Notice the journey of the inhale as it moves in through the body
Notice the journey of the exhale as it travels out of the body
Observe the sensation without needing to change anything about the breath
If the mind wanders gently draw the attention back to the sensation of the breath moving in and out of the body
Repeat this for 10 more inhales and 10 more exhales
After the 10th breath notice the whole body and how it is occupying the space around it
Notice the crown of the head and the base of the spine
Notice the jaw and the eyelids and gently begin to bring some movement into the hands and feet
Take a stretch and softly blink the eyes open.
*You can practice this in any moment of any day in order to balance the nervous system and return to presence.
You can access this guided meditation in video format with Mollie Mendoza here.