If you would have asked me a few years ago if I meditated, I would probably have laughed.
I have always been a slightly neurotic, high-energy, fast-talking, fast-walking and fast-acting person. I always feel like I can do better, achieve more and do it all faster.
The idea of sitting still, doing nothing and above all thinking nothing felt like a massive waste. Why do nothing when I could be doing something right?
I ended up spending 5 days in the hospital with a nasty stomach ulcer. Only then did I realize that maybe I was taking on a little bit too much and going a tad bit too quick.
What broke me was our wedding in Zimbabwe. We had a 75 people guest list who we also invited to travel the country with us for 2 weeks. Not only was I a bride planning my big day, but I also had to do it remotely in a country with no resources, no stability and no idea of what to expect. On top of this, I became some kind of travel agent planning 40+ peoples flights, hotels, houseboats, lion walks, gorge swings, safaris… and any other minute detail of their trip.
Looking back it was bloody mental. And a great big wakeup call. If I didn’t teach myself to be still now and then my body and mind would break. So I decided that I had to teach myself how to meditate.
In the beginning, I failed miserably at being still. My nose would itch, I would keep checking the time, start thinking about what to have for dinner, etc. I lasted a couple of minutes max. I felt more stressed than before.
But then I decided to make meditation more suitable for me. Over 10 weeks I decided to take 10 minutes and do something relaxing. Every week I added a new step. And slowly but surely I began to enjoy myself.
These are the 10 steps I took to teach myself how to meditate.
Week 1 – I would lie down on the floor for 10 minutes and watched tv. Basically, I just showed up for the first 7 days. To set the habit.
Week 2 – I lit a candle whilst I watched tv on my back on the floor. To make my senses understand it was time to relax. We should never underestimate how our brains are conditioned to sounds, tastes, and scents.
Week 3 – I added a spike mat to the equation. It gave me even more of an incentive to keep still and made me a bit sleepy from the extra endorphins.
Week 4 – I switched the tv for my phone and browsed mindful and inspirational quotes. To make my self feel gratitude and positivity.
Week 5 – I switched the phone for an inspirational book. Removing the screen was a gamechanger and my anxiety levels dropped.
Week 6 – I switched the book for an audiobook. This is when I began to close my eyes and find proper stillness.
Week 7 – I switched the book to headspace (a meditation app). This made me focus on my breathing in a completely different way.
Week 8 – I tried my first non-speaking meditation program. I listened to music and scanned my body with my mind in detail from top to toe.
Week 9 – I figured out that I didn’t have to empty my mind of thoughts, I just had to pick one and focus only on that subject. And voila I was meditating without even thinking about time passing.
For me it worked taking 7 days in-between every step. And to be honest I missed a few sessions in the beginning. But as I got more invested, the habit stuck and I still love my quiet time. If you feel like it’s too quick or slow, just change the pace.
So, how about it? Are you ready to teach yourself how to meditate? I promise a bit of true relaxation will change your life for the better.