When I first heard of meditation, I had visions of noble looking monks dressed in all white with their bald heads bowed in the reverence of silence.
It’s the silence part that terrified me. Why? Because my brain is a loud place that takes advantage of any moments of silence to bring up past mistakes, current worries, and future potential problems. It’s extremely annoying and made falling asleep at night a tremendous process.
Because I know that my brain is hella yappy, I figured silence just wasn’t my gig. To me, it sounded as impossible as dancing rainbow unicorns in the clouds… it sounds fun, but it’s probably made up.
Nonetheless, I consider myself fearless in the face of challenges so I thought why not give it a try. Here’s what I learned.
1 // Get Guidance
If the thought of sitting in a silence with your eyes closed, without sleeping, and with a clear mind sounds impossible to you, it probably will be at first.
My advice? Get guidance! With the all mighty power of the internet, I’m sure you can find something that you like. This is actually the hardest part… at least it was for me.
I started my search on YouTube and found thousands of guided meditations. I thought I had hit the jackpot.WRONG!
Lesson #1: I cannot do a guided meditation with music.
For some reason, my brain finds music hella distracting. It starts me thinking about how the songs where created — and oh, I should download that new Katy Perry remix I heard on Spotify — and oh, I wonder what I should make for dinner.
You get the point.
I gave up probably 3 or 4 times with those guided meditations with music or sounds. I just couldn’t handle it.
A friend recommended an app for meditation that I don’t even remember now because it also had noise (like waves of the ocean and birds and shit). Not my jam. BUT that recommendation led me to finding Headspace.
2 // Keep It Simple
The wonderful thing about Headspace is that it’s simple. It’s a soothing voice of a soft spoken British guy and that’s it. No sounds. No chirps. Just silence.
I knew the moment I listened that first meditation that it was exactly what I was looking for. The way that this guy spoke didn’t make me feel like I was missing some giant piece of the meditation puzzle. In fact, he never told me to clear my mind at all (something that I thought was a complete work of fiction anyways… does anyone ever had a clear mind???).
It was the simplicity of his voice and his instructions that pulled me in. I didn’t have to think about what to do next because he was telling me what to do. And it was simple.
Things like breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Focus on the sounds around you. Now focus on your body. How do your toes feel? Your calves? Your thighs?
I will be honest and say that the first 4-5 sessions, I didn’t clear my mind at all. It wasn’t required so I didn’t try it. It was around that 6th session that he said something like: if you feel like not thinking about anything, go for it. It was a super low pressure moment that I didn’t even notice.
I tried to think of something. Then I realized I was trying and couldn’t actually think of anything. Then I broke that moment. But it was sooooo freaking powerful. I realized, in that moment. That I wasn’t thinking of anything.
Guys, I wasn’t think of anything. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. it lasted like 10 seconds. But from that moment on, I was hooked.
3 // Enjoy
I wish I could say I’m a freaking PRO at meditation but I’m not. I’ve been practicing constantly for about 4 months now.
Before mediating, I had such a hard time falling asleep. The pressures of owning my own business combined with my constant flow of thoughts made it impossible to drift off to sleep. And when I did fall asleep, I was restless.
Entire my saving grace: a meditation practice.
Now, I sleep like a baby. It’s one of the things I really dig in and enjoy now. Beautiful sleep. Like 9 hours a night is my goal. No joke.
Besides sleep, I’m really enjoying those moments of complete silence in my brain. It’s euphoric. I still heavily depend on the Headspace app for those moments. But I’ve noticed a moment or two in my normal day where I get the feeling that if I tried without guidance, I could “clear my head.”
Whatever you find, whether you find yourself pulled into the music and sounds during meditation or you find a voice and a bit of silence is your preference, remember to enjoy it.
We live in such a loud world with social media and the news that a few moments of complete silence, with an empty mind, are few and far in between.