Today’s post is about developing a new relationship with some of the common challenges to a meditation practice. Happy sitting!
Or, walking, dancing, folding laundry…
1. Making time.
One of the biggest challenges for serenity seekers in this hyper connected world is “finding” down time. The secret to this is realizing that we have all the downtime we need, we just have to claim it. Chances are, there’s something else we’re prioritizing when we say we’d love to do something, but, we can’t. When it comes to meditation, we don’t have to be elaborate and the experience doesn’t have to be time consuming. If 15 minutes (or 5) is what you can give to yourself each day then that is what you work with. Try this easy centering practice to get started: Inhale to the count of 4, pause at the top of your breath, then exhale to a count of 6, pause at the bottom of the exhale and repeat the cycle for however long you have.
2. Another common challenge is the belief that we’re supposed to control the mind monkeys.
There is a zoo in most minds and the critters are loose and hungry. Very hungry. So many meditators get stuck trying to control an untamed mind. If this is you, then keep these tips in mind: seasoned meditators also struggle at times with excessive mental chatter. The mind is designed to be busy figuring things out for us. It will continue to do what it does. The skill comes in learning to sit still and experience calm or work at a task with focus or be in the middle of external chaos without being distracted and overwhelmed by our own thoughts. I’m simplifying things but if you keep in mind that the goal is not necessarily to make your mind stop thinking but to be able to maintain your center, while your mind is racing on, then you may feel less pressure when you begin your meditation.
Meditation is a practice. Some people have an easy time with being still and, for some of us, it takes practice, patience and a desire to strengthen our discipline. I used to hate the word discipline, it usually implied punishment and hardship. But, the word, at its root, also means "devotion to learn or study". Whether it is discipline applied to strength training or learning to speak a new language or creating a new habits with food, the process is the same at the core: we are engaged in self mastery. With meditation, it’s the same, we are learning how to overcome our desire to be distracted and to quit when we are frustrated and see no "pay-off".
We are also learning to become clear about what we want in our day to day experience and how we want to show up and be in the world.
So, if you’ve been craving calm, or a deeper experience of self-mastery then, begin by choosing a time each day to put these steps into practice. Make yourself a priority and commit to 21 days.
Let me know, in the comments below, how this goes for you.
This is a frequently asked question about detox programs in general.
The easy answer is, No. You don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to eat or feel you can’t afford to eat. One of the gifts of a detox is learning to listen to your body, begin to understand why it asks for what it asks for and learn to respond with the best foods possible. The messages vary from person to person and the foods we respond best to also vary person to person. So, it’s important that we each learn to read our own body’s messages.
In a typical detox we do eliminate a list of foods that are known to create inflammation and other allergic responses in the body. This gives us an opportunity to see and feel the effects of food on things like our skin, our sleeping patterns, our digestion, our cravings, our energy levels, our sex drive, our mood and maybe even our weight. The detox may seem like a list of restrictions to you, but I teach my groups to understand that we are really learning to add foods in. You’ll learn recipes that give you more choices at meal times, which makes switching to a “healthier” fresher diet, easier (and far less boring) to commit to, and people typically find that they don’t miss some of the foods on the elimination list when it comes time to experiment with adding them back in.
So, no. You don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to eat.
However, If you’re new to elimination programs and detoxes, then, you’re very likely to be introduced to some unfamiliar foods and flavors. If you treat this like an adventure (and keep in mind you may not like everything you prepare and it’s ok to move on to the next recipe or tweak ingredients) you’ll very likely come through the experience surprised and pleased with your results.
if your desire is to change your relationship with food then your willingness to explore unfamiliar options will be very supportive to your goal and you will come out of a program like this embracing a whole lot of “weird” and superbly tasty foods.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road does not mean they are lost."