In my last article, I discussed WHY the practice of meditation is so important. If you haven’t already, give it a read – it’s a quickie!
So, knowing that practicing meditation can help you train your mind to handle stressful situations in real-time, the next question is –
HOW do you do it?
How does one transition from meditating in a controlled environment to keeping calm in the midst of actual chaos?
The simple answer is: Start meditating in the real world!
Have you ever said that you can’t meditate because it’s not quiet or peaceful enough, or you can’t get any privacy? Well, forget those things!
When you’re in a stressful situation, it’s likely that were will be LOTS of visual and auditory distractions, and that you’ll be in the public eye (or at least among people who are going to judge you for your behaviour).
Therefore, if you can’t meditate while your kids are bustling around you, then how on Earth do you expect yourself to keep calm when the going gets tough? (You can’t).
Here’s how you can gently train yourself to keep your cool, no matter what.
Meditate With Your Eyes Open
If you’re used to meditating with your eyes shut, you can advance your practice by simply meditating with your eyes open.
Sit facing a wall (not too close), and softly gaze at a point in front of you. Keep your forehead relaxed, and the muscles around your eyes relaxed. Don’t stare yourself dizzy; simply look and notice.
When you’re able to maintain your focus with your eyes open, start facing out into an empty room. Even if nothing is moving, the various colours and shapes will be “screaming” for your attention; keep your focus on a point in front of you. Stay alert and aware of your entire environment, without allowing it to consume you.
Over time, you’ll be able to meditate discreetly, with your eyes open, while sitting… Anywhere!
Change Your Location
Waiting for someone in your car? Meditate!
Waiting while standing in line? Meditate!
Need to give your brain a break and rest your eyes from your computer? Don’t get up and reach for your meditation cushion. Stay where you are, and meditate!
Whether you have to keep your eyes open, or hold a more strenuous position (or both), the point is to find a way to deepen your breath and focus your mind, regardless of the environment you find yourself in.
Too often, we get so dependent on our “meditation tools” that we forget that the only thing that really matters is our ability to just sit/stand still and be in the moment.
Use Your Imagination
Have you ever been guided into a meditative state (perhaps at the end of your Yoga class during Savasana), or popped your headphones in while lying in bed to follow along to a guided shamanic journey, only to find yourself falling asleep?
It sounds counterintuitive, but using your imagination and walking in that space “between the worlds” is actually much more challenging than simply watching your breath.
That’s because holding that altered state of consciousness requires a lot of mental strength, and for the inexperienced, can simply be exhausting. While your mind may wander while doing a breath awareness meditation, you’d be far less likely to fall asleep than if you were actively trying to use your imagination!
Guided visualizations, Yoga Nidra, and shamanic journey tracks are some of the BEST ways to improve your intuition (particularly your clairvoyance) and build your mental muscle.
Begin with a short meditation track, about 5-10 minutes. When you can come out that state feeling more energized than groggy, then you can start playing around with longer tracks. Don’t forget to ground yourself afterward by drinking water, moving your body, or having a light snack!
Making meditation a part of your everyday routine will change your life dramatically. Imagine being able to maintain your awareness of the present moment, regardless of the situation! Think of all the good that would come out of that. That’s a super power, if there ever was one 🙂