Today is my little brother’s birthday. Here we are as kids and at my wedding. He’s always been my bigger, little brother;).
When my brother was about twelve years old he came home with a Buddhist meditation book from the library. No one in my family had ever mentioned the Buddha, meditation or mindfulness, nor had he been studying it in school. I’m convinced he was a monk in his past life.
Since then he’s been meditating twice a day for ten minutes each time. Now my brother is not a zenned out yogi. He’s a normal guy who’s a movie writer.
I always thought this habit was unattainable and frankly, a waste of time. What good does sitting on the floor for 20 minutes a day do? Well, what I’ve discovered in the past 5 years is that it matters…a lot.
When I was at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a friend of mine invited me to a group meditation class with Gabrielle Bernstein back when her group coaching was just 30 women sitting in a circle on her living room floor.
The craziest thing that happened when I started meditating regularly is that I lost a ton of weight. Here’s what happened:
1. Mediating for ten minutes a day helped my overall anxiety to go way down. Having the stillness in the morning gave me the opportunity to clear my mind and connect with a higher power which allowed me to have more trust that everything was going to be fine. Before mediation I used to eat to calm my anxiety, now since my overall anxiety is lower, I no longer need food to numb out.
2. It became easier to pause. I used to hate having open time. I felt guilty for not being productive and didn’t like being with myself, so I often filled the space with mindless eating. Now it’s easier for me to just hang. I can sit on the couch without a bag of chips to entertain me. And if I have the drive to eat a pint of ice cream, I have the skills to just wait five minutes and see if the urge passes me by.
3. I created a relationship with my body. Below I am going to walk you through how to meditate but the basis of it is breathing. I’m a terrible breather, probably because I was so disconnected from my body for so long, and I bet my constant sucking in of my stomach put the kibosh on belly breaths. But when I started meditating, I was forced to breathe deeply and it really connected me to my body. Feeling my abdomen fill with air, imagining liquid golden light pooling in my belly and actually paying attention to the energy in my uterus made me stop being a walking head and allowed me to connect with this amazing vessel that I live in.
When I connected with my body two things happened. One, I started to really feel when I was hungry and when I wasn’t, even when I wasn’t meditating, and it became much easier to tell what my body wanted to eat. Two, I developed a strong intuition. You see, our intuition is literally our “gut instinct” and originates not in our brain but in our gut. When we are out of touch with our bodies, we have no access to our intuition. I started to get strong feelings about what to say and where to go. Listening to these urges was hard at first, but eventually I learned to trust them. My intuition led me to have more fun, more ease and more romance. Life just got easier, and I no longer needed to medicate my confusion, overwhelm or boredom with a bag of chocolate chips.
If you don’t know “how” to meditate, here’s my simple process.
1. Don’t over think it, meditating is not complicated.
2. Sit in a comfortable spot. It could be cross legged on the floor or on a pillow, sitting on your bed or curled up on your couch with a blanket.
3. Set your phone timer for 5-20 minutes.
4. Close your eyes.
5. Breath in and out, and focus on your breathing.
6. Thoughts are going to come, they will always be there, try to just pay attention to your breathing. DO NOT get mad at your thoughts for being there, just let them hang out with out you giving them a ton of attention.
Here are a few ways to spice up your mediation practice:
1. Start with a prayer and ask to receive some clarity during your meditation.
2. Do some manifesting by imagining your dream house or meeting your soul mate for the first time.
4. Walk a labyrinth.
5. As you breathe in imagine golden light pouring in through the top of your head, as you breathe out imagine sending it to someone you love.
6. Imagine yourself playing on a beach, laying in a hammock or tanning on a dock, whatever brings you serenity.
In the comments below I’d love to know:
1. If you currently meditate, what tips do you have for us and what changes have you seen in your life?
2. If you do not have a mediation practice, what are you excited to try? And what’s been holding you back?
I can’t wait to hear from you!