Morning Meditation

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Recently, meditating has become an integral part on my morning routine.  It helps to quiet my mind (which is usually in hyperdrive immediately upon waking) and focus me for the daily tasks that are ahead.  The word "meditation" used to conjure up images of cross-legged monks searching for enlightenment, but I've come to learn that meditation encapsulates a much broader practice than that.  One of the most common responses I've heard to meditation is that "it's not Christian" which, in addition to being a pretty narrow-minded view of Christianity, is just plain false.  The fact is that meditation brings me closer to God.  It allows me a moment to stop talking at God and simply listen.  It is a sacred time that allows God to pierce the anxieties that are so present in my heart and soothe them gently, breath by breath.  It doesn't come naturally, however.  I've had to be intentional about training my mind to calm down and not freak out about being "unproductive" for 20 minutes (which is also false, as this may be the most productive thing I do all day!)  Here are some of the ways that I've build meditating into my morning routine.

Find a comfortable spot: In most pictures of meditation the person is sitting cross-legged on the ground.  For me this is pretty uncomfortable so I like to sit in an armchair or on a pillow up against the wall.  Practice good posture and don't choose a spot that may cause you to fall asleep (like your bed.)

Limit distractions: Turn off the TV, silence your cell phone, and go somewhere that pets won't disturb you.

Start small: Start with meditating for 5 minutes each day, then gradually increase your time as you feel more comfortable with the practice.  Set a quiet, gentle alarm so that you aren't tempted to check your clock.

Close your eyes and focus on your breath: Take three deep breaths and then resume breathing normally.  Notice how your breath feels when you inhale and exhale through your nose.  Notice the rise and fall of your belly.

Don't beat yourself up: It is totally normal for thoughts to creep in. "What will I have for breakfast?" "What do I need to get done today?" Acknowledge those thoughts and picture yourself placing them in a box to be dealt with after your practice is over.  Don't feel guilty about having those thoughts, or about not being able to clear your mind completely.  It's totally normal and with practice you will find that they come less frequently.

Do a body scan: Rather than trying to focus on "nothing" I like to focus on my body.  Starting at your toes, try to focus on all of your muscles and picture them relaxing.  Move up your legs, back, torso, neck, head, arms, hands, and fingers.  Notice any tension that you may be holding and focus on relaxing each part individually.

When all else fails, return to your breath: It's amazing how simply focusing on your breathing can relax and rejuvenate you.

Have you ever meditated? What are some tips you have?

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1 comment

  1. In my Capstone to Christian Living class, we were encouraged to try new spiritual disciplines like meditating. Like you said, it's virtually impossible to keep thoughts from popping into your head. I might have to try this after my workout every morning. It might be what I need to start off the day.