So many times in the past, I've tried to start a regular meditation practice and it just didn't stick. I'd start out all keen, I'd see the benefits, I'd be determined to continue meditating regularly and then, somewhere along the line, I'd give it up. But I have to tell you, I've been meditating regularly for several months now and this time I think it's going to stick!
So what's different this time? I think the major difference is that I have relaxed into it. Before, I would try too hard, I'd set myself impossible standards and I'd get frustrated when I couldn't "get it right". When thoughts entered my head during my meditation I'd get really irritated with myself and think I was doing it wrong. It's not like that now. I've come to realise that meditation is not a test, or something that has to be perfect, instead it's a practice and if it doesn't go that great today, well there's always tomorrow and hopefully it will go better then. Another thing that has dawned on me is that meditation is a pretty personal thing, it's not going to look the same for everyone doing it, and that's okay.
So what does my meditation practice look like? Typically, I meditate first thing in the morning, as part of my Miracle Morning routine. I do some yoga - nothing hectic, just a couple of Sun Salutations and then I sit down, cross-legged on my yoga mat, eyes closed, hands resting on my knees. I do a couple of deep, slow inhales and exhales, consciously relaxing with each one - especially my shoulders which are usually tense - and then I revert to normal breathing and I focus on a word with each inhale and exhale. Generally I like to focus on the word "peace" as I inhale and "calm" as I exhale, but sometimes I mix it up and use different words. Thoughts will drift into my mind and - here's the key thing that has made my meditation practice so much more relaxed and pleasurable - I'm comfortable with that, instead of trying to "chase the thoughts away" I just let the thought go... I don't follow it, I just acknowledge it and let it go... by focusing on my breathing and words again. I haven't been trying to meditate for extended lengths of time like I used to, instead I meditate for as long as I feel like it and when I've had enough I take a deep breath, stretch my arms above my head, exhale and slowly open my eyes. Done! And man it feels good!