MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Fourteen

MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Fourteen

Last day of the challenge and I can’t believe it’s over! So now that the challenge is coming to an end, how do we keep our practice going?

A few things to keep in mind as you embark on your own meditation journey:

  • “No two meditations will be the same.”
    • There may be some days where you experience a very deep session and others you’ll notice that your mind may be a little busier.
  • “The less you expect in a meditation, the better your experience will be.” 
  • “Meditate every day, twice a day.”
    • Obviously not every day is the same and sometimes having a session in the morning and a session in the evening isn’t feasible. While it’s easy to beat ourselves up over having to miss a session, don’t – just strive to do better the next day. As you continue to develop your meditation practice, meditation will become in the same category as all of the other activities that you look forward to doing.
  • “Schedule your sessions.”
    • Try to schedule your meditations around the same time every day. Doing so will help your body to start prepping for meditation on it’s own every day around those same times. Also, if you’re meditating consistently, you’ll be more likely to make other lifestyle decisions that support your meditation practice and enhance other areas of your life that also contribute to your overall well-being (regular exercise, a healthy diet, surrounding yourself with good-for-you people, etc).

I absolutely loved this challenge and I hope my sharing this challenge has inspired you to begin a meditation practice of your own!

Be Well,

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MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Thirteen

MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Thirteen

“The way that we gauge success in meditation is not the same that we engage progress. The basic difference is that success is based on what happens inside of the meditation and progress is based on what happens outside of the meditation. In other words, you’re going to look at your life to see how well the meditation is going. Some of the known benefits of meditation include: getting better sleep, feeling less stressed, having more clarity, having more energy and being more adaptable.”

Your body is a magical and beautiful thing. One of the things that we hear time and again at IIN is that your body knows itself better than anyone else ever could and given half the chance, your body will heal itself, by itself. The exact same notion is true within meditation: meditation does not have “magical powers”, but rather meditation helps to wake up the body’s intelligence which already knows how to help you achieve things like better sleep and so much more.

While our lives will definitely be brighter when we experience the many benefits of meditation, not-so-wonderful things will still happen in our lives, regardless of our dedicated meditation practice. We’ll still get stuck in traffic jams, we’ll still encounter people who don’t like us for things that are beyond what we can control, our hot water furnace will die without warning and leave us with cold water and an unexpected expense…but what meditation does do in these situations is helps us be adaptable how we react to these situations now that we meditate vs. how we would react without meditation in our lives. Being adaptable to change is one of the major signifier of progress in meditation.

Having been on this challenge for almost two weeks now, I have noticed that I’m sleeping a lot better, I have a lot more energy throughout my day and I find myself being really present in the situations that I’m in. I’m on my phone less because I have found that having conversations with those around me is so much more intellectually stimulating and rewarding than going down the rabbit hole of in my Instagram feed.  I just feel a greater sense of peace and calmness overall and I love that feeling!

How has meditation changed your everyday life?

Be Well,

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MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Twelve

MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Twelve

Day 12 of our challenge…am I doing this right?

In our session today, we’re looking at how to measure success in our meditation practice and here is how Light Watkins explains that we gauge success:

Getting Lost in our Thoughts

What’s the best kind of thought to get lost in while you’re meditating? Any kind of thought.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about as long as you’re allowing your mind to get lost.

 

Frequency of Loss of Awareness of Breathing / Mantra

If, during the majority of your mediation, you’re noticing your breath or your mantra, it’s likely that you’re working too hard…which you don’t have to do. If, on the other hand, you’re noticing your mantra or breath for a couple of minutes and then your mind shifts to a completely unrelated thought, that’s a great indication that you’re practicing your meditation correctly. Why? Your mantra and / or breath are what cause your mind to get lost. The mantra or breath should be treated like a start button to get lost in our thoughts, not a destination or end goal.

 

Time Goes Quickly

When the time seems to go by faster than you can account for, that’s another good indication that you’re practicing correctly.

 

Your Body Becomes Rested

Increased rest = your head starting to nod forward, shoulders start to round, or, you may even fall asleep.  Surprised that falling asleep is a sign of success? “Your body is paying off the sleep debt” when you fall asleep in meditation.

Today’s meditation was 10 minutes (!) and it was the most relaxing 10 minutes of my day. I think I’m getting the hang of this meditation thing! Already looking forward to my second session later this afternoon.

Be Well,

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MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Eleven

MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Eleven

“Meditation has the ability to release stress in the form of memory, emotions, sensations or feelings. This means that in the meditation, you may feel as though you are re-experiencing past trauma, which is why it’s very important to treat all of the thoughts, sensations and feelings in an indifferent manner; ‘I don’t know and I don’t care.'”

Stress release during meditation is a lot like releasing a kidney stone (ouch) – when the body releases stress (which has accumulated over time) and begins releasing it (much like that of a kidney stone in a human being), we may notice it through our mind, thoughts or sensations during our meditation. As such, our attitudes should be the same as someone passing a kidney stone: “Although I’d rather not be having this experience because it doesn’t feel particularly good, I know that it’s something that’s leaving me and it’s better out than it is inside.”

Don’t be surprised if you discover that some of your meditation sessions have “themes” to them – one session could be filled with very stressful thoughts or emotions while another could have very positive and happy thoughts and ideas. The happy session is not better than the negative session or vice versa because both are working together to help you reach your maximum potential.

During our nine minute session today, I found small thoughts of self-doubt and insecurities start to seep into my mind but what I love about this challenge is that I was able to quickly notice them and then notice my breathing. I recognized and acknowledged those thoughts, but did not let them overrule my session. I’ll be interested in seeing if they come back up during my second session later this afternoon.

How do you deal with anxiety or stress in your meditation practice?

Be Well,

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MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Ten

MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Ten

TL;DR: anything that happens in our meditation that is out of our control, we are going to work on responding to it with: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Life isn’t perfect and neither is our meditation practice and sometimes, we experience issues during our practice that are less than ideal.  You know, things like interruptions, expectations, dark / heavy thoughts or falling asleep.

Interruptions

If / when we’re interrupted during a meditation session, we may initially become upset at whatever is interrupting us. But guess what Light Watkins says we should implement here instead? You got it: “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Obviously if it’s something that needs to be address or needs your immediate attention, it’s for the best that you end your meditation practice quickly and come back to it later on when the issue is settled and in an environment that is less distracting.

 

Expectations

When we first start establishing our meditation practice, it might be tempting to end the session before our designated stop time.  I know this was something that I struggled with when I first started this challenge – I would sit for a few minutes, start to get antsy when I couldn’t focus / didn’t know enough just yet about noticing my breath or mantra, so I would give up and move on with my day. In today’s lesson, Light suggests that we give up the expectation that the meditation needs to go by faster and to just let go of the expectation that we have of what should be happening as that expectation could be the exact thing that is slowing down the process. Again, it comes back to our “I don’t know, I don’t care” attitude regarding how much time we have remaining or why time seems to be going by so slowly. The times when we are most antsy in our meditation are the greatest opportunities we have for quieting our minds.

“The mind never falls quiet by resisting anything, it’s the opposite; we need to always practice embracing.”

 

Dark / Heavy Thoughts

It’s not surprising that sitting still and letting your mind wander can lead to dark or heavy thoughts and the best way to interact with them? You guessed it: “I don’t know, I don’t care.” Don’t start playing therapist with yourself in the middle of meditation as this could cause everything to slow down, making you hyper-aware in the process, according to Light.

 

Falling Asleep

Because so many people in our society are sleep-deprived, it’s not uncommon that when people first begin their meditation practice, they fall asleep. One of the great things about meditation is that it’s a corrector for sleep deprivation, and the quality of sleep for those who meditate may improve once they incorporate meditation into their every day lives.
During our eight minute meditation session today I was interrupted by a few text messages and even a phone call (I forgot to put my phone on airplane mode!)…the first message that came through annoyed me (especially because it was just from my local grocery store about weekend savings / promotions) but I quickly implemented an “I don’t know and I don’t care” attitude at the other two iPhone interruptions and it was true: I didn’t know who or what was trying to reach me but in that moment of meditation, I didn’t care. “I’m here” I quietly whispered to myself and brought the focus back to noticing my breath and mantra.

Be Well,

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MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Nine

MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Nine

It’s day nine of our meditation challenge and we’re exploring the best times and places to practice meditation.

Timing:

  • Ideally, we should start and end our day with a meditation session: one in the morning that occurs not long after we wake up and another in the evening before going to bed. If that’s not realistic for you, think about having a session in the first half of your day (later in the morning) and in the second half of your day (afternoon / evening) or whatever fits your schedule the best. Your meditations should be spaced out at least a few hours apart.

Places:

  • Just as discussed in previous sessions, find a place where you can be comfortable and free from distractions.

A tip from Light at the end of this session that I loved: if you don’t feel like setting an intention after you meditate, make a mental appointment for your next meditation. For example, take a few seconds to scan through the second half of your day and work out when and where you can do your second meditation and envision what that session will look and feel like (without expectation or judgement). Having the structure to our practice that we’ve developed over the last eight sessions has helped us prepare and practice in a way that helps us get the most benefit from meditation!

Where is your favorite place to meditate?

Be Well,

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MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Eight

MBG Meditation Challenge: Day Eight

We’re tackling intentions on day eight of our meditation challenge.

“An intention is a thought, an aim, a vision or a plan for a certain activity or person, or, a new direction in life. People have been setting intentions for as long as they’ve been meditating – intentions and meditation go hand-in-hand.”

Light Watkins

While it’s tempting to set an intention for our meditation experience (“I want to meditate on a solution to this problem I’m having”), it’s best to reserve our intentions until after the meditation finishes so that we can use our “freshly meditated mind” and relaxed body to capture higher-quality intentions. Once our meditation is over and with eyes still closed, an intention along these lines could be stated: “Today I’m going to do the most that I can do with what I have available to me.” Think of your intention as a declaration to where you want to be.

Added bonus: throw in visualization. Visualize yourself in your intention and in your desired outcome of your intention. Our minds are so powerful and it’s incredibly beneficial for us to take time out of our day to visualize where we want to be in our lives, which increases the chances of that outcome actually occurring. Stay away from focusing on how and when this outcome will happen as that is out of your control – just set your intention and let it do it’s thing.

I just completed our meditation for today and setting my intention at the end of my practice felt like my intention was super-charged. I was reflecting on it with a clear mind and I could easily visualize my intention and felt a sense of peace when I envisioned how I would feel once my intention was met.

What intentions do you have set for yourself or your life?

Be Well,

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