21 days ago, I started a meditation challenge that involved the simple task of meditating for 10 to 15 minutes, once a day. I know the benefits of meditation and preach it to my patients all the time, but ironically, I had not had a regular practice for quite a while. Like other professionals, I attributed this to my busy life. But when the 21-day meditation challenge landed in my email inbox, it was calling to me.The right time arises for each of us when we are ready.
The first week started with the mind of a child. I had quite a hard time sitting still. My brain was very active. It had a short attention span and wanted to wander off on all kinds of thoughts. My breathing felt off. Bringing consciousness to the breath seemed to feel more labored than relaxed. I struggled to find a comfortable sitting position and if I would lie down, I would invariably fall asleep.
So, I made a few modifications. No more meditating while lying down. Meditation is really enhanced consciousness, so I did not want my body to think that it was time for a snooze. I chose sitting positions with either my feet on the floor or my legs crossed Indian-style with a comfortable pillow for back support.
I prefer to close my eyes, although you can keep them open and set your relaxed gaze on a fixed object. Over the next few days, I worked on getting more comfortable with the breath, while breathing space into any tense or tight spots in my body.
The first few meditations began with feelings of restlessness, wandering thoughts, poor concentration and an inability to reach those highs I felt when I had practiced meditation regularly in the past. Oftentimes, these are the difficulties that can frustrate or discourage the novice, however, from prior experience I knew to cultivate a quiet patience.
As they say, good things come to those who wait. With time, relaxation, connectedness, expansiveness and peace did come. By the end of the first week, not only did I feel different, but people around me were noticing a difference in me.
The first and most important task in meditation is achieving stillness in the mind. Meditation is not the act of quieting the mind; instead, it is the act of finding the quiet that already exists between your thoughts. With this in mind, it was easier to let go of thoughts as I concentrated on the space between each thought, trying to prolong it.
Once tranquility is achieved, you can start setting intentions for your meditations. For example, you could start your meditation by writing down your intentions, reflecting upon them and then letting them go.
The key to manifesting your heart’s desire is to let it go. And meditation is a means to tune into what your heart truly wants. Confusion vanishes and intuition sets in, letting you see your life more clearly. By breaking through the illusion of the continuous dialogue going on in the mind, one can experience one’s true self.
What I have learned over the last 21 days is that taking 10 minutes out of your busy day to stop, breathe and tune into the present, really isn’t that much time at all. In fact, it has made me more productive and more capable of doing everything I have to do every day with joy and compassion.
Vincent Pedre, M.D. is an Integrative, Holistic General Practitioner and Board-Certified Internist in private practice in New York City. Follow Dr. Pedre on Facebook.
More from ecomii: