After Monday’s post about meditation I’ve gotten a few requests for recommendations on resources on where and how to start meditating. I think my list is too long for one sitting so I’ll start with a few things that really helped me, especially in the beginning.
1. Start with your breathing.
Like I said before, I used to laugh at this stuff but you gotta trust me on this one. Once I started to practice some of these mindful techniques*, my life started to slow down and so did my brain.
So, start with your breathing.
My favorite breathing pattern is 5-6-7. Breathe in for 5 slow deep breaths- hold for 6 seconds- and then out (forcefully) for 7 seconds.
In those sets I like to imagine I’m breathing in the peace (Phil 4:7) that I so deeply desire. As I hold for 6 seconds I try to picture that peace slowly covering every inch of me, starting at the top of my head, like honey or oil. And then as I breathe out, I do it with force, as though I’m pushing every disgusting thought or emotion out of my body in that moment- I don’t need it anymore because in the next set I will be filling my mind with that peace for another 5 seconds...
So, ready? Set a timer for 5 minutes, put on some nature sounds or music without words, or just head out to the beach or somewhere quiet with fresh air, and try it! Don’t have five minutes? Have three? Or one minute, even? Go to the bathroom, take a walk, pull over and park in a local parking lot and turn your car off, don’t do it while driving or anything that you need to pay full attention for. Just try it! Those five minute could transform the entire rest of your day.
I promise you that your mind will wander in these five minutes. PROMISE. Especially if it’s your first time doing this. That’s normal and it’s part of the process. Notice those wandering thoughts and allow them to pass. You can think about them as soon as your done if they’re that important! But even if your mind wanders, it has been proven that slowing our breathing does something to our minds and bodies physiologically, sending signals to our brain that we are safe, we don’t need to freak out. It’s a win-win!
So, try it and let me know how it goes!
2. Next, try practicing your breathing while listening to this short YouTube video.
I’ll share other videos on another day, but this one is by far my favorite. I listen to it almost daily, still!
3. Christa Black Gifford
I’ll elaborate on how wonderful this woman is in a later blog post, but for now check out her “Head to Heart” podcast, based on her book “Heart Made Whole”.
She is so real + raw. Whenever I hear her speak I feel so much more normal and loved and whole. She’s the best.**
Thats all for today. This post was getting long and this list is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ll share more tips on this later this week or next!
Take care of yourself, friends. Deep breaths ;)
You are loved!
*mindfulness has a dark new-age stigma attached to it thanks to recent practices. I can promise you that everything I do or have done in my process to wholeness is firmly rooted in Biblical teachings and my foundation is solid in the Lord. I always tell people to test it with their spirit. If what I’m encouraging you to do feels uncomfortable or off with who you are and what you believe, please don’t do it. I take no offense and I trust that the Father is leading you on your journey, all I can do is share mine.
** She is the best and she is also very human. The only word I take as whole truth is The Bible. I don’t agree with every word Christa says, but much of it had helped me over time. Again, my #1 advice when reading, following, listening to anyone who isn’t Jesus: TEST IT WITH YOUR SPIRIT. The Spirit that lives inside of you knows exactly what you need. Don’t do anything that feels uncomfortable unless it’s straight from the Word of God. Ask me questions in the comments or through e-mail if something doesn’t sound or feel right. Seek council from someone you trust. Lastly, trust yourself- you know what is best for you in this moment, even if it feels confusing, you know yourself best, I promise.