For busy people like us, we hardly have time to pee, let alone sitting in somewhat of a half-lotus position, attempting to chant away our stress and hoping our inner peace will come sooner rather than later. Even thinking about meditating stresses me out! Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?
First, I had guilt about not being able to find the time. Then, when I did make the time, I wasn’t patient enough to sit through even a 30-minute session. Mental chatter would pop up and I would lose concentration. I’d become restless as I felt pain growing in my knees and various parts of my body. Ultimately, I would become frustrated and give up, asking myself, “What is meditation and is it for me?!”
After a while I realized I didn’t know what successful meditation was and what I should feel and expect when it was finished. Those Buddhist monks look so darn peaceful, why couldn’t I obtain that?! This is coming from someone who lived in Asia for over 20 years and delved into various forms of meditation from sitting, walking, silent, chanting, breathing, guided, visual and so on. It has been my life’s pursuit to find out exactly what is meditation, and how could I incorporate this ancient practice into my life in a way that would suit me and my modern, busy lifestyle?
I went back to making sure I understood the basics — the theory of meditation. Meditation is a form of transforming the mind and training it to cultivate a calm and positive state. Medically speaking, most people believe the brain and the mind are the same thing; however, they are distinctly different. The brain is an organ in our body and the mind is the conscious product of the function of the brain — the firing of neurons. The mind seems to never fully shut down, as it functions both consciously (thoughts we are aware of) and subconsciously (thoughts that we are unaware of).
OK — got it. I tried to meditate again, however serenity continued to elude me. Now what?!
Six months ago, I was introduced to a practical form of mediation that was effective and truly works for me. AND it suits my busy lifestyle. My dear friend, Alexandra Dobigies of Spiritual Healing Therapy, explained in one of our sessions how 12-Minute Meditation works, and I’ve been practicing it at least three to four days a week since with great success! This concise practice helps us declutter what is foremost occupying the mind allowing for immediate relief of stress and anxiety, allowing for greater relaxation and improved focus.
What it consists of is closing your eyes, relaxing and letting go. You allow thoughts to flow without consciously stopping them for 12 minutes, no matter what they are. Let them rise one after another. These thoughts are the “top layer” of the thoughts that occupy your mind. It doesn't matter if they are recent or not-so-recent; important or not-so-important; thoughts about professional and private life, chores, people, activities, bills, news, weather, projects, and so on. These top-layer thoughts that are foremost in our mind are taking up mind-space and are, consciously or subconsciously, causing us stress. The results I’ve had of this “free mind flow meditation”, as I call it, is that my mind and body become more relaxed. I can think more clearly and my energy level is noticeably improved afterwards. By freeing the mind of its top-most thoughts, we can unblock an untapped source of energy.
This meditation can be done anytime during the day. I set a meditation reminder each day as I get caught up daily activities. I also know it’s time to meditate when I’m not thinking clearly, feeling overwhelmed, or tired. I try to find a quiet spot and lay down. However, I have meditated on the subway, taxi, airplanes, doctor’s waiting rooms and at my desk. If I can, I put on sunglasses and ear buds with relaxing music, or no music, to mute the surrounding noise. I put my phone on Do-Not-Disturb and set my phone alarm for 12-minutes. I close my eyes and let thoughts come and go; giving up control and letting my mind go free.
Thoughts are repetitive. The same thoughts may come up repeatedly in numerous meditation sessions, along with new thoughts. This is typical, as we tend to have the same worries, concerns or even good thoughts over and over occupying our daily mind-space. The typical thoughts that come up for me range from business, bills, what I am cooking that evening, family obligations, scheduling conflicts, functions, dinners, gatherings I’ve been invited to and so on. By now I’ve learned to quickly relax and fully release my mind. I can zone out into a deep rest, not sleep, and wake up refreshed each time. What is important to understand is if you do fall asleep 12-minutes it is not enough time for you to go into a REM or deep sleep, so you are not groggy afterwards.
I challenge you to try this 12-minute meditation once a day for five consecutive days and experience the results for yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised! If I have very stressful days I do this meditation two to three times per day and I get through the day much better. I now am hooked on it!
Valerie Lynn is a Traditional Feminine Healthcare Expert specializing in Postnatal Recovery as well as author of The Mommy Plan, Restoring Your Post-Pregnancy Body, Using Women’s Traditional Wisdom and an upcoming cookbook in the fall of 2017 - Healing Meals: Simple Recipes for New Moms. As a former strategic business consultant Valerie lived in Japan, Malaysia, U.K., Australia and Indonesia. Her consulting practice in New York City supports expecting families, and both public and private companies, by creating individualized 6-Week & Beyond Post-Baby Recovery & Recuperation Plan incorporating postnatal new nutritional needs, personal care and activities.