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Baby Steps to Meditation

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Meditation helps us to achieve a space of mindfulness and presence where we can begin to experience peace. Everyone I know is experiencing stress.  The current state of our world is so fast paced and filled with overwhelming tragedies and traumas that most of us are having at least some difficulty coping. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and even disease. It’s easy to get swept away by currents that are too strong for us and before we know how we got there, we are unable to find peace and relief in our daily lives. 

Pause for peace

Contrary to many of our instincts, the key to finding peace isn’t to run away from the things that stress us. Nor is it to achieve more to hopefully drown out the pain and discomfort we feel. The path to peace is in learning how to come back home to ourselves.  If we can pause in the midst of our busy lives, we can see that the things we run from can actually be our teachers. When faced, these teachers can guide us toward our greatest potential. 

Stress in the body

A hormone called cortisol is released when the body and mind are regularly stressed. This creates inflammation in the body.  This inflammation can have a negative impact on the body by increasing pain, anxiety, depression, and even heart disease. Meditation can reduce that inflammation response helping to bring balance and well-being back into the body.  


Bringing mindfulness to the things that cause us stress gives us opportunities to learn and to release our anxious attachments.  This begins a process where we can be present to what is happening in us. We can begin to hold it in a space of gentleness.  Pausing to breathe for even a few moments creates space to acknowledge what is happening in our bodies and minds, and to allow it.  Each time we are able to pause, we are practicing mindful presence.  And each time we practice mindful presence, we take another step forward on our healing journey.  When we are connecting a few mindful pauses together, we’re meditating!

A simple approach to meditation

Meditation can be an intimidating concept.  The idea of sitting still for any period of time is enough to scare most of us away. Finding time in our busy lives to pause and be still can be very challenging. Beyond that, clearing our minds during that time may seem like an impossibility.  There are some simple approaches to create an entry point for those who are interested in meditation but lack the confidence to start.

Practicing meditation enhances our self-awareness.  The more we are able to pause and be present to our thoughts, the more we are able to weed out destructive self-talk which fills up our minds without our even realizing it.  As we gain greater awareness of our thought habits, we can steer them toward more constructive patterns.  This also helps us to generate kindness by increasing positive feelings and actions toward ourselves and others.

Benefits of meditation

Meditation also improves sleep, helps to improve pain, and decreases blood pressure.  Research shows it to be helpful fighting addictive behaviors. People who meditate can learn to redirect their attention, manage their impulses and emotions, and understand the causes behind their addiction.s  Even memory loss and dementia can be improved through regular meditation.

The best way to begin meditating is to take some moments throughout the day to simply pause and breathe. This very brief, very simple act can have a big impact on our entire person. Every system in our bodies relies on oxygen. Those few deep breaths in those few paused moments can improve our mental clarity and actually bring our stress levels down. What follows this is a sense of well-being. A sense that, in this moment, everything is ok. If this is as far as you get into meditation, you’re doing great!  This small step can send big ripples of peace and well-being into your life.

Going a little deeper

When you’re feeling ready to take your meditation practice to the next level, you can set aside 3-5 minutes. In this short time, sit in a paused moment, present to yourself with your breath.  At this point, most people will begin the struggle of wrangling their thoughts into submission.  Fortunately, you don’t have to do this.  You don’t have anything to prove or master. You are simply engaging in an act of self-care.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.  This is your journey and you get to decide how it unfolds. 

A few paused moments with your breath will help you notice what’s happening in your mind.  In the beginning, a lot will be happening in your mind!  It’s almost comical how much noise we discover in our heads when we begin to sit still. So much of it loud and negative. But it’s important to be very kind and patient with yourself. With kindness, notice what is happening. Allow it to simply be ok.  This is where you’re starting. This moment in time is exactly where you need to be. 

Fly away little birds!

Sometimes I like to watch my thoughts come and go and imagine that they are little birds. Sometimes huge flocks of birds!  They perch in the trees of my mind or they’re just flying through.  If they are hanging out longer than I am comfortable with, I simply send them away – “fly away little birds”. 

Kindness and patience always

Always have the intention to be very kind and patient with yourself.  You’re learning something new.  Something that will be of great value to you.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.  The act of the mindful pause, allows you to be with what is happening right now.  To train yourself that it is ok to stay, to be present to each moment as it is.  That act of staying is what allows you to acknowledge what is present.  You are learning to accept yourself just as you are. This is wonderful and will lead you further on your journey of well-being.

There is a reason why meditation is referred to as a practice.  It takes time, and lots of small steps. Allowing yourself to grow and evolve as you’re ready is the gentle and powerful way forward.  You will soon begin to enjoy the effects of meditation by practicing.  And it’s the practicing that is the journey toward healing flow in your life.

Please enjoy my podcast episode where I talk about steps toward mindfulness meditation.

Podcast Episode #10

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