Meditation: Almost as good as nap time
The mind is like a child who needs a nap. If you’re a parent or have spent time around children, you know that nap time is vital to a child’s (as well as everyone who may be around that child…) happiness, and overall ability to cope with life. If a nap is pushed out to far, or doesn’t happen, a child will often become quite cranky and most likely end up in some sort of tantrum or meltdown. The funny thing is that sometimes children will fight their nap. We as the adults, know that a nap, that short but oh so sweet break, will be so helpful, that the child will wake up refreshed and much happier if they were to nap. This same idea is basically true of an adult’s mind, except instead of a nap, meditation (or Dhyana if you want to get fancy with some sanskrit) is our break. The time to give ourselves a break, to stop planning, stop controlling, stop having-to-do-something. Time that when we do it seems so necessary and simple and yet is one of the hardest things to do in this day and age. And here I can already hear some people countering, “I take breaks all the time, I sit down and watch tv or read every night before I go to bed,” and while that may be relaxing and considered a break to most people, the break that I’m talking about is taking time to literally do NOTHING. No snacking (so sad), no scrolling on the social medias, no reading even. Time to be alone with our thoughts, and eventually to try to let go of even those thoughts. Time to listen.
I’ve heard people say things like “Oh I tried meditation once, didn’t work.” Good thing you didn’t say that the first time you tried to walk. Or tried to read. Or tried to drive. Meditation is just like anything else, it’s something that we have to practice, and something that becomes more natural the more we do it. There are also so many different ways to do it, that if you try all of them, one is bound to click with you more than others.
The hardest part of meditation is getting yourself to start, and the second hardest part is quieting the mind. Enter, the yoga asana, or the physical practice of yoga aka the part that you will most likely encounter if you take a yoga class. The physical practice of yoga is meant to prepare the body and mind for meditation. Try it for 5 minutes in the morning. Most likely it will seem like that 5 minutes is the longest 5 minutes of your life (set a timer, and no, your timer isn’t broken), but if you start to do this everyday, pretty soon that 5 minutes will be like your first cup of morning coffee, something you don’t want to miss. But remember, stay seated, this isn’t actually nap time.