I know I’ve been a little MIA on the blog lately, but I’ve had a lot going on with my work lately and unfortunately, spending some time writing on here had taken a backseat for a couple weeks. But I’m back and ready to talk about my interesting experience doing a 20 minute guided meditation for 21 days straight.
I’ve meditated on my own at home for a few years now, but I don’t usually make time for it everyday to be honest. I often view certain moments of the day as mediation like my quiet time in the shower and my unwinding moments before bed. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, I think any time can be considered meditation if you are able to relax your mind and that pesky inner dialogue and align your mind, body and spirit. I wrote a whole post about meditation a while back too.
The daily experience
Some of you may have heard of or even practiced this particular mediation, but about a month ago, I signed up to do the Oprah and Deepak Chopra guided meditation series, “Shedding the Weight”. It’s a 21 day set of meditations regarding shedding weight or stress on all levels (not just the physical). Each day they would send an email in the morning with that day’s meditation and each meditation would have a centering thought and a unique mantra. (You can actually purchase this mediation now here.)
The structure of this meditation worked really well for me because first Oprah would talk about the centering topic of the day for a few minutes, then Deepak would share his thoughts, introduce the mantra, and then they would leave you to soft music for the last 10-ish minutes. I really enjoy and prefer guided meditations because it’s hard for me to dive right into relaxing my mind with just silence. I definitely need at least a little soft music to get me into the groove, but I really liked the different discussions of the centering thought as an opener.
I started to look forward to seeing each new day’s meditation in my inbox and hearing what new information it had in store for me.
Practice, practice, practice :: This 21 day set of meditations reminded me that meditation is called a practice for a reason. You can lose your habit, and the only way to keep up is to practice on a consistent basis. I found myself getting better and better at easing into the meditations as the days went on, but it made me realize that I was a little rusty and it’s just like any other skill.
Discipline :: The biggest takeaway for me was committing to practicing every single day. I hadn’t done a daily exercise like this in a very long time but it felt good to commit to it and stick to it. I didn’t miss a single day, though certain days got crazy at times and it felt like I couldn’t fit in an extra 20 minutes of anything. I heard on a podcast a while back something like 1% of your full 24 hour day is only about 15 minutes. (Don’t quote me on that math, but it was something like that.) And if we choose to dedicate just that 1% of every day to a mindful practice like meditation or yoga, we can make big shifts in our lifestyle with pretty minimal effort. There can always be an excuse (I’ve used them all on myself too) but thinking in terms of this little 1% helped me change my mindset.
Peace :: Even on days —and there were many— where I wasn’t able to fully clear my mind and thoughts, I felt a sense of peace from just taking those 20 minutes to be still. I don’t think peace or inner peace come on their own, and you have to work to foster that like anything else. Even if I was only fully at peace for two out of twenty minutes, it was still an amazing break my constant stream of thoughts and I felt great knowing that I dedicated that time to myself.
Continuing to Practice:
I have a lot of meditation downloads and CDs even from back in the day, but the Chopra Center is always a great resource online, they have some free meditations on YouTube and I really like Louise Hay as well.
Often times, I just search “guided meditations” on YouTube and try new ones out too.
To my meditators out there: which meditations do you love and why? I’m always open to finding new gems!