As this new year unfolds before us, I find myself reveling in its silence. The silence of the winter season. The silence of fresh snow and new beginnings. The silence of starting over in a different place physically and spiritually. This beautiful new year standing in front of us asks nothing except, “What are we going to do with it?” For the answers to profound questions such as this, I always turn to the quiet hush of meditation, and I encourage my clients to do the same.
There are many methods for finding clarity in our lives, but meditation is the one that is nearest and dearest to my heart. Above all others, it is what works best for me when I need to know what to do for my family, for myself, or for my business.
Meditation is a spellbinding combination of intuition and stillness, and it allows us to tap into a deeper level of ourselves that we cannot hear above the usual noise of living. It forces us to pay attention to our souls and spirits in a way that we simply cannot when we are distracted by the outside world that whizzes by around us, begging for our attention with its every move.
Meditation is surrender to our truest self. It is a separation of us and how we act in normal circumstances. It’s medicine and magic all at once. And it costs us nothing.
"Meditation is surrender to our truest self."
You can see why meditation is my favorite way to find clarity! To me, meditation time is sacred time. It is the anchor of my every day. I schedule it into my planner each morning—just me wrapped in a quilt sitting cross-legged on a pillow and letting go.
"Meditation is my favorite way to find clarity!"
Meditation is the point where you truly sit inside of yourself and observe your inner being, unmuted. It might seem strange to think about having a separate entity within yourself that’s different than who you are from day to day, but it actually makes complete sense. When we are with other people or different forms of distraction, we are often moving, speaking and thinking in reaction to them. But when we are alone in meditation, we remember who we are without the influence of anyone or anything else. And it is during these times that we hear ourselves the loudest.
When you are going through life, it’s a lot like hiking in a forest. Sometimes the brush is so thick that you can’t tell where the edge of the path meets the forest floor, or you’re surrounded by so many trees that you don’t realize there’s a serene yellow meadow on the other side of them. Our thoughts work in a similar way—they cloud our vision too.
During the days my mind is so filled with thoughts about my business and my family and all of my to-dos that I need this quiet time to center myself. So often I’ll be sitting in silence and a groundbreaking idea will gently float into my head like a soft flood of brilliant wisdom, and I will wonder who sent it.
If you have never meditated before, it can be a little bit intimidating at first, but I promise it’s worth the early discomfort. After you begin your practice, you will probably start craving these precious moments with yourself—so much so that everything will feel a bit off kilter when you cannot honor them.
You may find yourself wondering where to even begin. What do you do when you meditate? Are you allowed to think about anything at all, or should you force your brain into radio silence? What role does your breath play in meditation? Or your body position? Should you listen to music, or should the only noise in the room be the sound of you inhaling and exhaling? What should you do with your hands? Sit on them or reach them up towards the sky like a perky radio tower? Should you visualize anything, like yourself in a tree or a duck swimming across a pond? Perhaps you should chant like those Tibetan monks or buy a little gong first. There’s so much to consider when it comes to meditation that we often don’t grant ourselves permission to experience it at all!
And so it goes with so many things in our lives—we focus intently on the wrong stuff like what we should and should not be doing that we forget to allow ourselves the joy of doing what we want to do. And this confusion is why we need clarity in the first place!
But meditation does not have to be complicated. Ultimately it’s about you and what feels right to your brain, body and soul. If your desire is to listen to guided meditations until you feel comfortable taking off the training wheels and riding the meditation bike on your own, then by all means, start there. Or continue to listen to guided meditations for as long as you practice if that’s what brings you to your calmest, clearest state. Choose to lie down on a blanket, sit Lotus style on the floor or put your legs up on the wall. Count up and down to 100 or empty your mind completely. Turn on classical music or Lady Gaga. There is no wrong answer on how to meditate, because meditation is only about being authentically you.
"There is no wrong answer on #howto meditate, because it's only about being authentically you."
When you are struggling to find clarity around any issue in your life, I invite you take to meditation, however you define it. Notice how the questions change shape as you sit with them. Watch the answers drift into your head so much more easily than if you tried to force them there. Amaze yourself with the ability you have to be your wisest guide.
In the comments below, share with us your favorite way to meditate.