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04.09.2013

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As I write this, I’ve just hit an 18-day streak and 57 total times meditating since mid-December.
I had consumed seemingly infinite books, blog posts, and podcasts on the wide-ranging, evidence-based benefits of meditation and constantly talked with my clients about the value of mindfulness — yet I wasn’t meditating regularly. I vividly remember writing one day in my journal (just checked and it was an entry from October) that I was frustrated with myself for not meditating regularly because I knew too much not to, and wondered how I could get past whatever was blocking me from making it a regular habit.
This idea of integration is a big part of what has sold me on the whole meditation thing (and truly softening into savasana), because one of my greatest passions is mind + body + spirit integration. Thanks for reading, Em, and I love hearing about how meditation has helped you in such an important way over the past few months. I also plan to get to get a small book of brief meditations that I can read and then sit and contemplate.
It’s been 70 days since I started tracking, and weirdly, I actually feel more proud of my 57 check-ins than I would if I’d had a perfect 70-day-streak. I had been doing so well with creating other new habits in my life like waking up early and working out more regularly than ever before (in a healthy way), but the meditation habit seemed much more elusive.
A consistent meditation practice can shed light on how you may be separating your life into these different buckets, and also gives you the tools to practice integration both during the practice and “off the cushion” in your day-to-day life (I say this in quotes because I, for one, do not meditate on a cushion. BJ Fogg  founder of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, created a model of behavior change called the Fogg Behavior Model, which he simplifies as “BMAT,” or Behavior  = motivation X ability X trigger (all three aligning at the same moment.) He posits that when a desired behavior does not occur, at least one of these three elements is missing. I’ve tried numerous meditation tracks available on Spotify and YouTube, bought a few tracks from folks I’ve found online, and created a couple of my own, too. Tony is an expert in behavior design, and the triggers from his Coach.me app have been a critical element in making meditation a consistent practice for me.
I have a long way to go with being fully present, but committing to a brief daily practice has definitely helped. I love your description of how everything becomes so simple and clear during and after meditation practice.
What started as just a way to climb out of a serious rut has turned into this journey of feeling reconnected with myself, like you mentioned. I’ve really been working on becoming more okay with stillness, slowing down, and being in a low-charge state, since I feel much more at-home in the high-charge state of GO-GO-GO, DO-DO-DO! I don’t always do it in the mornings, but there are definitely days when that reminder helps me to stop what I’m doing and practice in the morning, which sets me up to go into my day with the clearest mindset.


In the next email I’m sending out to my tribe (going out in the next couple of days), I’m including a free downloadable Meditation Apps Resource Guide that will succinctly outline all the apps I’ve tried, the pros and cons of each, and which is my overall favorite. In one study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation was enough to significantly increase activity in the area of the left brain associated with positive feelings and the ability to recover more quickly from stress.Mindfulness teaches you new habits of response that make you happier. We read all the books and blogs, and follow the gurus on social media, but somewhere in-between having a deep understanding of all the benefits and actually getting our butts onto the meditation cushion, there seems to be a block.As a collective, it seems we're really starting to wake up to the power of using meditation as a tool for personal and emotional development. I notice things I didn’t before my practice, and for a few hours afterward I see the world as a kinder, gentler place. However, there are still many of us still trapped in our minds that meditation seems like a pipe dream. When practice gets uncomfortable, you're relieved to have an excuse to stop: You're not cut out for this!And practice is often uncomfortable. The mind is an amazing tool, but without adequate training and left to its own devices, it can cause chaos.To get the most from your meditation practice, it is beneficial to get a clear understanding of the process. In fact, as I type this, I am thinking of a grocery list, my class tonight, my own practice, and the laundry that I need to fold. Put simply, meditation is pressing the pause button on life and just sitting down comfortably.
It’s not about having a clear mind with no thoughts.During a meditation practice, it is pretty common to have lots of thoughts!
A friend who's newish to meditation says, "The silence is deafening!")Everyone who meditates is a veteran of these torments. Once you understand that's impossible, meditation gets easier."Finding a Meditation TeacherI started out as the worst meditator in history.
I told myself I should start on a Monday, when the sun was out, on the fifth of the month ….
Even people that have meditated their whole lives can get comfy in their meditation positions, but feel physically and mentally irritated. Having a meditation practice that is based on focusing the mind in the present moment is simply about being aware of how we are. A friend suggested a weekend retreat with Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, who brought mindfulness meditation home from India.
Also called insight meditation, this is the practice the Buddha discovered that led to his enlightenment.


Meditation is the process of sitting noticing thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and accepting them as part of our experience in the here and now.
By setting an alarm I know that I won’t be thinking, man, this is taking forever, nor will I go off into a blissed-out state and forget to take the kids to school. Have a focus point to stay present.To stay in the present moment the mind needs something it can focus on, and as we have this wonderful body with all of its senses we can simply pick one of them. Ten days of meditating 12 hours a day, no reading or writing, and, except for two brief meetings with a teacher, no talking. Before you practice, decide whether you are going to focus on your breath, listening to sounds, watching thoughts, whatever. What will happen during the meditation is that your naughty mind will forget it’s meditating and take your awareness either back into the past or the future. However, the magic of meditation is recognizing that you have wandered off into this mindless thinking, and then coming back to your focus point. Have no expectations other than expecting the unexpected As long as you set your alarm, sit comfortably with your back supported, and stay with your intended focus point, that’s pretty much all there is to it. When you expect a meditation to be a certain way, it's just setting yourself up for disappointment. The key is to go into your practice with a childlike curiosity, and really notice what is going on in that moment. The wonderful thing about meditation is that it gives you the natural superpower of learning how to respond to situations, rather than react. Meditation invites these reactions to the surface, where they can get the attention they've wanted from you all these years, and ultimately dissolve. This app allows you to "check in" with your feelings before you begin and offers suggestions for a meditation that suits your mood.
She… Read more Lyndsey Burton is a Mother, Wife, Mind Fit Meditation Coach and Founder of the Soul Sisters. The biggest thing I've learned is that meditating is not about emptying my mind, but coming to understand it.



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