I sit still with my eyes closed, 15 minutes every day

Meditation is an elusive word. The saints achieved nirvana and figured out the deepest secrets of our existence, the monks achieve higher sensory powers, people who meditate everyday claim to have achieved more peace and clarity in life.

Yes, Meditation is the cheapest and the simplest way to get more out of life. And Yes, we would all like to have all these amazing feelings just by closing our eyes! But when do we REALLY start seeing results?

I am a certified yoga instructor. Yoga, movement, poses, come naturally to me, but I always deferred meditation. It would be last on my list of things to do. Because after 2-3 days I would realise my mind is still all over the place and this is not for me. I can “relax” my mind by reading or sleeping or other things!

During the lockdown I decided to give myself one more chance to closely analyze my meditation journey. I decided to not even call it meditation – I sat a timer, and sat still for 15min, everyday for 30 days. Record what I feel every day right after the session. This is what happenned:

Self guidance hacks that worked: For me meditation is a journey of self, connecting with self. It should be in my power to close my eyes and get into it. So, this is how I started – sit in my go to cross legged pose, close my eyes, take a deep breath in, focus on the long exhale, feel the stomach going in and the breath coming out of the nome, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, bring the focus to the middle of my eyebrows, let myself sink into the focus and imagine the emptiness. If thoughts come in the middle – I refocus by bringing my attention to the seven chakras of the spine, finally setting on the middle of the eyebrows. If thoughts come again – I shift my attention to the sounds, smell and feel around me and then let them all go to come back to the center. I wander and come back. What worked is using different techniques to come back to centers as some time it is harder than others!

The thoughts dance: It was equally frustrating and fascinating to see the thoughts jump from one to the other. I was thinking of my breath, breathe in, breathe out, why the simple act of breathing is so important for life, the TV series where a child died in UCU because he couldnt breathe, air in the atmosphere! Stop! On my god, back to center focus on breathing! While I closed my eyes, I could see the restless of my mind. I felt I would be so tired and irritated after I open my eyes, because I am just constantly guiding myself to center

Activations in the brain: In the first few days, it felt the brain was on vibration overcharge! As the thoughts jumped from one to another, parts of the brain seemed to get activated.

The first breakthrough: In the first 7 days, I found myself getting discouraged by the barrage of thoughts and opening up my eyes just 2-3min after! But on day 8th, I achieved the first 15 minutes of sitting, and the next day I knew I could do it! I got the 15 minute power! My mind started getting used to the 15min. Somedays I foun dmyself peeking open my eyes at 55 sec left, 10 sec left, because I thought – maybe I forgot to set the timer on! haha

The 3min – 5min Bliss after: Even after the thought filled, self guidance filled sessions, I found myself opening my eyes to a new sense of calm. Just after opening my eyes, I would feel like closing my eyes again to experience that microsecond of peace. As I used to write my meditation notes, I found better focus. My eyes didnt wander around the room but were set on what I was writing. Now this didnt last for more than a couple of minutes ever in the last 30 days, but the couple of minutes were worth the results to keep it going đŸ™‚

Fun sessions: Skin care + Meditation: There were days when you know you don’t want to sit still. But guess what, we all like sitting still with our face masks on. I combined my sitting still session with 15min face masks time! Worked!

Meditative Travels

What if you could close your eyes and be transported to the most beautiful place you have been to – completely visualize every shade of green in the trees, hear the sounds of wind in the leaves, feel the early morning freshness of the place in your skin – as if you were right there!

I just came back from a trip to japan and have been thinking a lot about conscious traveling. How to not only make memories but take them along. How to completely BE in the place, amongst all the crowds and tourist checklists and selfies!

Take a breath, slow down, close your eyes and take the place in

Tip 1: Take a breath, slow down the pace, sit down if you need to, as you reach your destination. Let go of the crowd anxieties and tourists checklists.
Take in the scene, enough to paint a picture worth a thousand words with your eyes closed. Notice the movements, the smells, the colors and how they shine in the light. Meditate for a couple of minutes or write it down.
Send postcards to friends, reminisce and detail memories.

Here to learn. Not checkout tourlist lists

Tip 2: Look out for what you will take back from the place? Every moment, every person, every place has something to teach.
Japanese gardens or even Japanese streets are a treat to walk around with their immaculately manicured trees and plants. They see god in nature and can create beautiful sights just out of simple stones. Going to Japanese temples is as much about zenning out on the natural beauty in the verandas outside as much as it is about the idol within. Looking at nature is uplifting, but walking around beautiful gardens is like falling in love

Japanese restaurants and trains maintain such silence that we often caught ourselves ‘shouting’. It seems like everyone is in a constant state of meditation. Talking soft and slowly brings purpose to their conversations

Japanese food is creative, flavorful, balanced and rich in ‘umami’ with separate sections for rice, pickled vegetables, fermented foods, soups, teas coming together in bento boxes. Creatively arranged food brings a smile on the face every time a new box is opened.

Tip 3: Come back and remember the place. In your meditation. Or Write postcards to friends. Describe the place. Very often we come back and feel like we have totally forgotten the vacation and are in dire need of a new vacation. Its a viscious loop.