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Meditation and the Pool of Tranquility.jpg

Once regarded as a tool for those on exotic, spiritual journeys towards enlightenment, meditation has recently become a popular technique for stress management, and overall mental and physical health. I’ve always been interested in meditation, but as a person whose mind always seems to be running away with itself, something about meditating always seemed daunting, and even threatening. It’s as if I was afraid that while spending time trying to quiet my thoughts, they would launch the mutiny they had always been planning, and thwart my attempt to relax and find peace.

When I broached the topic of meditation with some coworkers, they said they already thought I was a peaceful person--one seemingly not in need of meditation. HUH? PEACEFUL? ME? The shock of it got me thinking that maybe they were seeing something in me that I didn't see myself. That maybe within me, peacefulness already coexisted with my anxious, frenetic, distracted thoughts. I came to think of it like this: we all have a pool of tranquility inside us that we might not be accessing with purpose or consciousness, and meditation is just about finding that little pool and sitting beside it for a few minutes, letting all your crazy, kooky thoughts and emotions sit with you.

After doing some light reading and giving it a few go's, here's what I think is working best in my meditation practice.  I still have a lot of moments where I give up, or slap myself in the face because there is a strand of hair tickling my nose, but I have noticed a difference in my ability to relax, especially in stressful situations. It’s given me a perspective on the thoughts and emotions that I experience during conflicts and disappointments, and allowed me to learn from and let go of stress more quickly and effectively. Try it!

Leave your devices in another room. The laptop and iPhone are your nemeses.

Use a candle. I don't know about you, but as soon as I close my eyes I'm definitely dozing off. To avoid falling asleep, focus your gaze on a candle in a darkened room.

Try Calming Exercise. If you're too hyper to focus, try doing a few yoga poses, or even go to a yoga class before your meditation session. It will help you get in the zone, and trigger feelings of well-being and tension relief. The more relaxed you are, the better chance you have at reaching a blissed-out state.

Get some Air. Before you start, try breathing deeply for a few minutes. It slows down your heart and helps release tension in the muscles

Holla at your frustration then let it go. This is stupid. I could be doing laundry. I can't focus. I like peanut butter and instead of eating it, I'm failing at meditating. These are all valid frustrated thoughts. Recognize them and the emotion that you’re feeling, then let them go.

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