Here are some of the things I have said about meditation:
I don’t have time.
I don’t know how.
I don’t think I’m doing it right.
I can’t sit still.
I don’t get the point.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to get out of it.
It seems too simple to “work.”
I’m sure there were more points of resistance for me, but you get the picture, and I doubt very much that I was alone.
Like any behavior change or new habit, we need to find our motivation - our “Why.” For me, the motivation came in wanting to perform better with the dogs under pressure. I tell the story in my Dream-n-Scheme ebook about getting so excited to compete in a national event that I gave myself a migraine and then performed way below my capabilities. Out of that experience I wanted to make sure I had the tools so I didn’t get in my own way in the future.
I needed to be able to do two things: 1) control my energy flow (in the case above, my high-highs but also my lows) and 2) be able to get “into the zone” and let everything else fall away.
Getting “in the zone” is something we have all experienced - that sense that you are so in the moment, so focused on what you’re doing that not only does everything else fall away, but you are allowing your skills and knowledge to flow through you. All sense of time is gone and you don’t notice anything else around you.
This isn’t just for elite athletes. Artists report this feeling as do all kinds of people who do something that envelopes them. What does distinguish elite athletes from accountants, however, is the athlete practices getting into the zone so that the focus is there when she needs it; she can call upon it.
Getting too excited or not excited enough can have its own challenges. In order to perform at our best, we have to be “just right” as I learned the hard way! Nervous, excited, amped ... our adrenaline can get the best of us and since we know our emotions travel down the leash, this excitement can have some negative consequences.
Not only do we need to recognize when we aren’t managing our energy, we need to have a way to get grounded and come back to the present. Again, we need to be able to call on the ideal state for optimum performance.
There are so many forms of meditation and if you don’t like meditating, then I have come to believe you haven’t found the right style for you - so keep looking! A good session should leave you feeling clear-headed, refreshed and calm. Regardless of the style, the idea is to let all errant thoughts drift away and not “attach” themselves to your train of thought. That is, don’t engage or pick up the thread. Notice and let go.
I can hear you resisting from here! LOL. But I promise you have experienced a time when you have been in the zone and where you aren’t thinking about a hundred things you should be doing. Think about it.
If you are having trouble with this and want to get started, here are some ideas:
1) Lower the bar. Sit for even a minute. One minute. Set the timer on your phone and just sit with your eyes closed and practice focusing on your breath or the birds or even the fan. Start with a minute and build.
2) Box Breathing. I suggest this a bunch because it’s super portable and I can focus on my breath while standing at the in gate. Breathe in for four counts, hold for four, out for four and hold for four counts. Work up to longer counts. Think of yourself rooted to the earth.
3) Move. “Whaaatt?!?!” you say? Yes, “active meditation” is a real thing. Go for a walk and focus on the scenery, listen to the wildlife, look for birds. Let the rest of the world fall away. Haven’t you ever been out in nature and been completely enveloped? Yup, that’s what you’re going for.
Give it a try! And remember, they call it a meditation “practice” for a reason!