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5 Reasons to Meditate. Right Now. For Real!

And how to do it even if you think you never could.

Free photo 5564821 © Anatoly Zavodskov - Dreamstime.com
Free photo 5564821 © Anatoly Zavodskov - Dreamstime.com

Would you call yourself a calm person right now?

I am not so calm right now.

Tightly wound by nature, just at this coronavirus moment, I have a new business that depends on training (groups larger than 10) largely at universities (that are closed).

Also, there is a high school senior in my house who won’t have prom or graduation and who can’t visit colleges before choosing.

So, I’m meditating. Which I thought I could never do, but turns out to be not so hard (even for a stress cadet like me) and brings huge, happy, giant rewards. (I mean it.)

Here are five reasons you want to meditate right now:

  1. When you breathe deeply for a few minutes, you realize that shortness of breath you’ve been imagining is not coronavirus. This is a huge bonus! Plus – simple deep breaths activate your parasympathetic nervous system and calm your booty down.
  2. You cannot meditate and look at your phone at the same time. So you guarantee yourself at least a few minutes’ break from incoming insanity. (I know I’m not the only one whose screen time is way up, and not just looking at kittens.)
  3. When you manage to be present for just a tick, you realize you’re actually okay right here, right now, this moment (even if you’re possibly running out of toilet paper). All those things that might happen, haven’t. A sense of underlying well-being may just creep into your consciousness.
  4. You get out of your own head. Don’t you need a break from the chatter in there? This is how to get it! Plus, every once in a while, gorgeous little waves of peace and joy wash through you. Not kidding.
  5. You feel supported, less alone, a little more whole. You might just trust the universe for a minute, even if it holds crazy things. In a world gone mad, it is surprisingly comforting to feel “one with everything” even for just a few moments.

So now that you want to meditate, how do you actually do it?

I have tried many, many versions – and honestly, some are easier than others.

A great starting point is to just download Tara Brach’s podcast and follow along. She is ah-mazing. Wise and calming and (bonus!) funny. Apps like Calm and Insight Timer offer tons of guided meditations. Oprah and Deepak Chopra have a lovely free series out right now on “Hope in Uncertain Times.”

If you prefer to go your own way, without a(nother) voice in your head, here’s an easy start**:

  • Sit somewhere quiet, palms facing up, eyes gently closed, with your focus between your two eyes.
  • You’ll touch one finger to your thumb on each hand to “count” each eight-breath sequence below.
  • Take eight deep breaths, using your fingers to keep track. Count to five on the in-breath and again to five on the out. Start each breath in your belly, expand to your chest, and then imagine oxygen filling up to your head and down to your toes.
  • For the next eight breaths, deep-breathe in, then hum as you breathe out. This gets a nice little vibration going in your throat and can help clear thoughts out a little.
  • For your final eight breaths, breathe deeply in, then notice the pause before you breathe deeply out, where you notice that pause.
  • When you’re done with these, sit breathing normally and feel grateful for every single thing you can think of. Don’t just name your gratitude, really feel it.

There you have it. So simple. Doesn’t take long. Not complicated or hard – or even particularly boring. (Type A friends, you can do this! And it will lower the high blood pressure I know you have right now.)

I hope you’ll make time this very day to just plop down somewhere and give it a try.

As my daughter would gladly testify, days I meditate are just…better, for me and everyone around me.

A few minutes of focus really does help – and not just at the time, but later when you’re starting to cycle high and have learned how to bring it back low.

Wishing you health and calm and laughter, amid the chaos.

** This meditation is an adaptation of the wonderful Soul Synch, created by Preethaji and Krishnaji, which I appreciate enormously.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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