External change happens first within your mind and it has everything to do with what you focus on. Practicing meditation strengthens your mind's focusing mechanism and gives you an enhanced ability to think with deliberate intention and conscious awareness.
Mind is where it at.
Points to Consider:
Follow the steps below for developing a basic meditation practice.
1. Sit in a comfortable position. You can use a meditation cushion or else sit in a straight back chair with hands folded and feet flat on the ground. Whatever you choose, be sure that your back is erect and you're totally and completely relaxed yet alert and aware. This is ideal for lowering brain waves and accessing mental 'programming' where habits are broken and new patterns are formed.
2. With your teeth together and your mouth closed and relaxed, take 3 long, deep breaths through the nose. Breathe into your lower abdomen and with every exhale, feel the muscles of your body soften from the top of your head, all over your face, mouth and neck area, through to your shoulders and back, all along your abdomen, your thighs and legs and finally down to your feet. Feel your muscles melt.
3. Begin Focusing Exercise A. Your goal is to count backwards from 100. Whenever your mind begins to wander, gently bring it back to the countdown. See how far you can make it without losing track of the count or thinking about what you did yesterday or what you need to do later on. Like training a puppy to sit still, gently bring the mind back to focusing on the countdown. You're working out new muscles here and that's good. There's no right or wrong way, there's only improvement with practice.
4. After a few minutes, begin Focus Exercise B. Your goal is to identify every sensation you feel on or inside of your body. Do you feel a rumble in your tummy? Identify the feeling by labeling it 'rumble'. Itchy feeling on the back of your hand? Again, bring your focused awareness to the sensation and label it 'itch'. Whether it's a burning, quivering, warm, cool or tingly feeling, simply bring your focus to the sensation and label it. This will keep the mind busy with intentional focus as well, you will begin to develop your sense of equanimity; the act of observing what IS with neither aversion nor craving. Afterwards, move on to focusing and labeling all that you hear.
5. After 15 minutes, get creative and begin to visualize your day. Mentally play out today's life episode.
How would you like this day to unfold? Watch it like a movie playing out in your mind. Imagine the day's successes and accomplishments. See yourself moving with confidence and ease. Imagine yourself achieving your goals and allow this vision to somehow tickle you.
Close your meditation practice with gratitude. Gratitude for the roof over your head, for the job that you have, for family and for the life that you live. Your mind will be focused, calm and ready to take on all that the day presents to you.