How To Make Meditation Easy & Enjoyable
There are hundreds, if not thousands of supportive research on the benefits of doing this regularly. Monks who meditate regularly have been found to be happier through MRI scans of their brain.
Prayer is asking the question. Meditation is listening for the answer.
Meditate at the right time. My morning routine includes this as the first thing I do. The mind is in alpha state immediately after waking up and right before falling asleep. Our bodies work more efficiently in the alpha/relaxed state; blood and the lymphatic system flows more freely.
I can even access the alpha state whenever possible with mild activities like washing dishes, tidying up, yoga and slow walking. It makes all the difference to consciously stop rushing about and to slow down my breath.
Start off the day right. Taking just as little as 5 minutes in the morning when the body is still in the alpha state can set the tone for the entire day.
If this is difficult, I spend 5 to 10 minutes to empty my mind of useless chatter by writing a non-stop stream of conscious thoughts and the “To Do” list items (that will eventually get transferred to a separate list) on paper. Then start to meditate.
Use a mantra or body sensation. There are so many ways to meditate, it can be daunting just to decide. I have 2 methods here to choose from depending on how I feel at the moment. When things were not going well, when I had pain, when I needed to feel comforted, I used a mantra with each breath. With the inhale, think "I am…” and with the exhale, “…healing.”
If I am feeling OK and want to quiet my thoughts or just begin the day feeling centered, I do intervals of breathwork. This method was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, who based it off of pranayama: first, I exhale completely, inhale for 4 seconds, hold my breath for 7 seconds and with the tip of my tongue touching the roof of my mouth, I exhale for 8 seconds.
I do these intervals 10 times. I also use this 4-7-8 breathing technique in the car to calm myself down in the city traffic, the whole time I am driving. By the time I am done, I am much calmer.