Give your mind a break.

 

“My life is so stressed out, I think I am going to lose  my mind!” you complain to your friend or colleague. What is the first advice that pops up? “You know, darling, you ought to meditate. It is such a stress-reliever!”  You brace yourself for a talk on meditation and its benefits, knowing fully well that  the thoughts that circulate in your mind will never allow you a moment’s peace, leave alone meditation!

For years together, the wise  have been singing paeans about this one thing that has had us lesser mortals tied up in knots. For every time we sit on the floor cross legged, with hands on our knees, and eyes closed all ready to meditate, a thought enters  our mind, stealthily. And, like a buzzing mosquito irritating one inside the mosquito net, disrupts the entire exercise, leaving us infuriated.

When I began learning Yoga, I would grumble about the hundred thoughts that would disturb me each time I tried to meditate.  My teacher would advice me to let the thoughts move freely, but divert my attention to my breath. “Just focus on inhaling and exhaling,” she would say, gently.

I tried hard. At times, I would succeed, but for a few minutes.  Most of the times,though,  I would give up my fight with my thoughts and accept defeat. But, it was sometime last year, as I was watching the movie, ‘Zindagi na milegi dobara’, that realisation struck me.

In a scene when Katrina Kaif asks Hrithik Roshan how he found his diving experience, he replied that it “felt like being in a daze – ‘high‘,” he remarked. She grimaced at his choice of  words, and  responded, that diving for her was akin to meditation; it was when she would be completely aware of every breath she took. That had me thinking: what was that one activity, when I was aware of every breath I took, focused on just the one activity at hand, and had not a single stray thought that could be deemed useless at that particular hour?

I realised, that it was while writing, sketching the eyes of a dog, or prepping for my  cupcakes, that my mind would be in a state of complete rest. Of course, it would definitely  aid me in focusing on the activity, and help me with ideas. But,  at the end of it all, my mind would feel fresh (like laundry, fresh from the dry-cleaners!).  Funny analogy, I know, but that’s just how it felt, up there!

So, that was what meditation was all about! Indulging in an activity, when your mind takes a break from the daily grind, repairs itself, and leaves you feeling de-stressed. Ah! That was pretty  easy! Why hadn’t I thought about it all this while?

As I began concentrating on this new-found knowledge, I realised I found it easier to actually meditate during my Yoga sessions, too. The thoughts would definitely enter (do they have wings that they fly in and out as they wish?). But, all I had to do, was stop indulging them, and concentrate on my breath, on my nostrils, as I inhaled and I exhaled. That’s just what my teacher was trying to tell me!

Giving your mind a complete break from all the thoughts and allow  it some ‘me-time‘ is so necessary. For our mind. For our sanity.  Of course, there are times, when life won’t go our way; when it will be humanly impossible to concentrate on anything, leave alone breathing. But, you know, it’s okay. Our mind is pretty resilient that way. It has our back, almost always.

All we need to do, is give it the break it deserves. So, the next time you feel like ‘meditating’, just get down to doing your favourite activity, whatever it may be.  But remember to focus on your breath. It will be tough, initially, concentrating on the activity and on your breath. But, slowly and steadily, you will get so used to it, that even your busy moments will feel like a session in meditation!

Trust me. I do it. it’s so necessary. But, do take it easy on days you aren’t able to hold it together. We are humans, after all. And, it’s okay to fail. But,  shake away those thoughts after a while. And, get your breath in focus. it is what keeps you alive, isn’t it?

So,  give your mind a break. Mind your mind. And, meditate!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

27 Replies to “Give your mind a break.”

  1. True, Shilpa. Meditation is mindfulness and anything that allows us to focus on our breath can potentially lead us to a meditative state. I totally look forward to my mindfulness practice every morning as it always leads me to a meditative state, which I’m so grateful for. The rest of the day goes like a breeze then! So much goes on in the mind, that it is necessary for us to pause and give that much-needed break! Glad you shared this post.

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  2. I love your thought on meditation, Shilpa. I practise meditation during my yoga class and i get a high from it, akin to Hritik’s too :)))
    Love the new look and new name of your blog. Congratulations!:)

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  3. You could have been talking about me, Shilpa, because I love to extol the virtues of meditation to one and all. Just like you, initially I used to be so irritated when my mind would meander. Then, I joined a meditation group where the best advice I received was to let the thoughts be. Be at peace with them and focus on the sound of the breath and the process of inhaling and exhaling. That tip helped me immensely because as you and I know, when we try to control things, it makes us feel agitated. Now, I try to meditate every night before going to bed or when I do Yoga, it fills me with a peace and calm. Lovely post!

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    1. It is one of the best times to meditate, Rachna. I just sit in vajrasana and close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing before going to sleep. It not only calms me down but also helps me have a good night’s sleep.

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  4. I had never thought of meditating as immersing yourself in an activity that leaves no room for extraneous thoughts. I too find it difficult to think of nothing while meditating during yoga. Even keeping count by saying prayers or mantras doesn’t work and the most frivolous thoughts break my meditation.
    But I am giving my mind a break and consciously not blogging till everything falls into place.

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    1. The best thing about meditating, Sunita, is that one can do it anywhere, anytime, even while folding laundry, or doing the dishes, As long as you are able to concentrate in the moment and are doing your activity with awareness, you will surely feel like you have been meditating. The concentrating in the here and now gives the mind a lot of relief from all the thoughts that crowd it all the time.

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  5. Great analogy to filter the true purpose of meditation! I too went through the motions of finding it very tough to practice initially but I learnt to give wings to the thoughts. Let them come said my teacher and set them free with out giving more attn to them – it was very simple once I learnt to let go of them. I am happy to note another meditation “junkie” in the count for it truly gives a high!! cheers

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    1. True, Damyanti. Some days the troublesome thoughts take over the mind and just don’t let go! But, that’s life! And, yes, we really need to unplug every now and then so we stay sane and keep functioning well! :))

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  6. I will tell you about 2 things I do which is akin to meditation. One is getting up very early in the morning, sitting on the couch with a cup of warm water and then letting my mind loose. I let it wander for as long as I have until 5.30 am. I let it act out in its creative ways, taking me through the past, present and future, weaving new analogies to the events which have already occurred. I just sit back gazing and wandering with it. When it gets 5.30, I tell it that its time is over and we will indulge again next morning. Guess what, majority of the times the mind is happy with all the attention I gave it and does not interfere during the day.
    Second, you are well aware of – sorting the methi, dhaniya, palak takes so long that it becomes same as meditation 😀

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    1. Hey, some times I do that, too. Letting my mind wander till it comes back feeling euphoric! It’s absolutely okay letting our mind go on its fantasy land trips. The poor thing needs a break from all the stressful thoughts, too! And, yes, sorting all the leafy veggies…perfect solution number 2! 😀

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  7. Found you here Shilpa. Last week, my teacher answered this question how to concentrate on the nose and breathing to focus. It’s something that bothered my mind that keeps wandering. Mind clutter is so me and I agree, we need to devote a day doing nothing but pleasurable activities. Right now, I am dying with so much of work and this post comes at the right time.

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