Terri Cole: A Simple 3-Minute Guided Meditation
Unless you are brand-spanking new to my tribe, you know that I can’t say enough about meditating. Much of what I write and speak about is influenced by my practice.
If you already rock a practice and are ready for three-minutes of expansion, jump to the bottom and play the video. For those of you who are unsure what meditation is, read on…
I have taught thousands of clients and students to create a meditation practice because of my own transformation. The positive effects of a dedicated practice hold the power to deeply impact your quality of life. The simple act of present moment awareness that meditation reinforces helps you release the past and your limiting scripts. Learning to be mindfully present in your life allows you to let go of what is not serving you and fill your life with what will.
Meditation has become one of the cornerstones of my psychotherapy practice and an integral part of my winning formula for helping clients overcome a host of issues to create lives they love.
For me, becoming un-constricted (less stressed out), more joyful and more successful seemed to float into my lap like a feather once I committed to a daily meditation practice.
When I talk to people about a meditation practice, I am usually met with, “I don’t really know what meditation is,” “I can’t sit still,” “I tried and could not do it right,” “I don’t have time.” Trust me when I say, I feel their confusion and frustration.
Let’s start by clarifying that there are a large variety of meditations, from walking meditation to primordial sound meditation to guided meditation. Many people have the idea that meditation is only sitting cross-legged on the floor, repeating “Om” a zillion times. It’s not. (I mean, I guess it could be, but who would have the time and your legs would fall asleep.) Also, meditation is not a religion; rather, it is a practice of becoming passively aware of your thoughts and feelings.
The Meditation Lifestyle
I like to relate a meditation practice to other healthy lifestyle choices. If your goal is to lose weight, prevent heart disease, control diabetes or maintain wellness, you must become mindful of what you eat, the chemicals you expose yourself to, getting enough sleep, making time for exercise and cooking healthy meals, etc.
Meditation actually builds your mindfulness muscle. Unlike food choices, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. You just have to do it.
When clients claim they want to meditate but are too busy, I ask them if they were guaranteed 5 million dollars in cash at the end of successfully meditating twice a day for 21 days, could they find the time. No one has ever said, “Nope, I’ll pass on the 5 mill. That's how busy I am!” My observation of human nature is that people will make time for what they want to do. You’ll probably also discover, as I did, that starting your day with meditation creates a feeling of expanding time. Calibrating your day with the intention to stay expanded and calm actually gives you more time because you are not wasting it ruminating about the past or fearfully projecting into the future. You take control of your thoughts instead of the other way around.
Once you experience the benefits of a meditation practice, it just might become what you want to do. At least, that is what happened for me.
Personally, I was most intrigued by the psychological/emotional changes that meditation inspires, but there are also a myriad of physical benefits:
- Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
- Lowers cortisol levels, which is associated with stress and weight gain (Goodbye potbelly!)
- Boosts immune function (who needs a flu shot when you’ve got meditation?)
- Improves airflow to the lungs, resulting in easier breathing, which is helpful not only for asthma patients but also for athletes needing to improve endurance
- Decreases the aging process (whooooo hooooo!)
- Improves creativity, learning ability and memory, emotional stability, feelings of vitality and rejuvenation, mental clarity and happiness
- Decreases anxiety, depression, irritability and moodiness
- Can be done anywhere, anytime and at no cost
Aside from these amazing side effects, meditation creates space, possibility and relief in your mind, body and life.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the simple, yet complicated, act of sitting in stillness and silence for a dedicated period of time each day. As your mind is cleared of thoughts, you are connecting to the pure potential of your life and, as I said before, recalibrating your mind, body and spirit. It can be used to calm the mind or as the first step to plant the seed of an intention of a specific purpose or idea. Meditating can help you de-stress, get through difficult times, or be a vehicle to manifesting, along with promoting the health benefits listed above. It is important to remember that any amount of time spent in stillness and silence each day will positively impact the quality of your life and relationships and provide you with a more reflective and less reactive stance in life.
My Meditation Journey
Began fifteen years ago, and I have had a dedicated practice for the past eight years. Why the seven-year lapse? At first, it was hard: There were noises, interruptions and endless thoughts. I must be doing it wrong was my mantra. Then, I finally learned the right way to meditate for me from Davidji. My teacher appeared when I was finally ready and all of my instinct about needing to incorporate stillness and silence into my daily life was validated.
Once I learned a technique that worked for me, the distractions and thoughts did not deter me. Everything does not have to be “perfect” for you to experience the benefits. You just have to do it and let everything that shows up become part of your meditation.
Overtime, I have increased the amount of time I devote to this daily practice, and today my practice consists of two 20-minute sessions: the first as soon as I wake up, and the other right after work.
Tips For Setting The Meditation Mood
- Pick a regular time you can commit to every day. Make a reoccurring “me time” appointment on your calendar.
- Set the timer on your phone so you will not look at the clock. Start with five minutes and build up to 20.
- Find a quiet place and get comfortable, or as I like to say, “Just get your butt on the pillow.”
- Turn the lights down and light a candle.
- Take a whiff of lavender or your favorite essential oil.
- Spend the first few minutes asking yourself: “Who am I?” “What do I really want?” “What is my Dharma: How can I help; how can I heal; how can I serve others and myself with my unique and special gifts and talents?”
- Choose a mantra and repeat. In Sanskrit, the word “mantra” means “mind vehicle.” A mantra is just a short phrase that has no distinct meaning to help keep your mind free of thoughts. A popular universal mantra is SO HUM. On the inhalation, say the word “SO” silently to yourself, and on the exhalation, say the word “HUM.” When you find your mind wandering, come back to repeating your mantra.
- Pop in a guided meditation if that suits you better. Some people find it easier when they first start meditating to use guided meditations.
In fact, here is a three-minute guided meditation to get you going!
Do you meditate? Do you want to but have been afraid to try? Maybe you tried but got frustrated that you weren’t doing it right? Please share your experiences. I would love to hear from you, and your insight might help others. I’m big on speaking my truth and am always interested in hearing yours!
Love Love Love
Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist known for her holistic approach, combining practical psychology, thought innovation, and harnessing the power of intention to create sustainable change. She has a unique ability to take complex theories and translate them into actionable steps you can implement into your daily life. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.