About two years ago my flatmate tossed a “headspace” coupon he’d gotten from work my way because he seemed to believe I was going through a ‘spiritual’ moment in my life. So, I did what any good flatmate does; thanked him and proceeded to leave the coupon to rot by my bedside table until it got mumbled amongst old tea mugs and, inevitably, ended up in the bin.
I once watched a youtube video about meditation which told me to think about cats for about 10 minutes. Unsurprisingly, I gave up two minutes into it, having no desire to ever try anything remotely similar ever again. Fast forward to last summer, where my emotional health came crumbling to pieces and cost me one too many hours in therapy. I was impatient, I wanted to feel better quickly and at pretty much any cost so when my mother suggested I try meditation, I jumped on the opportunity.
At this point, the coupon had long expired, but headspace still offers a 10 day free trial to its new users and I decided to begin with that. For 10 days I forced myself to plug myheadphones in and listen to the meditations before I went to bed. I say ‘forced’, because meditation wasn’t something I enjoyed the first couple of times, but by the end of those 10 long days it started feeling less and less like a chore and more like something I wanted to
do. You know how running starts off as a chore but that early morning jog ends up being your favourite time of the day? Yeah, me neither, but apparently it’s a thing and meditations works just like that.
Here’s the thing; the way I see it, meditation is a bit of an umbrella term. When you meditate you might channel your inner buddha, cross your legs and light up some incense but you might just as well go for a run. Or a swim. Or pray. Or draw. Your meditation is what you make of it and you can make is as spiritual (or not) as you want. Meditation is about being present and aware which by no means implicates anything other than a few minutes of your day and your thoughts.
The good thing about meditation is that it is surprisingly easy to access. You will likely want to start off working on some guided meditations to tell you what to do, and there is a variety of apps out there (both free and paid) that can help you start off. Youtube, Spotify or any other podcast websites are your friends too; you can find a lot to listen to depending on how you’re feeling, what you’re doing and what you want to get out of it.
Once you get the hang of it, meditation is somewhat like a secret armour that protects you and that you can come back to whenever you want. Ditch the cross legged stereotypes and the “ohm” chants you currently associate with meditation and instead remind yourself that whatever it is you are going through right now, there will be a meditation that will help you get the courage and the mindset to do it.
I don’t swear by meditation, I don’t spend 10 minutes a day practicing it and I am surely not always mindful. It is worth pointing out I am probably not good at it either; somedays I start to meditate, get frustrated and stop; but thats okay. I try, and that is enough.
So, next time your flatmate tosses a coupon at you, do yourself a favour and use it, you can thank me later.