Mindfulness Minus "Meditation"
I will be the last person to suggest that meditation is not worth trying more than once. I will also be the last person to suggest that there's one best way to meditate. You really should give meditating a fair shot, and if it isn't your jam, it may very well be that you haven't found the way that resonates best with you. It may also very well be that you are really, really in need of it and your Ego is doing what the Ego does best: resisting for the sake of its dear life.
I'm no different. I go through periods of time where I procrastinate when it comes to my meditation practice. I find reasons to do something else, am conveniently "very busy," or "too tired." I also know myself well enough to recognize that when this is happening in any sort of repetition, I am usually locked in a pattern of fear and meditation is really just the ticket out.
Thankfully, no matter how resistant you are to meditation, mindfulness- the path to presence and ultimately to letting go of our patterns of fear- can be achieved in other ways.
1) Breath. When we bring awareness to our breath, we bring awareness to the moment. Suddenly, we're back. With each exhale, we let go of the moment we were in, and with each inhale, we take in a new moment. Breath is a fabulous tool to bring recognition to our safety when we are in mental distress. As we breathe deeply in, we can take the opportunity to calm our racing heart and reassure ourselves that we are safe in this moment. We're breathing all of the time, so it's a gift often taken for granted. But if you bring awareness (and bonus: gratitude) to your breath, you're instantly in the moment.
2) Wake up to your Compulsions. We all have urges, addictions, automatic responses, knee jerk reactions. When we are triggered into a fear, typically we run or we resist. Distractions and numbing out are coping mechanisms we reach for without any thought. Before we make a change, we need to have compassion for why we posses these mechanisms in the first place. Think of them as survival techniques. You've been triggered by a fear, your Ego automatically assumes you are in danger and it jumps to protect you: this is a good thing if you're being chased by a predator or in physical danger. If, however, you're in mental fear (which is often the case), then feeling your feelings all the way through is far healthier and beneficial than running, resisting, or numbing out. Becoming aware of your urges is another tool back to mindfulness. When you are triggered and slip into fear, go back to your breath and feel your feelings.
3) Get Comfortable with being Uncomfortable. When it comes to feeling emotions we'd rather not feel, a large part of the reason we check out of the moment is because our Ego has assured us we will die if we ride it out. Again, this is a survival technique. Fear, anger, grief- these can all be painful emotions to experience. Sometimes we literally feel the sensations in our bodies, and this is yet another reason why we choose to deflect or resist staying open to the moment. But each time we shut down around that pain, it builds up within our very cells. Think of it like a growth: each time you resist or run from feeling, the growth grows in size and sensitivity, until eventually it's so large it effects multiple parts of your be-ing and your life. Pain and discomfort are part and parcel of being here physically- you can run, but you can't hide. Use the discomfort as a tool to not only your breath, and the present moment, but also as an investigative tool into your life lessons.
4) Accept that your Expectations are just that... Bring an awareness to how you perceive yourself, others, situations, and life in general. Are you always expecting someone to behave a certain way? Do you assume to know what you are and are not capable of? Are you locked into an automatic way of being based on your assumptions of the future? If you are always living from your expectations, then you aren't in the moment, here and now. Work to let go of how you think it should be, and rather, accept how it is. Accept your feelings, accept others' feelings. Your perceptions of how you think it should be are coming from your interpretation, just as others' have their own interpretations. It can be hard for us to see life the same way, and what a boring life it would be if we did! Find gratitude for our different perspectives, they are what allow us to learn from one another and expand our souls. Consider that much of our hardships in life stem from our resistance to acknowledge that multiple perspectives and interpretations exist, and that our expectations are not the be all and end all.
5) Practice Gratitude. You are here, living this life now. That's pretty amazing. The millions of miracles having to occur for your very conception and birth, they're something else. The fact that life exists on this planet at all is amazing. Furthermore, consider that you chose to be here. You chose this life, this body, these sets of circumstances, as they all form the perfect conditions for you to learn the sets of lessons you are meant to learn. There are miracles around you every single day. Take notice, wake up, and bring your awareness to the beauty of every day life. When you practice gratitude, you are inviting the Universe to fill you with that much more to have gratitude for.
Lastly, I have to say it, but there's also... Meditation. Seriously, there are so many ways to approach meditating. It's less of taking on a practice and more of letting go of what isn't you. Or rather, becoming aware of what isn't you. You aren't your thoughts or your racing mind, and meditating is about bringing an awareness to that fact and by extension, the quiet space between your thoughts. When you are in this space of awareness, you are present to the moment. And the present moment is all there is.
Wishing you much presence.
Sat Nam and Light,