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5 Simple Tips That Helped Me Reach Deeper Meditation

Feb 28, 2022

I once despised the stillness. In hindsight, I realize now it was everything I could do to keep moving and juking and distracting myself away from the inner work. In a fateful moment my body finally screamed at me — after years of harboring deep tension and humming on stuck, gear-grinding emotions. I believe that the sitting, slowing and sinking into a deep state of soft introspection and decompression from a lifetime of running from our emotions is one of the most impactful yet heavy steps we can take to heal from the ground up. From the wounds up. 

Below are five things that have culminated in my own little sense of meditation/mindfulness mastery (though I am far from a master, but I say that relative to where I once was). Not only did these tips get me to move beyond the mind in my practice — they also helped me drop expectations and disappointment when meditating did not go perfectly for me (whatever the hell that means right). 

  1. Tune Into Sound. The moment I turned to a raw vegan, high fruit, living foods lifestyle this principle started to jump out at me. Suddenly I could hear with intense openness and precision. I had a new appreciation for the sounds of life that flutter all around me all day. From the subtle buzzing of a cozy fire to the rippling little waves of my own breath, everything was illuminated. When meditating, if my mind is wild, remembering this immediately smooths the process of sinking in. Just HEAR. Don’t force it by listening, there’s a difference. You don’t need to understand or interpret anything. Let sound wash over you and into you. Be a bystander to all sound. Let it swell and vibrate into your entire body. The soothing voice of a guided meditation, the pings of sound healing instruments, the sound of birds chirping or even a baby crying. Everything is music. Fall deep into sound. Once I learned to do this, without a forced focus, I found myself sinking into a deep state.

  2. Turn Your Eyes Off. This usually easily accompanies the sound immersion technique. It’s a natural next step and it is the key to getting beyond body, becoming aware of the endless ocean of stardust that twinkles in and around our physical selves. This is a common instruction I’ve heard in various yoga classes over the years. It worked so well for me in classes that I naturally took it home. The moment we tune into sound and the monkey mind slows down, try this: Let your eyeballs sink to the back of your head. As if you are turning them off. Shutting them down. We need nothing of the twitchy, overexerted eyes when we’re diving inward. I find my eyes are above and beyond willing to rest as fully and heavy as possible here. If you imagine them going offline, dropping to the very back of your skull, I believe you can find endless decompression like you’ve never felt before. 

  3. Breathe Through the Heels. And up the entire back of the body — pulsing breath through the calves, spine and through the back of the brainstem to the crown. This was a technique mentioned in a recent guided meditation and it allowed my diaphragmatic breathing to naturally deepen. I used to struggle often with an “air hunger” problem and spent most of my life inverse breathing. I still occasionally struggle with belly breathing as I work the thick layers of re-learning how to breathe. For whatever reason, visualizing my breath traveling up through my heels to wind up the posterior side of my body helped immensely with elongated, oxygenated breathing, allowing me to stray further still from the busy mind. 

  4. Be a Gentle, Subtle Mind Spy. It’s easy to get discouraged when the mind runs awry. It’s easy to become judgmental of ourselves and to beat ourselves up. If you’re anything like me, you’re here trying to meditate to work on this very issue. So the struggle of self condemnation is counterintuitive — to say the least. When I read Ehckardt Tolle’s The Power of Now, the emphasis on detaching from the mind changed how I meditated (and lived) forever. What a relief to know that we are NOT our minds. We are so unconsciously threaded into this notion, that we are what we think. This inappropriate identification with the mind fuels so much self strife and ultimately powers down our self love. The game changer for me was this weird little party trick: anytime rogue thoughts float into my headspace I visualize that I am softly standing behind a tree, watching my mind at work. I am literally imagining myself being physically detached from it, from an understanding vantage point of simple observing. When I type this it sounds nutty. But I have found relief, release and opened many a heart-centered meditation moments with this freaky little technique. 

  5. Detach From Your Highs. When I first started reaching deeper states of meditation I experienced counter-clockwise spinning. I had experienced this once before during acupuncture. These experiences, in their infancy,  terrified me. I felt vulnerable and out of control — similar to some of the onset of chronic illness symptoms. I later realized this was obviously the result of the inertia of energy blockages moving and shifting in my physical body. When I realized this, I started to go toward it. Seek it. I loved it and felt accomplished every time I spun. If I can put any words to the fleeting feeling, it’s a blissful tumbling in the throws of a gently thrashing wave — with none of the human resistance that would normally surmount. Pure magic, really. As I started expectantly grasping for this experience it become unattainable. This was an early lesson in detachment from the highs. You’re going to experience unique episodes of elation, intense emotional releases, childhood healing/revisiting and unbelievable states of relaxation and floating. It’s best to not rely on or become addicted to any of these sensations. When I retrained to go in blindly again, these wonderful experiences started to return here and there and now in different ways. If you need help with this one, go back through tips 1-4.

Until we slow up to sit down with ourselves and really sink into surrender, I don’t know how we can otherwise soothe the busy layers of past self suffering. They will continue to plaque up until we break down to the bone. This, if you couldn’t tell, is my experiential tone. 

Cradle your burnout. Turn off your overactive brain. Create the space and time to just be. If "productivity" is your unforgiving creed — like it was mine — stillness is one of the most productive things you can do with your time. I believe when this concept clicks then you are finally truly ready to start loosening the rusty locks your body has been brilliantly but woefully harboring — honoring your indulgent soul. These practical tweaks have led me into a stronger practice of presence when I make time to dive beyond my physical body. 

I wish you loads of love and patience on your unique road to finding stillness. Trust me when I say, it is where you are hiding. 

 

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