The Anti-Resolution for Meditators: 5 Vows You Can Keep
Are you guilting yourself into meditating this year? Making yourself do 20 minutes of meditation every day so you can be as successful as Steve Jobs and Oprah?
Well, here are five meditation vows that you will want to do. You won’t be running off guilt, you can plunge deep into hedonism while still enjoying the benefits of regular meditation!
Number 1: Eat more chocolate.
Chocolate meditations are a blend of sensory indulgence and mindfulness. Try this meditation if you are seeking joy and indulgence in everyday experiences and you want to experience simple things with intense awareness. To prepare, buy at least one chocolate Lindt Ball of any flavour (I’m a chocaholic so I usually eat about four). Enjoying the textures and tastes will remind you how much fun eating is and how lucky you are to eat every day.
The Lindt Chocolate Meditation
Step One. Place the chocolate Lindt ball in its wrapper into the palm of your hand. Notice how it feels against your skin. Take a look at the wrapper carefully. Consider how heavy the chocolate is.
Step Two. Pick up the wrapped chocolate between your thumb and fingers. Can you feel how hard or soft the chocolate is? Can you feel it warming or cooling as you hold it?
Step Three. Start to unwrap the chocolate and notice the sound of twisting the wrapper. With the wrapper underneath, take a good look at the chocolate. Notice any contours and the texture of the chocolate. What markings does the chocolate have? Is it the same colour all the way across its surface? Is it shiny or dull?
Step Four. Now hold the chocolate under your nose and notice if the Lindt chocolate has a fragrance.
Step Five. Place the chocolate in your mouth and on your tongue. What is its texture in your mouth? What does it taste like?
Step Six. As the saliva moves across your mouth, you might notice the casing of the chocolate pop as the second layer of the Lindt ball comes to the centre. Feel free to bite the chocolate and pay attention to the flavours and the feel of the chocolate in your mouth.
Step Seven. As the flavour intensity diminishes, keep noticing all the small sensations in your mouth. As we come to the end of this chocolate meditation, focus on your breath. As you inhale and exhale, consider how you can take close attention to the joys of sensory meditation throughout your day.
Number 2: Enjoy swearing. Get angry, get even tempered.
When I come home from work and I am angry, I like to do a hip-hop angry purge. After the hip-hop meditation I feel like my anger has been expressed and am ready to enjoy my time at home. Try this meditation when you are frustrated, annoyed and angry. Get to a clearer mental state so that you can enjoy time at home and not carry stress on to loved ones. Not only will you be purging angry thoughts, but you are also developing your focus and letting the day’s stresses recede.
To prepare, download two hip hop songs you like. Consider if offensive language will be therapeutic or off-putting and select according to your preference. Queue your two songs. It is best if the first song has some interesting or angry lyrics. Queue the next song to have a rhythmic beat or some bass to it.
The Hip Hop Meditation
Step One. Make yourself comfortable. Take three deep breaths.
Step Three. Press play on your music. Close your eyes. Focus your mind on the song lyrics. As your mind wanders, bring your mind back to the lyrics. Concentrate on every word.
Step Four. For the second song, concentrate on the beat of the music. Let the lyrics wash over you as you hear for every beat of the song.
Step Five. Once the songs finish, take 3 deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.
Number 3: Sit on the couch more, just like Bridget Jones.
New years resolutions insinuate that you are not good enough as you are. Are you scared to dream, scared to fail and scared to succeed this year? Change your mindset from contraction to expansion with this Bridget Jones meditation. In Bridget Jones’ Diary, Colin Firth says the ultimate compliment to the lazy ambitious, “I like you very much. Just as you are.” So how do you inspire yourself while still appreciating yourself? This Bridget Jones meditation creates a win-win because you can dare to dream but you can still justify your position at the end of the year as having lived by some worthy values.
The Bridget Jones Meditation
Step One. Sit on your couch. Take a few minutes to breathe, observing the breath in, and out.
Step Two. In your mind, think of a dream you have. What are the reasons why you haven’t been moving towards that dream? Is your self-belief holding you back?
Step Three. Think of three good values that are holding you back from your dream. For example, humility, stability and comfortability. Now replace each value with another value you will need to develop to achieve your dream. For example, resilience, perseverance and dedication.
Step Four. As you end the meditation, commit to putting these new values into practice. What is one task you can do today that will demonstrate a step towards your dream?
Take a chance on your dreams! And if you never hit the goal, be your own Colin Firth, love yourself just the way you are.
Number 4: Stop feeling guilty by others, peel off your band aids.
Feeling shame is hiding, concealing, covering. This visualisation meditation puts an image to the feeling of guilt and frees yourself up to peel away the shame.
Are you regretful of hurting others or feeling a sense of foreboding and disharmony? Let’s re-examine shame as a short term problem, you have control of how you feel. Discover how other people’s expectations have also been put onto you but you can peel it off.
The Band Aid Meditation
Step One. Think of a time you felt shame and imagine putting a small thin band aid on your skin, wherever you feel the emotional pain. Think of another time you felt shame and again, place a small thin band aid. Continue until you feel like you have explored the occurrences and the people who you felt shame from.
Step Two. In your mind’s eye, look down at your body and see the small band aids. Select a band aid, and gently peel it off. Scrunch the band aid into a small ball and throw it into the bin. Look down at the patch of skin and see how it looks fresh and in a few hours it will look unmarked and unblemished.
Step Three. You can peel away more band aids, if you feel ready or leave the remaining band aids for another meditation. Recall how the band aids are held on loosely and some of the band aids may have been put on you by others. But they are easily peeled away.
Number 5: Skip the gym and go to sleep peacefully.
Do you lie in bed thinking about all the activities you have to do the next day? Thinking of all the stuff you have to pack into your gym bag? And then you get stressed because you need to stop thinking and fall asleep to have the energy to get through the day. When you feel like a self-saboteur at night, having relentless thoughts, this counting meditation helps stabilise your mind.
What I like about the zen ten is that you create a win-win situation so that sleeping or not sleeping are both beneficial. There are only two modes in this zen exercise: meditating or sleeping and these are both healthy. A disclaimer, it is remarkably similar to counting sheep.
The Zen Ten Meditation
Step One. Get comfortable in bed, in your sleeping position.
Step Two. Begin a counting meditation. After you breathe in and out, count one. You just say the word one in your mind, not aloud. Breathe in and out, two. Breathe in and out, three. Continue breathing and counting. If you lose your count, start at one again.
Note: There is no need to fixate on the number; you are just letting the numbers and the breaths, wash over you. You are breathing and counting and relaxing. If you count up to a high number, you are honing your focus skills. If you keep starting at zero, you may be drifting into sleep. There is no pressure, no worries. Just relaxing.