Meditation is simply being consciously aware of your actions, thoughts and feelings.

Last week I talked to you about my concept of Flip Over and Float. You might be asking yourself, so how can I get to this point of ease and swimming with the tide propelling me forward? For me, becoming unconstricted, more joyful, and more successful began to float into my lap like a feather once I committed to a daily meditation practice. That is to say when I committed to dedicating twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening to clearing and calming my body and mind.

When I talk to people about a meditation practice, it is usually met with, “I don’t really know what meditation is,” “I can’t sit still,” “I tried and could not do it right.”

So let’s start by clarifying that there are many types of meditation from walking meditation to primordial sound meditation to guided meditation. Many people have the idea that meditation is only sitting cross-legged on a floor pillow, repeating Om a zillion times. It’s not. Meditation is not a religion rather it is a practice of becoming passively aware of your thoughts and your feelings.

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 just to keep a good thing you’ve got going, you become MINDFUL…of what you eat, chemicals you expose yourself to, getting enough sleep, making time for exercise, cooking healthy meals, etc.

Meditation builds your mindfulness muscle. And, unlike food choices, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. You just have to do it!

I like to tell people: If you really want to do something, whatever it is, you will find the time.

And while we’re talking about living healthy, here’s just a snippet of the numerous benefits meditation offers:

  • Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
  • Lowers cortisol and lactate-two chemicals, which are associated with stress and weight gain (especially around your waist. Good-bye potbelly!)
  • Reduces free radical damage
  • Drops cholesterol levels
  • Improves airflow to 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, for me meditation creates space, possibility, and relief in my 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 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, while at the same time producing many other healthy benefits. 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. At first it was hard: there were noises, interruptions, and endless thoughts. I thought I must be doing it wrong. Don’t let the distractions deter you; everything doesn’t 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. Now I meditate for forty-five minutes every day, and my life has been transformed from this practice.

Tips for Setting the Meditation Mood

  1. Pick a regular time you can commit to every day.  Make a recurring “me-time” appointment on your calendar
  2. Set the timer on your phone so you will not look at the clock. Start with five minutes and build up to twenty
  3. Find a quiet place and get comfortable, or, as I like to say, “Just Get Your Butt on the Pillow”
  4. Turn the lights down and light a candle
  5. Take a whiff of lavender or your favorite essential oil
  6. Spend the first few minutes asking yourself: “Who am I”, “What do I really want”, and “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”
  7. 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.
  8. Pop in a guided meditation if that suits you better. Some people find it easier when they first start meditating to use the guided meditations.

That’s it!

Do you meditate? Or do you want to but have been afraid to try? Please share your experience. Would love to hear from you.

Check out Terri Cole and Ashley Turner’s new three-month group-coaching program, which starts on May 9, 2012. Special guests will include Kris CarrDanielle LaPorteJessica OrtnerSeane CornKate Northrup, and Mama Gena.

Terri Cole, founder and CEO of Live Fearless and Free, is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Recently, Terri released her first CD “Meditation Transformation.” She is writing her first solo book “Flip Over and Float—Transform Fear into Freedom in 6 Simple Steps for Sustainable Change” and co-hosting Live Your Truth Love Your Life with yoga psychologist Ashley Turner. Terri is set to appear in Lifetime Network’s new show “The Conversation.” Terri can be found on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.