Project Zen: Motherhood and Meditation

Jan
17
2012
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths — Etty Hillesum 

I know my blog is The Zen Mom, but being zen doesn’t come naturally for me. I’d like to think I’m optimistic and balanced person but being zen is something I have to work at. One of my goals for this year was to be more peaceful, more zen if you will.

We’re all busy and as moms we are not only busy for ourselves, but usually busy for our families taking care of the things that most people don’t even notice.  Life moves fast-with the house, our husbands, our kids schedules, our work or just responsibilities, then on top of that keeping up with friends, our social networks, television, technology, our hobbies, whatever. It can be exhausting.

So this week on Project Zen we are focusing on stillness.   I just came back from a Primordial Sound Mediation retreat at The Chopra Center.  I wanted to share some of the things I learned and what brought me to this place.

I’ve done yoga for years, but have never done meditation, okay maybe I’ve sat in a room trying to be peaceful and quiet only to have my to do list run through my head, but I never had an actual mediation practice.   I always thought I’m busy enough who has time to meditate.  If I have extra time I rather workout or pamper myself, but this year I realized I need to make time to hear myself.  By slowing things down a bit, I might actually find I have more time rather than less.

I started with the free 21 day guided meditation challenge-(2013 update) Perfect Health with Oprah and Deepak (starts May 11) studies have shown it takes 21 days of consistent behavior to change a habit or create a new one.  This is different than the Primordial Mediation I did this weekend, but the guided mediations are very enlightening and soothing. It’s free and a new challenge will start any day now. (I will update my blog and Facebook once the new challenge starts) I loved that it was online and that I could access it anytime.

They open you up to questions in your life

Who are you?

What do you want?

What is your purpose in life?

How can you serve?

After this weekend I am now committed to meditating 30 minutes in the morning 30 minutes at night.  It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m going for it. While you may not want to take up a formal meditation practice I think it’s important to take some time to be still.  Whether it’s just 5 or 10 minutes in the morning or in the evening or just taking some time in your car to hear our inner voice.  Close your eyes, breathe and listen to yourself. Here are few things I learned this weekend that helped put mediation into perspective.

-Meditation is not about forcing the mind to be quiet; rather it’s a process to rediscover the quietness that’s already there.

-Don’t worry if you sit down to be still and your brain won’t be quiet.  The human brain has about 70,000 thoughts a day.  Mediating is not about not having any thoughts, but rather slowing them down.

-To live a more balanced life we need to focus more on being than doing.

If you like to learn more about how you can make it work in your life.  Check out my guest post on The Chopra Center Blog.  Meditation and Motherhood: Making It Work In Your Life.

(Update: The link is down so here is the post.-We’re all busy, life moves fast-with our work, our families, or just responsibilities, then on top of that keeping up with friends, our social networks, television, technology, our hobbies, whatever. It can be exhausting.
One of my goals this year was to be more peaceful, more zen if you will. You would think that since my blog is The Zen Mom being zen would come naturally for me. Well it doesn’t and that is the whole point of my blog- How do you keep the balance in your life in the midst of the parenting chaos? It’s about the daily journey. So a few months ago I decided to start exploring meditation.
I’ve done yoga for years, but have never done meditation, okay maybe I’ve sat in a room trying to be peaceful and quiet only to have my to do list run through my head, but nothing specific.   I always thought I’m busy enough who has time to meditate.  If I have extra time I rather workout or pamper myself, but this year I realized I need to make time to hear myself.  By slowing things down a bit, I might actually find I have more time rather than less.
I started with the free 21 day guided meditation challenge- There’s a new one starting on Feb. 20th. I loved it! The guided mediations were very enlightening, soothing and I liked that I could access them online on my schedule. Then it peaked my interest so I went to the Primordial Sound Meditation Weekend last month (which is different than the guided meditations). . I learned a few things I’d like to share.
-Meditation is not about forcing the mind to be quiet; rather it’s a process to rediscover the quietness that’s already there.
-Don’t worry if you sit down to be still and your brain won’t be quiet.  The human brain has about 70,000 thoughts a day.  Mediating is not about not having any thoughts, but rather slowing them down.
-To live a more balanced life we need to focus more on being than doing
If you want to hear the weekend itself, here’s a link. So discovering meditation is great, getting away from the weekend is great, but how do you make it a part of your life, especially as a mom? Well, it hasn’t been easy.
After the weekend I committed to meditating 30 minutes in the morning 30 minutes at night. With 2 kids under 4, the challenge was finding the time before they woke up and the energy after they went to bed. I thought the morning would be harder since they wake up at between 6 and 7 am and getting up at 5:30 didn’t sound like fun. But I committed and set my alarm early. Most days it works, but there are some days where they wake up early and I get interrupted or I end up hitting snooze. My excuse is usually that I’m too tired, but then I try to remember the fact that they say meditating for half an hour provides more psychological rest than a full night’s sleep.  And who couldn’t use more rest? So it’s a work in progress, but I am still committing to my practice. At night it was actually more difficult for me, usually on the weekends. There was never a good time to break away from family to meditate for 30 minutes. I know that sounds like another excuse and it was, but it made me feel discouraged every time I missed an evening meditation.
So for now I have shifted my goal, I am committed to at least 30 minutes in the morning working up to day and night. I think it’s important to not be so hard on ourselves. Isn’t that the point of meditation to be more peaceful, especially with ourselves? As a Type A person this is hard for me, but I need to remember why I decided to start a meditation practice. So if you’re thinking about starting something just start and know you may hit some roadblocks, and when you do don’t give up! How do you find stillness and how are you making it work in your life? I’d love to hear your comments.

Happy Stillness!)

*TZM was not paid for this post, all thoughts are my own.

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4 thoughts on “Project Zen: Motherhood and Meditation

  1. One of the reasons that I love yoga and meditation is that they are the only ways that I have found to quiet my mind. I, however, and horrible at practicing regularly. Confession: I haven’t done either in a year. Can you guess how my mind has been lately?? Thank you for this post. You’ve ignited a little flame in me and I think I may try to carve out some zen time this week.

    • I’m so glad it was able to inspire you. Good Luck. Confession: I had been doing great, but I skipped last night because I was just too tired! I know excuses excuses, but now I know I just have to start earlier and not get so caught up on the computer. This morning I did meditate and I feel great. Let me know how it goes for you. I am just starting on this journey too.

  2. Pingback: The Chopra Center: Primordial Sound Meditation Weekend | The Zen Mom

  3. Pingback: The Chopra Center: Primordial Sound Meditation Weekend | The Zen Mom

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