In today’s post I’m going to go over how to find yourself.
I’m not talking about looking in a mirror or opening Google Maps to LOCATE yourself. We are talking about removing distractions and outside interference to let your mind wander, to find yourself.
The human brain is a powerful thing. To take in appreciation for it and not take it for granted is very important. Think of the last day you were at your job. You probably interacted with customers, maybe selling them something or educating them on your business. You might have executed a transaction via cash register or digital point of sale device. These activities were only the sandwich for your brain to process and execute. You had to travel there and back to your home. Traveling is very taxing for the mind. Bad drivers, toll fees, spacial distances, time management, vehicle functionality. Yikes!
With how complicated today’s commercial standards are, it’s a miracle we simply get out of bed in the morning. No wonder Xanax use is at an all time high!
In all the chaos of today’s world it is more important than ever to be comfortable with ourselves and it’s not easy. The media has their own conceptions of perfection and we see supermodel figures while being bombarded with fast food ads in the same breath. Sometimes in tandem!
So to know and find yourself and who you are is key to contemporary sanity.
How do you do it?
Indeed this is difficult and most especially for my generation. Us millenials (I do have great distaste for the generalities of “generations”) have no choice but to be identity fluid. Sometimes for economic reasons (frequent job changes) other times for social acceptance (gender/lifestyle).
The task to find yourself is made easier with meditation.
For practicality and to put some meat onto this post, here is my method for meditation. Doing this often will result in a more relaxed state, a better understanding of your current situation and, hopefully, the goal of finding yourself!
How to meditate:
Step 1. The right time to meditate:
When you have an hour to spare. When, in case you fall asleep, you don’t have anything crucial planned right after. If you know there are no important business calls coming in. Also, if you know school lets out at 3pm and the upstairs neighbor children are going to start stomping around at 4pm, avoid those times.
Step 2. Sensory deprivation:
I suggest a dark room, phone on Do Not Disturb mode with an alarm so you don’t go over time, and wear something comfy and unrestrictive. Sitting cross-legged with your hands on knees is the stereotypical pose, but laying down works, too. The only issue with lying down is if you do it in the evening, you might fall asleep easier and the goal is being just between awake and asleep.
Step 3. Yogic breathing:
Yes, the action you’ve done literally since you were born can be optimized for meditation. Not to say you’re doing it wrong. There’s simply a way to get the most out of the air you have around you.
I’ve used this one to relieve stress for 5 years now.
Always breathe in through your nose. This is true for meditation and every moment of every day. This ensures proper filtration of the air coming in. Less bacteria in = less illness.
There are three sections of your lungs to keep in mind when Yogic breathing. Think of them as belly, chest and shoulders. This is the order in which you want to fill them. First breath every last bit of air OUT of your body until you feel like you’re on the verge of suffocating. This gets all of the used air out of you for the best oxygen intake. Begin breathing in therough your nose from belly-full, chest-full to curling your sho8ulders forward to fill the last bit of lungs. Then breathe it out thru your mouth. Again, get everything out possible. As you get better at Yogic breathing, you can start to hold the breath of air in as well as keep your tongue pressed gently on the top of your mouth. I’m no Yogi, however, energy will go up rather than out when you do this. When I do a full post on Yogic breatthing, I’ll touch on this further, but for now just do all of this the best you can.
Step 4. Extremity recognition:
While concentrating on breathing, your mind might begin to wander already. This is great and sometimes this is enough for a relaxing meditation session.
My experience is that one can go a bit deeper in thought by additionally utilizing extremity recognition. This is the process of acknowledging the existence and current condition of each part of your body. I typically begin with the hands and feet, recognizing each finger and toe, each hand, major joint, limb then the pelvis, torso and neck then head last. For even greater feelings of relief, if you’re super stressed out imagine tightening each part then relaxing as you’re recognizing.
Step 5. The journey:
At the point of recognizing your head, each body part should feel slightly more relaxed. All the while keep up the Yogic breathing. This is where your mind might already be taking you places and if so, don’t stop it. Let your mind freely bring up thoughts/visuals. If it is something about the outside world accept it, recognize it, but let it drift away allowing for the next image. An example is ‘don’t forget to pick up milk from the store’. Let that pass.
Hopefully some of the experience is visual for you at this point. Take note in your mind and consider starting a meditation journal. Refering to something like lthis later might be crucial for putting pieces together about how to find yourself.
If your mind isn’t bringing up any images consider this exercise stimulation:
Imagine a path. It might be on a dirt road in a field, a goat trail in a forest or a camel’s tracks in the sandy desert. Really believe your are there and feel your surroundings. Smell the flowers in the field, see the details of moss growing on the forest’s trees or feel the sand between your feet in the desert. Start to follow the path. Take in the nature around you. No person is around for miles. No animals will hurt you here. You are at one with nature. Your senses are overwhelmed with your surroundings. Your footsteps getting deeper and deeper into nature. On your path imagine you come upon a set of doors. These are doors of memories and insights. Open each and take note as to what is within. Some might have more rooms with more doors. Takes your time and explore.
When you are done exploring, close the doors and come back along the trail from your own personal nature locale. At this point it is time to awaken and move your limbs again: head/neck, torso/pelvis, arms/legs, hands/feet, toes/fingers.
Alright time to wake up!
Hopefully you feel rejuvinated, relaxed. This might have made you tired or perhaps you fell asleep. You might alternatively feel awake, alert, ready for challenges ahead. Now you hopefully have some insight on how to complete the challenges.
How can this help to find myself?
Sometimes the images or opening the doors will reveal things that really connect with you. You might even feel a tingling along your spine when you seel visuals and interact with people while in your meditative state.
Some call this soul seeking, to have your mind relay the importance of particular things or people to you during meditation.
Sixth sense, third eye or whatever you want to tall it, regardless the results can be interesting. Sometimes not completely obvious, however are the meanings of the visuals and feelings.
Society has a stigma talking about this sort of thing as though people seeking greater knowledge about themselves are ‘off’ in the head.
I, on the other hand, encourage you to take what you’ve experienced during meditation and have a conversation with someone. It can be a personal thing so don’t expect just anyone to open up about this subject. Hopefully the more people talk about their meditative experiences the more understanding we will have about ourselves and our own psyches.