Prayer has always been a really big part of my life.
I didn’t grow up going to church or having anyone tell me about prayer. I just remember, as a little girl, laying in bed and asking the universe to please keep my family safe.
I don’t know how I knew to do that. I just did.
Since then, I have never hesitated to ask God and the universe for the things I want. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of group energy being directed towards a single thought, so I ask others to send their energy and prayers towards things as well.
I mean, it can’t hurt, right?
The part I have missed along the way is meditation.
I never really “got it”. I thought maybe it was like prayer, but then hearing people talk about it, it seemed different. I understood it to be something where you shut off your mind and detach from your body and maybe float around in some existential place until your meditation time was over.
Like I said, I just didn’t get it.
Then, about a year ago, I heard someone say this,
“Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening.”
Something about those words went straight to my soul.
I was in a pretty stressful place during that time. I felt like I was waiting and waiting and waiting on some really big things to happen. I was doing all the right things, progress was being made, I knew my goals and intentions, but it was a daily struggle to get there. Every bump in the road would throw me into doubt and anxiety.
I felt like my prayers had become BEGGING. I was constantly asking and begging and talking to whatever power was out there for answers and a clear path. I was questioning myself constantly if I was doing it right, if I was asking the right things, if I was talking too much or too little.
Have you ever been around a two year old when they are hungry? “I need food! Mom, when’s it going to be ready? I need it now! Is it coming? Can I please have a bite? Mommy, up!”
That was me, and it wasn’t pretty.
My peaceful prayer life had become a constant dialogue of just ME. Talking, questioning, planning, second guessing, asking, yelling, crying and talking some more.
It was anything but peaceful.
I realized I needed to find a better way, and this is where meditation comes in.
I don’t know how to meditate or what the right and wrong way is. I just know I personally need a time every day to be quiet. To turn off the constant inner dialogue in my head and not have an agenda. To just be. This has helped me to find some internal organization in a place that usually feels chaotic.
If you are like me and find yourself wanting to slow down the frantic pace and get a little more in touch with your inner voice, but you know you aren’t going to commit 20 minutes a day to sit on a pillow in the corner while chanting and burning incense, maybe this will help you as well.
How to Meditate When you Don’t Have the Time or Don’t Want To
1. Accept that there is no right or wrong way to meditate
Meditation is simply taking a moment to stop the madness and listen. Listen to the birds, listen to the breeze, listen to the beating of your own heart, listen to whatever little voice may speak to you in that time. You can do it anywhere and anytime that serves you. There is no minimum or maximum time. You don’t need a special meditation corner or pillow (unless you want to!).
I have found the best time for me is first thing in the morning. Instead of rolling over to grab my phone, I just lie on my back with my hand on my belly or my arms open at my sides. I focus on deep breaths and just let myself be. I may repeat a phrase, I may visualize, I may have a conversation with my deeper self. It usually lasts 10 minutes and then I’m running to the shower to get ready before my daughter wakes up.
It sets the tone for the rest of the day and helps me remember that the most important things are not the to do lists or the perfectly packed meals, but rather me being as connected to my purpose and the world as possible. The main point is that you should leave your meditation time more calm and less stressed. If that isn’t happening for you, try something different, and keep trying until you find what works!
2. Chose a phrase to repeat
This is a great place to start if you have a really hard time stopping all the internal chatter or you just have no idea what to do. For me they vary between “Thank you”, “Love” and “Peace”. I’ll work on breathing in and saying “love” to myself, then breathing out and saying “peace”. It helps to keep the internal dialogue at bay and brings a ton of positive energy and vibration into your body. I actually do this throughout the day whenever stress creeps up.
3. Trust that you have an inner voice and that it wants to talk to you
The idea of listening can be a tough one for some people. Believe me, I understand. It’s easy to wonder if you are supposed to get a thunderbolt out of the sky or hear a booming voice saying “You should order pizza instead of Thai food tonight.”
If you’ve ever taken the time to actually hang out with yourself a little, you have probably noticed you have something called an intuition. It’s not by accident we were born with those. It’s your own personal translator between the universe and you. It takes your desires and your purpose and the energy around you and gives you answers when you learn to listen to it. During your meditation time, spend some energy loving yourself and saying “Ok inner voice, I know you are there. I don’t know much about you or how you work, but I trust you have my back. I’m listening if you want to talk.” Then just see what happens. I’m not saying you’ll suddenly have all the answers in life. But you may notice that a choice that previously seemed confusing is suddenly a little more clear.
4. Only good things can come from listening
I have found there are times in my life I don’t want to listen because I am scared of the answer. I have personally decided what I want and when I want it and I don’t want the universe to tell me anything different. So I just keep pushing and moving and churning and hustling instead of stopping and listening and trusting.
Our inner voice, the universe and God only want good things for us. Let me repeat that. The energy force that controls everything in the world wants only good things for you. If you trust and believe that, then listening becomes a little easier. That doesn’t mean life is easy, but it means you can trust the little voice you hear in the quiet times. You can walk away from your meditation time with a more confident walk, more sure steps and more love to give others, because you know undoubtedly that you are loved and you have an AMAZING road ahead of you.