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Have 5 Minutes to Change Your Life? – Cultivate Your Intuition with Meditation

“Leap and the net will appear.”

– John Burroughs (1837 – 1921)

Last week we talked about getting curious about what’s going on in our lives by asking ourselves 6 questions. (You can learn them here.)

That was about recognizing out feelings through observing our actions.

But once you notice that one or more of these things is happening in your life, then what? What are you supposed to do?

That’s where you’re intuition (and meditation) comes in.

But what the heck is intuition, really? And why is listening to your intuition so important to living a happy life?

Have you ever been in a relationship that you were in for far too long? After it ended, you saw all the red flags, and you kicked yourself for not leaving sooner?

That was your intuition trying to tell you something.

Ready to take the leap? Here’s the net: Join the 21 Day Tea Ritual Challenge. Click here to learn more.

When we’re in the middle of a relationship where there are high highs and low lows, sometimes we push away the feelings we don’t want to see.

Those things we ignore, our willingness to ignore the answers to those 6 questions we talked about last week, mean we don’t always hear our intuition telling us something.

When we can’t hear or don’t follow that still and quiet voice of intuition, that’s when we may make poor choices for ourselves.

That’s why it’s important that we learn to hear and follow our intuition.

Some believe intuition is “woo woo” or mystical, but it’s not. It’s that voice that tells you whether something feels right.

We must become quiet to feel whether something is right or true for us.

But how do we do that? How do we cultivate that inner voice that tells us when we’re straying off the path we’re meant to be on?

Ready to take the leap and start cultivating that inner voice? Join the 21 Day Tea Ritual Challenge. Click here to learn more.

Whatever you do, don’t make me meditate.

When I was a little girl, my parents told me about meditation. My dad even gave me a cassette tape on meditation and relaxation.

I never used it.

First of all, I couldn’t sit still that long.

Second, I felt like I was supposed to shut my brain down, and I felt like I wasn’t good at it, so why bother? (No one likes to do something that they stink at; it’s not good for the ego.)

Third, I never saw my parents do it. It’s difficult to learn something from teachers who don’t practice what they preach.

Then I grew up, and I realized I’d had it wrong all these years. It wasn’t about shutting my mind down, it was about watching what was happening in my mind.

Our thoughts go all over the place. How could anyone expect us to totally shut that crazy train down?

When I started teaching meditation, I didn’t like to call it that. I still don’t because I think the word meditation freaks people out.

When you hear the word “meditation,” what comes to mind? Buddhists sitting for hours on a mountaintop in their robes? Hippies wearing dirty clothes in tents at a colony? Holier than thou yuppies who think they’re enlightened?

Maybe you imagine all three. 🙂

I think the current culture is the best it’s been for the “M” word. But the word “meditation” still has stigma for some.

Contrary to some people’s belief, there’s no religion attached to meditation. It’s getting quiet, so you can hear that little voice of intuition telling us what’s going well in our life, and what needs to change. Sure, meditation and prayer have places in just about (if not all) religions, but you can practice meditation without being religious or teaching religion.

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Why meditation is the key to cultivating your intuition.

We have tens of thousands of thoughts each day. About 95% of those thoughts are the same ones we have all the time. These are automatic thoughts that we have each day that clutter our brain. When our brain’s on autopilot, our brain is less attuned to our intuition.

Our intuition isn’t as forceful as these automatic thoughts, so we have to make room in our brain to hear it. Think of intuition as your friend trying to talk to you during a concert. You may or may not hear her depending on how loud the music is at the time.

Meditation helps us turn down the automatic thoughts, or the rock concert, happening in our brain. The best part is, you don’t have to meditate all the time to feel the benefits.

Getting still and quiet for one or two times a day helps us practice seeing our thoughts for what they are – just thoughts. They come and go. They don’t mean much except for the importance we attach to them.

This week-end I was spending time with 5 fantastic girlfriends for a Bachelorette party in a cabin in the mountains. Everyone contributed something to the celebration that week-end whether it was food, wine, decorations, etc. The story I tell myself (one of the 95% of thoughts running through my brain) is that I’m inconsiderate and don’t contribute as much as other people. My reaction is to go out of my way to be considerate and contribute.

At more than one point during the week-end I felt like I wasn’t pulling my own weight. But then I paused and looked at reality versus what I was telling myself. I brought cookie gifts for everyone, I tidied up, I asked if anyone needed help packing things into their trucks for the drive home. And why would these wonderful women be my friend all these years if they didn’t think I was wonderful too?

Meditation helps us pause to separate the stories running in our head – those stories we continually tell ourselves – and let us see reality more clearly.

That’s part of intuition; seeing what’s in front of you more clearly.

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Us girls enjoying a day at Juniper Lake in Lassen National Forest. This lovely photo was taken by the even lovlier Melita Ann Sagar.

So how the heck am I supposed to get quiet to hear my intuition when my brain won’t…shut…up…?

Let’s set some expectations.

1. Know that when you try to get quiet, you don’t need to shut up your brain. Getting quiet is about noticing where our thoughts wander and feeling the feelings that might come up even if they’re uncomfortable. It’s not about stopping your thoughts.

2. There’s no medal of honor for the best meditator. This is not a competition to meditate “right” or the longest.

3. This is a practice. Not even the most devout Buddhist monk sitting on a mountain top started sitting quietly for hours at a time. It’s about baby steps and about being compassionate towards yourself. Start meditation for 3 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and so on.

OMG, please don’t make me do this.

Are you hitting some resistance? That’s totally normal.

If you’ve read this far, you’re curious. You want to know more about yourself. The fastest way to learn about what’s going on in your life is to make time to meditate. Oops, sorry, I used the “M” word.

Once you start seeing what’s going on in your life, you can’t look away.

Alright, it’s time to dive in.

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We’re going to do a meditation together. I want to set you up for success in your personal meditation practice, so here are 7 tips for a 5 minute a day mediation.

  1. Find a quiet place. Sometimes I like to listen to music in my headphones when finding a quiet place isn’t possible. Something soft and relaxing works well.

  2. Sit comfortably. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a chair or sit on the floor cross-legged or with your legs straight out. You just want to be comfortable. I like to sit on my pillow and cross my legs. This allows my hips to be higher than my knees, and that’s the most comfortable for me.

  3. Sit up tall. Resist the urge to lay down. You’ll just want to fall asleep.

  4. Begin with a deep breath in and then open your mouth with a big sigh. This relaxes your body making it easier to close your eyes.

  5. Breath. One way to start your practice is to watch your breath mentally as it’s inhaled, then watch it as it exhales. Count one through ten while doing this.

  6. When you hear thoughts spinning in your head (notice I said “when” NOT “if” – this is expected), notice what’s happening. Once you notice that you’re going through your grocery list, say to yourself, “Huh, that’s interesting.” Then bring your focus back to your breath. Focus on your breath going in and out of your nose.

  7. You can set a gentle alarm on your phone to bring you back from your meditation. 10 breaths equals one minute, so this may give you an estimate of how long you’ve been seated quietly.

This practice of becoming still, even for short periods of time, WILL help you cultivate that pause in your thinking. You’ll slowly find that you react less to the information you take in and start to see the reality of the situation more clearly.

Ready to take the leap and start cultivating your intuition? Join the 21 Day Tea Ritual Challenge. Take 10 minutes a day for yourself starting now. Click here to learn more.

Lots of love,

Dina

 

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