Last week I went to a class on mindfulness meditation. You might remember that learning how to meditate is something I’ve been interested in for awhile. You might also remember that learning how to meditate terrified me, because I was afraid of doing it wrong. Somehow, for me, meditation feels almost magical or mystical. And magical or mystical feels well beyond me!
But then there I was last week, in the Rev. Dr. Viviana Collazo’s monthly meditation class in MetroWest. And, guess what? It wasn’t difficult! It wasn’t beyond me! What did we do? We breathed. We focused on counting our breath. We focused on observing sounds we could hear. And I left feeling relaxed and more centered! A number of times since then I’ve felt myself going a little too fast, being a little too caught up in the cyclone of thoughts in my head. At these moments I’ve reminded myself to close my eyes and just count my breaths. It’s impressive how well it works for me!
Maybe part of the problem is our focus on the word meditation. That feels like something you do, and probably something that takes time, time that you might feel like you don’t have! What if instead we focused on the word mindfulness?
Mindfulness might feel like something you do, but it might also feel like a philosophy of life. Because really, the goal of mindfulness is being present, being aware, being in the moment and focused on the moment. And we don’t have to take any extra time to do that! So if you’re wanting to be mindful (or even meditate), but feel there’s not enough time, take a look at this article by Karen Exhorn. In addition to giving a great overview of mindfulness, Karen talks about an easy breathing technique you can do even if you don’t have time, explains how to make mindfulness a part of what you’re already doing, and even gives scientific evidence of the benefits of mindfulness for those who think it’s all rather new age-y.
Maybe you’ve decided you want to start being mindful or meditating, but you feel like you don’t know how (just like me)! I like the reminders in this article from Eden Kozlowski. Her 4 tips for starting a meditation practice include dropping expectations before you start (don’t worry, you’ll reap benefits, but don’t focus on them at the start!), recognizing it will take time to feel comfortable (that’s why they call it practice), and accepting that there’s not just one way to meditate!
If you’re looking for ways to learn meditation in Orlando, there are a surprising number of options for meditation and mindfulness classes (these mostly focus on Downtown and Southwest Orlando). In addition to the Rev. Dr. Viviana Collazo’s monthly meditation class in MetroWest (1st Tuesdays), consider Breathing and Meditation with Edely Wallace Saturday mornings, Mindfulness Meditation with Dr. Rose Thorn on Wednesday nights, Vipassana Meditation Downtown Thursday nights, the CommUnity Center’s crystal singing bowl meditations (multiple days), or the Vajrapani Kadmpa Buddhist Center (many days)! Orlando Insight Meditation also teaches periodic classes and seminars, and that’s just a sample!
So, if you want to meditate or be mindful, what are you waiting for?! Start with a local class and see where it takes you! And if one location isn’t for you, give another one a shot – not all meditation is the same! Can’t find a class convenient for you? Try a meditation app like Headspace or, if you only have two minutes, unplug with this website. Regardless, if you’ve been wanting to try meditation, we encourage you to take the leap! And if you find that you want an Orlando counselor to join you on your path to Orlando meditation and Orlando mindfulness, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando, 407-355-7378. Cindy Fabico and our other counselors frequently recommend meditation and would love to join you on your journey!
Yours in this moment, Krista Bringley