After many years of "trying" to meditate I've finally figured out how to make it actually doable for me.
Truth be told, I never read a book or ever officially tried to learn how to meditate. I always thought it was just about focusing on my breath and trying to clear the mind.
I recently listened to a great book called "10% Happier" by Dan Harris. If you are skeptical about meditating, worried you can't do it, or just plain don't see the point, I highly recommend you read this book!
I learned lots of cool stuff from this book, and it's highly entertaining, but the main thing that rocked my world is what I would call "narrating your life".
I'm not a meditation guru so I'm not even sure if I'm doing it "right". But what I have been doing has been pure fun and actually makes me WANT to meditate; to even look forward to it! And in my opinion, with narrating my life I've been able to "meditate" all day long!
What I do is to simply narrate what is going on with each passing second (in my head of course).
So for example, as I was just making my veggie juice it went something like this:
"Slicing peppers, feeding into the juicer, feeding celery into juicer, I like the smell, the juicer is making sounds, hello Duke (my dog), feeding parsley into my juicer, the juicer vibrates, feeding collard greens into juicer, the leaves are soft and cold, it is raining, spacing out (ie: lost the inner narration for a few seconds), I have a ton of work to do, that is stressful for me, the stress is good, I am excited about my work, finishing juicing, my feet feel warm in my slippers",....etc
Now, to any outside person, this is incredibly boring. But to me it is eternally satisfying. Don't ask me why. As I do a play-by-play in my head, I am more present in the moment than ever before. I am noticing sensations and feelings surrounding the most mundane things you can imagine. And it is totally addictive!
I can do this and still move at a decent pace but I notice it is slowing everything down. I'm in the moment. This (to me) is the formally elusive formula to being in the moment and it's so cool!!
I suddenly notice and appreciate all kinds of smells and sounds (lots of sounds: refrigerator humming, birds chirping, dog breathing, computer keys clicking, car passing, something beeping, rain). It almost feels surreal to be hearing all those things at once. It slows down everything and makes me feel hyper-aware.
I compare this to my normal functioning where I rush about, doing things as quickly as possible (yes, I drive fast, talk fast, type fast, move fast, do everything fast) and meanwhile my mind is elsewhere, racing around as well. When you narrate your life you suddenly are acutely in the moment and you are not worrying or fretting about anything. It's the ultimate slow-down and mind occupier, but the beauty of it is that it's not boring and it doesn't feel slow. Sensations are coming and going and new things are popping up in my horizon constantly.
Now I know my true task is to focus on one of those things for longer than a nanosecond. But I've found that that this is also easier than it ever has been in the past. Yesterday as I was sitting in my car I found myself mesmerized by the sight, sound, and vibrations of the windshield wipers' work. My mind was empty, just observing those things and that's it. Cool stuff!
The cool thing is that my resting heart rate (RHR) was 58 this morning and my heart rate variability (HRV) was 71. That is pretty awesome considering that lately those 2 numbers have been in reverse, which is not good. The HRV should be higher than the resting heart rate and the higher it is, the better (within reason of course). For someone my age (47) with my fitness level my RHR should be below 60. Lately that has not been the case since I've been so busy. But one day of serious narration and a 20 minute formal meditation session improved those stats very quickly.
This whole thing can be applied to food as well. The more mindful we are when eating, the less we'll eat. Paying attention to the smell, taste, and texture of foods while eating will also bring you to eating better tasting and better quality food. Pay attention to how it really tastes and you will see that most junk food actually does NOT taste good, whereas nutrient-dense food provides a much more pleasurable experience. If you don't believe me, give it a try.
So...I highly recommend you give it a try. If you have any questions about this contact me. It's super easy to do.