“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”~ Bruce Lee on meditation
2020 feels like Stephen King met Martin Scorsese for brunch, and they created this unbelievable year where every day a new, gut-wrenching surprise unfolds. We gasp and sigh on a daily basis. We literally live day-to-day because no one knows what tomorrow will bring. We are headed towards the end of June, and March is when things came to a halt.
In this time, people have lost friends and family to coronavirus. Between rising unemployment and missed proms, graduations, as well as postponed/Zoom weddings, we are learning to cope with the new norm. I’d like to believe that most people are grateful for what’s working for them — be it health, paycheck, family, and friends. But it is humanly impossible to not be emotionally impacted by the status quo while living with the unknown.
Most people I have spoken with tell me that the sameness has started to feel droning. Be it cooking, work deadlines, house chores, workouts, or even buying groceries. Monotony can be quite the crusher of motivation. Several others I have spoken with confessed that they’ve become dependent on alcohol or tobacco or food addictions during these unprecedented times. The fact is that work-from-home and limited time spent outside the house also means excessive and mindless indulgence in news and social media. While we are busier, we are also bored.
How do you feel anchored during times where every moment feels out of control? How do you find calm when the world around you feels like it has been set on fire? How do you protect your energy and sanity when frenzy seems to be the word of the year?
You might find a friend in meditation.
If you are wondering, no, meditation won’t turn you into a better, different, or new person. Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. You don’t stop feeling or thinking because of meditation; you learn to observe your thoughts without any judgment or criticism.
Meditation changes both the function and structure of the brain to support self-control. It can help improve focus and attention; as a result, it can reduce fatigue. It reduces stress levels and alleviates anxiety. It calms your nerves and allows the brain to process the information it has soaked up from over-engaging with Zoom, phone calls, social media, or the news. When your nerves are relaxed and your body is happy, you process information the “right” way. Because your brain isn’t reacting to outside stimulation, you are more tuned into what YOU want.
Meditation teaches you to be present in the moment. It can help protect your energy. Did you know that meditation benefits cardiovascular and immune health and promotes a healthy lifestyle?
Meditation is like any other skill. It takes consistent practice to get comfortable. I invite you to take out 10 minutes every day. Set an alarm, so the monkey-brain doesn’t keep nagging, “Are we done yet?” Close your eyes and focus on your breath. You can sit or lie down. Thoughts will arise. Observe, not judge them. Every time that your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath.
Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an international speaker, best-selling author of 12 books, and Ayurveda and mindset coach is a wellness columnist for SEEMA and committed to helping people thrive on their own terms. As a trusted source on health and wellness, most recently appearing on NBC and Radio Lifeforce, Sweta has dedicated her career to writing about and teaching a more holistic approach to creativity, productivity, health, and nutrition. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and other publications across nine countries. Sweta is a trained yogi and certified Ayurveda health coach and holds a Master’s in Strategic Communications from Columbia University. Voted as “One of the Most Influential Asians of Our Times” and winner of the “Voices of the Year” award (past recipients have been Chelsea Clinton), she lives in NYC with her husband.
DISCLAIMER: Information in this article is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Ayurveda and mindfulness and the information isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional. Before making changes to your diet or lifestyle, it is recommended that you speak with your physician.