I avoided meditation for a long time mostly because I didn't understand it. I still struggle with maintaining a consistent practice; however, once I started doing it, I realized immediate results that I did not expect. I thought meditation was for those uber spiritual yahoos, and I didn't have much interest in becoming one of those or learning about it; however, I have learned more about myself and my issues through meditation more quickly than any other method. The realizations I've made through meditation about myself have improved my mental state and understanding of my emotional state considerably. Now, when I find myself feeling jittery and unable to focus with my thoughts all over the place, I typically realize that I haven't meditated in awhile and try to incorporate it into that day and I almost always see improvements in my mental state.
I like to use different types of meditation depending on what I am feeling at that time. Sometimes, especially when I am not feeling very focused, I will find guided meditations on YouTube, and other times I listen to the following playlist:
I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders
Give It All We Got Tonight - George Strait
A Thousand Years - The Piano Guys rendition
Unsteady - X Ambassadors
You Fill Up My Senses - 70s Hits Solo Guitar (Found this online for cheap and it sounds nice)
Relax - Solo Guitar Music and Nature Sounds Water Music (Also found this online for cheap)
I think everyone's playlist will be different. It is about exploring and finding what works for you. I am a person who always wants to do things correctly, but with meditation, I do not actually know I am doing it "right". Again, I think what is "right" will be different for each individual, but I see positive and immediate results, so I continue to do it. I am starting to get better at not worrying about if I am doing it correctly or not and more focusing on accepting what feels right. My heart, body, and soul tend to make the necessary adjustments all on their own to do what is "right" for me at the moment and I don't have to own or control it. Letting go of that supposed control helps immensely, across the board with my anxiety and mental state.
One example of the effectiveness of meditation for me: I was participating in a guided meditation and it mentioned looking at my aura, and it occurred to me...Hey, I have an Aura!! This may sound a bit odd; however, these are the types of realizations that meditation brings to my attention. Pondering it further, I'm guessing that my aura has been quite small, dark, and dismal for most of my life because I never paid any attention to it. My aura needs to maintained as part of the health of the mind, body, and soul. I now know that my aura deserves to be bright magenta and deep purple; full of life, laughter, love, warmth, and sparkles, and I shall continue to be thoughtful and aware of my aura and ensure it gets the attention it deserves. Below are some additional examples of things I have learned about myself through meditation.
The first time I really tried meditating was at a yoga retreat where everyone at the retreat was also meditating, and it was guided by our yoga teacher in real time. This was 1) quite a tall and intimidating order because my first two sessions were fifteen minutes and then 45 whole minutes, and 2) it was easier to be disciplined and complete the sessions while at the retreat in a setting specifically focused on meditation. From these first two sessions, I learned that, at that time, I did not trust myself. I did not trust myself to make the right decisions in life and especially not to make improvements. This was a surprising and important realization because I was able to recognize it, and improve decisions, thoughts, and practices so I could start trusting myself more.
Important realizations I have made through mediation are:
I don't trust myself.
I already have everything I need - everything to make improvements and live the life I want to live.
Creating inspiration and helping those who are suffering are huge driving passions.
Stop fighting the struggle. It is all part of the journey.
I can only control today. I must own today to alter tomorrow.