3 Ways To Help Your Clients Start And Benefit From A Messy Meditation Practice
People often think meditation is about being peaceful. An image pops into their mind – a calm person sitting serenely in lotus pose on some mountaintop. The immediate afterthought of such an unattainable image is: “I can’t empty my mind like that!”
So that’s where many people begin, with the overwhelming idea that meditation is just too hard.
There is a big gap between what we think meditation is, and how it can actually help us. When you overthink what meditation is, it certainly seems like an impossible task to achieve enlightenment, but when you choose to start imperfectly with realistic expectations, then meditation can be as natural as brushing your teeth each morning. And you’ll feel better for it!
Meditation isn’t all “Om, shanti, peace.” Sometimes you have to sit in the fiery, uncomfortable hot seat of stillness before you can even receive a glimmer of the calm part. Sura
When I first started my own practice, I held tightly onto the idea that meditation was about finding calm. The more I tried to achieve this, the more frustration and angst I felt! Meditation can be a wild ride and I wasn’t quite prepared for the adventure it was about to take me on.
In my mind, meditation was about achieving perfect harmony. But oddly enough, the more I practiced meditation, the more unhinged I felt. Everything within me began to unwind. The thoughts I held onto tightly started to loosen. The ideas, beliefs and stories I told myself appeared in a new light. I began having strange experiences that didn’t fit into the model of “what meditation is supposed to be.”
Many of my experiences were far from calm. Each day brought a new discovery. Some days were really blah. It felt like I was just sitting and thinking the whole time. I thought “what a waste of time!” Other days were tumultuous. On rare occasions, I felt true peace. There were also the unexpected experiences: deep grief, sobbing, profound joy, visions, shaking, laughing, heat, flashes of light and intense energy during my sitting sessions.
Meditation can invite all kinds of experiences, good and bad. It brings to light the deeper recesses of the inner-workings of the mind. Meditation isn’t all “Om, shanti, peace.” Sometimes you have to sit in the fiery, uncomfortable hot seat of stillness before you can even receive a glimmer of the calm part. Until then, meditation can be a messy inconsistent experience. If this is what you’re going through, know you’re par for the course!
Meditation is a dynamic practice. With time, you find more comfort in the mess and uncertainty of meditation and begin to trust with the process. It’s common to experience unique sensations and deeper emotions that rise up to be released. Meditation is a cleansing process that allows you to feel more whole, clear and renewed.
If you’re a coach interested in starting a practice and sharing mindfulness with your clients, be sure to let them know what to expect. This alleviates the pressure of having to “do meditation right.”
Here are 3 Easy Steps to Get Started:
First, let your clients know that anything goes in meditation. It’s perfectly normal to have a lot of racing thoughts or doubts. Meditation isn’t about creating peace, it’s being present with where we are, exactly as we are. There is no wrong or right way to meditate. Guide your clients to trust their own true experience of their sitting practice.
Start by practicing mindfulness a few minutes at a time. If you’re a beginner, start “easy” with what you can realistically do. Begin with a few breaths. If you’re working with a client, suggest taking 3 slow breaths together. You will notice a difference right away in how present you feel.
Practice meditation yourself. As a coach, you benefit your client by practicing a few minutes of stillness each day. When you practice, you’re more present in your sessions with clients. This increases your capacity for helping your clients. With your personal experience, you can share the practice of meditation more readily with your clients, and show them how it can benefit them daily in their own lives.
Why Meditate as a Coach?
Meditation does more than just decrease stress and anxiety, it brings a quality of aliveness and energy into your life.
When you begin your coaching sessions with your own self-awareness, it accelerates the flow of coaching and discovery. When you start with a few minutes of calm, you raise the energy in your sessions. The inner-walls and background noise of the mind fall away and your client feels more comfortable being honest. And with that honesty and authenticity, coaching becomes much more productive.
Raising the energy in your sessions through mindfulness practice allows you as a coach to feel better supported and uplifted. You’re also offering your clients a lifelong value that they will deeply appreciate.
Accept your practice fully. Whatever it may be, you will learn. What counts is that you keep practicing. Sura
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Contributing Author: Sura is a highly experienced Meditation Coach and Trainer, and is passionate about helping people tap into their joy through the practice of meditation. She first discovered meditation when in severe pain while working on Wall Street. After receiving profound healing benefits from her sitting practice, she left New York to study meditation in Asia, and went on to teach meditation around the globe. She offers certified Meditation Coach training courses based on her approach, Sura Flow, which includes meditation, energy cultivation and healing. Her work can be seen on Huffington Post, Daily Om, and other major publications. Learn more about Sura and her work at SuraCenter.com where you can receive a free meditation toolkit and begin a practice of daily calm.
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